CASCARASAGRADA: COMMON NAMES: Sacred Bark, Purschiana Bark, Persiana Bark, Chittam Bark

CASCARASAGRADA: COMMON NAMES: Sacred Bark, Purschiana Bark, Persiana Bark, Chittam Bark. Cascara Sagrada bark has long been used by Native Americans as an effective and natural treatment for constipation.  Its laxative effect is due to its content of anthraquinones which when mixed with intestinal bacteria, transform into a substance that increases peristalsis (intestinal motility) in the large intestine and help restore its tone.  The plant is a species of Buckthorn native to western North America.

The bark must be dried and aged prior to usage as using fresh bark has been reported to cause severe nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

 

Contraindications: Children, pregnant or nursing women should not use this herb.  In addition, anyone suffering from diverticular disease, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, severe hemorrhoids, blood vessel disease, congestive heart failure, heart disease, severe anemia, abdominal hernia, gastrointestinal cancer, recent colon surgery, or liver and kidney disease should not use this herb.  It should not be used if appendicitis is suspected. Cascara may interact with drugs called cardiac glycosides, such as digitalis.  Anyone taking these types of medications should not use this herb.

 

SIDE EFFECTS: This herb may cause abdominal cramping, and overuse of this herb can cause dependence.

 

PROPERTIES AND USES: Constipation

 

PARTS USED: Bark.

 

Scientific classification

Kingdom:             Plantae

Division:               Magnoliophyta

Class:     Magnoliopsida

Order:  Rosales

Family: Rhamnaceae

Genus:                 Rhamnus

Subgenus:           Frangula

Species:               R. purshiana

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