Cascara Sagrada- Sacred Bark
(Rhamnus purshiani cortex)
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Common names: Cascara Sagrada, Sacred bark
Parts used and where grown: Cascara is a small to medium-size tree native to the provinces and states of the Pacific coast, including British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, Northern California and Mexico. The bark of the tree is removed, cut into small pieces, and dried for one year before being used medicinally. Fresh bark has an emetic or vomit-inducing property and therefore is not used.
Historical or traditional use (may or may not be supported by scientific studies): Northern California Indians introduced this herb, which they called sacred bark, to sixteenth-century Spanish explorers. Being much milder in its laxative action than the Herb Buckthorn, Cascara Sagrada became popular in Europe as a treatment for constipation. Cascara Sagrada has been part of the U.S. Pharmacopoeia since 1890.1
Active constituents: Cascara bark is high in hydroxyanthraquinone glycosides called cascarosides. Resins, tannins, and lipids make up the bulk of the other bark ingredients. Cascarosides have a cathartic action, inducing the large intestine to increase its muscular contraction (peristalsis), resulting in bowel movement.
How much is usually taken? Only the dried form of cascara should be used. Capsules providing 20?30 mg of cascarosides per day can be used; however, the smallest amount necessary to maintain soft stool should be used. As a tincture, 1?5 ml per day is generally taken. It is important to drink eight 6-ounce glasses of water throughout the day. Cascara should be taken for a maximum of eight to ten days.
Are there any side effects or interactions? Women who are pregnant or lactating and children under the age of twelve should not use cascara without the advice of a physician. Those with an intestinal obstruction, Crohn’s Disease, Appendicitis, or Abdominal Pain should not employ this herb. Long-term use or abuse of cascara may cause a loss of electrolytes (especially the mineral potassium) or weaken the colon. Loss of potassium may potentiate the action of digitalis-like medications with Fatal Consequences
Cascara Sagrada - Sacred Bark Link
Cascara Sagrada Properties Used by
Lowers fever due to scurvy, useful as a laxative and for bile duct problems.
Aztec Method of Use
Drink 1 cup 3 times a day after meals of the mixture made with 10 grams of Cascara Sagrada to 1/2 liter of water.
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