Cascara Sagrada (Rhamnus purshiana) is a cleansing, detoxifying natural herbal supplement great for cleaning the digestive tract/colon and relieving constipation among other ailments. The perfect herb to empty the colon via multiple actions. Whether blocked up or wanting to flush out a night of excess Cascara Sagrada is an effective natural remedy.
A staple of native Indians Aborigines in North America who shared its wisdom to the new settlers in the region. Traditionally it was made into a strong tea like infusion or the bark was chewed directly. It was first formally introduced into western literature in 1805 and was bought into more mainstream western medicine around 1877. Although there is evidence of Europeans seeing natives use the plant as early back as 1600. As was the potency and sucsuss of Cascara Sagrada it quickly replaced the Buckthorne as the go to cleaning remedy that was traditionally used in Europe.
In 1999 Cascara Sagrada was around 20% of the laxative market globally. More recently Germany has included the herb in their official Pharmacopoeia and even provided liscencing around the product. Although no longer in the official US Pharmacopoeia it is a staple product in many established laxitives usually in combination with other harbs. It is included in the US homeopathic Pharmacopoeia. In Germany it has authorized use for constipation or conditions that require easy bowel movements such as fissures and hemorrhoids. The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia makes similar recommendations.
Cascara Sagrada is a double-acting colon cleanser laxative. Firstly it is known as a stimulant laxative, this means it triggers the body to naturally contract intestinal muscles to move stool along. Secondly, it has chemicals called anthraquinones that work with the bacteria in the intestines to produce a softening effect. Specifically, anthraquinones prevent water from being absorbed through the intestines, this increases water in the stool and subsequently softness.
Cascara Sagrada is the bark of the US named California buckthorn. The large shrub/small tree that is found along the pacific coast as high as California and down into South America. Cascara Sagrada grows best in moist or semi-moist soil, often near river banks both in the sun and the shade and usually below 1500m. Traditionally western commerce sourced Cascara Sagrada from the Washington, Oregon and British Colombia region where it was sold as flattened and curved pieces of bark. Over havesting and demand has seen the natual Cascara Sagrada habitat in North America greatly diminish.
To prepare the bark for use it is necessary to dry the bark for in excess of 1 year up to 3 or 4 years. The fresh bark contains too high a level of anthraquinone and will likely cause major cramping. Aging the bark reduces the strength thus making it a health product suitable for human consumption. An alternative method of aging is heating to induce rapid ageing, although this method is less common. To induce rapid aging boil and simmer for 2-3 hours. The fruit can be eaten and produces a slight laxative effect as does honey from bees circulating the Cascara Sagrada. The fruits are on accasiion used in cooking and alchol for a intrigueing taste. If not used by humans various birds and mamels often feast on the fruits, including bears and racons aswell as birds. Cascara Sagrada is also an effective nail biting treating due to it’s bitter overpowing taste. The bark is harvested from April to to August as during this time the bark removes from the tree with ease. The bark is dried in the shade rather than direct light and this keeps a yellowy powdered appearance when fully processed. In the drying process it is particularly important to keep dry and free of damp to avoid mould. Aging appears to reduce toxicity and weight whilst improving medicinal value.Although potent on it’s own some mix with Aloe, Senna and Rhubarb.
Cascara Sagrada Appearance
In the family of Rhamnaceae. A large bush tree like plant usually less than 20 feet in height. The medicinal bark is a smooth browny yellow that turns darker brown with damage from sunlight and age. The leaves are small and pertude from twig like branches, pale at the bottom and a darker green on top. Flowers are greeny yellow and only about half a centimeter across. The berry like fruit is are about 1cm, growing at first red before going deep purple or even black, inside is a yellow pulp and 2-3 seeds.
Cascara Sagrada Taste
Cascara Sagrada has a strong bitter slightly overpowering taste that can linger in the mouth, most will rinse with water to cleanse the pallet.
- Hydroxyanthracene Derivatives
- Free Anthrone
- Pure Glycosides
Traditional Medicine in tribes of:
- Skagit, Yurok
Cascara Sagrada Dosage:
- Up to 3 times per day 0.3-0.6 grams. Either in cold water or steeped in boiling water for 10-15 minutes.
- 1-2 grams as a single dose before sleep. Steeped in boiling water for 10-15 minutes.
*Max 2 grams daily.
*A bowel movement is usually stimulated within 8-12 hours.
Cascara Sagrada Legality:
Cascara Sagrada has been a legal over the counter laxative and stool loosener since 1890. However, in 2002, the FDA (Food & Drug Administration) decided it required more information, care and evidence about its effectiveness by means of clinical trials. The small companies involved in its sale were unable to afford the expense of costly clinical trials and had little choice but to reclassified their stimulate laxatives containing Cascara Sagrada as dietary supplements.
Cascara Sagrada Traditional Uses:
- Digestive Issues, parasites
- Muscle/Joint Pain
- Liver issues
Cascara Sagrada Alternative Names:
- Sacred Bark
- Rhamnus purshiana bark
- Bitter bark
Similar Herbal Dietary Supplements:
- Aloe Vera
Potential Side Effects & Safety:
Cascara Sagrada is generally well tolerated with no or few undesirable side effects, but should not be used for an extended period of time to avoid dependency of laxatives to empty the bowels. Cascara Sagrada has almost 300 years of Western use and an unknown use in indigenous populations prior.
* Cascara Sagrada must be aged 1-2 years prior use as per this product.
*Do not use if you have serious or chronic intestinal problems or intestinal blockages as may achieve unexpected results. Please take the time to view all information with caution.
*Avoid with drugs or herbs that cause potassium deficiency
*Laxitives should not be used for more than 7 days.
- Abdominal cramping,
- Loss of electrolytes/dehydration
- Liver damage rare and in high use