What is it?
First Aid

Rhubarb stocks and leavesWhat is rhubarb?

Rhubarb is a perennial plant with large green leaves and a stalk that varies in color from red to light pink to light green.

While rhubarb stalks are edible and often used in baking and other dishes, rhubarb leaves are poisonous because they contain soluble oxalic acid salts. In addition, rhubarb that has been damaged from cold weather should not be eaten because damaged stalks may also contain this substance.

Rhubarb leaves are also very poisonous to cats and dogs.

What happens if a person eats rhubarb leaves?

While rhubarb stalk can be eaten, the leaves are poisonous. If you eat a rhubarb leaf, you may have:

  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
  • Stomach pain
  • Weakness
  • Kidney damage
  • Liver damage

What happens if a cat or dog eats rhubarb leaves?

A pet that eats rhubarb leaves may have:

  • Drooling
  • Throwing up or diarrhea
  • Lack of appetite
  • Bloody urine

In some cases, the poison in the leaves can cause an animal’s kidneys to fail, which is very dangerous.

What should I do if someone has swallowed a rhubarb leaf?

If someone has eaten part of a rhubarb leaf:

  • Take all the pieces out of their mouth.
  • Give them a few sips of water or milk.

Call the poison center at 1-800-222-1222, chat online or text POISON to 85511.

How can I prevent rhubarb poisoning?

  • If you grow rhubarb, keep children and animals away from your garden.
  • Anytime you buy or harvest rhubarb, throw away the leaves as soon as possible.

Last Updated: Wednesday June 15th 2016