Cascara sagrada (Rhamnus purshiana) medicinal herb, otherwise called Buckthorn, is a natural healing herb and the bark improves with age, if taken strong can become a purgative. The main part used as herbal medicine is the bark. The common names are Holy bark, Sacred bark, Bear-berry, Cascara, Rhamnus purshiana, Coffee berry and Persian bark.
The medicinal properties are laxative, bitter, antispasmodic, stimulant, nervine, purgative, cathartic, tonic, emetic and antibacterial.
The bark of this tree
contains unique compounds that really work. The constituents are vitamins, minerals, glucose, Aloin and other elements.
When the settlers came to Pacific Northwest searching for gold and furs, they found the Native American Indians of the region using the bark of cascara and they called it the sacred bark. Sometimes later, the settlers were no longer receiving their source of food and medicine so they also adopted the use of cascara as an all-purpose medicine. Some missionaries gave it that name, or holy bark believing it to be chittenwood of the Bible that was used to build the Ark.
The British Pharmaceutical of 1934 states, that it is a useful laxative in hemorrhoid conditions and chronic constipation. It is considered to be one of the safest laxative herbs. You should never use the fresh bark. Let it stand for one year before using it.
The U.S. Dispensatory states that it belongs to a group of laxative plants and it relieves chronic constipation and tones up relaxed bowels and in this way produces permanent beneficial effect. It is recorded that it is able to reduce potassium and sodium in the body. Therefore care must be administered when using it.
Cascara is more effective when taken in small doses after meals, as a remedy for gallstones, liver complaints, and intestinal tonic. The fruits of cascara herb should be eaten with care seeing that they are also a very strong purgative.
It is also useful to children who suffer constipation even though the taste of it is very bitter, but it is effective.
There are tablets that are now being sold worldwide for easy access. However, only take one or two tablets when the need arise to do so. It may also be purchased in tincture form and the dosage is fifteen to thirty drops. Make sure to follow the instructions of cascara very carefully.
Avoid cascara sagrada if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.