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Herb of the Week: Cascara Sagrada

Posted Oct 16 2008 8:34am

Cascara Sagrada Cascara Sagrada (Rhamnus purshiana) is a small to medium-size tree native to the Pacific coast, including British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, and northern California.

The bark has been used medicinally by Native American groups for hundreds of years as a treatment for constipation.

It has a mild laxative effect, due to its natural constituents inducing contraction in the large intestines.

The bark of the tree is removed, cut into small pieces, and dried for one year before being used as a laxative. Cascara become popular in Europe as it is a much milder laxative than European buckthorn (known for causing vomiting and diarrhea).

Cascara Sagrada (Spanish for sacred bark) is a powerful herb and should not be taken for longer then ten days. In addition, only the dried form of cascara should be used. Fresh cut bark may cause adverse reactions such as violent diarrhea.

Many commercial and over-the counter laxatives in North American pharmacies used to have cascara as a main ingredient but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has banned the used of aloe and cascara sagrada as a laxative since 2002.

Natural supplements are still available and are generally safe to use. Some products to support the digestive system may also add cascara as an ingredient. Do not use cascara if you develop diarrhea, loose stools or abdominal pain.

Casacara sagrada is a good choice if you are looking for a natural product to relief occasional constipation.

Nature’s Plus Herbal Actives Cascara Sagrada 100 mg. - 60 Vegetarian Capsules
Herb Pharm Cascara Sagrada - 1 oz.
Solaray Cascara Sagrada - 100 Capsules

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