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Killer Rhubarb

We’re all taught at a young age – at least I was – that you mustn’t eat rhubarb leaves, and whilst mother might have been wrong with the masturbating making me blind claims, she was spot on with the rhubarb. Whilst the stalks are silky turrets of gastronomic wonder, the leaves contain high quantities of oxalate. Oxalate is bad. One large serving of rhubarb leaves will give you convulsions, burning of the mouth ad throat, nausea, diarrhoea and death via cardiovascular collapse.

Whilst there don’t seem to have been any reported fatalities in recent times, during the First World War some bright spark recommended rhubarb leaves as a substitute for other veg which had become very hard to get hold of. The results did not help the war effort one bit.

If you need any more persuading not to eat rhubarb leaves, here’s a report of what happened to a goat which had nibbled off more than it should have chewed:

“A goat that ate rhubarb leaves stood with outspread legs, an open mouth, and protruding eyes. The animal was crying and produced sour green vomit and profuse diarrhea.”1 Lovely.

In 2005 the matron of an old people’s home was found not guilty of choking a patient to death by force feeding him rhubarb crumble.

1 Cooper and Johnson 1984.

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Image: if you don't recognise Roobarb. Shame on you.

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01 Jan 2009
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