Medication Guide App

Canaigre

Scientific Name(s): Rumex hymenosepalus Torr. Family: Polygonaceae

Common Name(s): Canaigre , ganagra , tanner's dock , wild rhubarb 1 , 2

Uses

Roots contain up to 25% tannin. The plant yields a mustard-colored dye. It has been promoted as an alternative to ginseng, although there is no evidence of any beneficial effects associated with its use.

Dosing

There is no recent clinical evidence to guide dosage of canaigre.

Contraindications

Contraindications have not yet been identified.

Pregnancy/Lactation

Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.

Interactions

None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

Canaigre is not actively under investigation. There is no data on adverse reactions.

Toxicology

High tannin content may pose carcinogenic risk; avoid ingestion.

Botany

Canaigre is native to the deserts of the southwestern United States and Mexico. It is a member of the dock (sorrel) family and can attain a height of 0.9 m.

History

Canaigre has been known as a practical source of tannin. The common name is derived from the Spanish “Cana Agria” or “sour cane.” 2 Extracts of the plant were used in the tanning industry. It was also the source of a mustard-colored dye. Canaigre does not have an extensive history of use in herbal medicine. It became popular during the later half of the last century and today is promoted for the treatment of a variety of ailments. It has been suggested that canaigre may be used as an inexpensive alternative to ginseng because of its ability to manage various disease states. Canaigre is not related botanically to ginseng, and there is no evidence of any beneficial effects associated with its use.

Chemistry

The root of canaigre contains up to 25% tannin. 2 The plant contains small amounts of anthraquinones (about 1%) as well as starch and resin. 3 Several compounds have been isolated from the plant, including the anthraquinoids emodin, chrysophanol, and physcion, as well as beta-sitosterol. 4 Canaigre also contains the anthocyanins leucodelphinidin and leucopelargonidin. 5 There is no evidence that the plant contains any of the panaxoside-like saponin glycosides responsible for the pharmacologic activity of ginseng. In the past, canaigre was used to adulterate rhubarb powders.

Uses and Pharmacology

There are no reports of any pharmacological activity associated with canaigre. The high tannin content may provide an astringent effect when applied topically. The leucoanthocyanin fraction of the plant may have antitumor activity. 5 , 6 A review of clinical research suggests that the plant is not actively under investigation, as there are no new pharmacological data.

Dosage

There is no recent clinical evidence to guide dosage of canaigre.

Pregnancy/Lactation

Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.

Interactions

None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

Canaigre is not actively under investigation. There is no data on adverse reactions.

Toxicology

Although the leaf stalks are edible like rhubarb, this practice is not widespread and no reports of clinically significant toxicity have been associated with canaigre. The high tannin concentration may pose a considerable carcinogenic risk. 3 Consequently, avoid the ingestion of canaigre.

Bibliography

1. Mabberly DJ. The Plant-Book . New York, NY: Cambridge University Press; 1987.
2. Balls EK. Early Uses of California Plants . Berkeley, CA: University of California Press; 1962.
3. Tyler VE. The New Honest Herbal . Philadelphia, PA: G.F. Stickley Co.; 1987.
4. Dominguez S, Rombold C, Espinosa B, Griselda GM, Griselda DE. Isolation of emodin, chrysophanol, and physcion from the roots of canagria, Rumex hymenosepalus Torr. Rev Latinoam Quim . 1991;22:45-46.
5. Buchalter L, Cole JR. Isolation of a potential antitumor fraction from Rumex hymenosepalus (Polygonaceae). II. Identification of the active fraction. J Pharm Sci . 1967;56:1033-1034.
6. Duke JA. Handbook of Medicinal Herbs . Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press; 1985.

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