||Bitter bark, California buckthorn, Cascara, Chittem Bark, Dogwood bark, Sacred Bark, Sagrada Bark, Yellow bark, Wahoo
||Western N America
||Well-drained soil in sun or partial shade. Rhamnus cathartica prefers alkaline soil, R. frangula neutral to acid soil. Shorten of thin out branches, and remove dead wood, in late winter or early spring.
||By seed sown when ripe; by greenwood cuttings in early summer; by layering in autumn or early spring.
||Bark is stripped from young plants during spring and early summer, and it is dried for one to two years before being used in decoctions, liquid extracts, powders, and tablets. Bark from two-year-old plants is preferred in the case of R. frangula. Fruits (R. cathartica) are collected when ripe and they are made into syrup.
||A native of the Pacific Northwest, cascara sagrada—Spanish for "sacred bark"—received its name from Spanish missionaries who settled in California during the 1600s. The same missionaries probably started the myth that the branches of cascara sagrada were used to make Christ's crown of thorns almost 2,000 years before. Not very likely for a genus that thrives mainly in northern temperate climates. The Native Americans of the Northwest has a more pragmatic view of this smallest of the buckhorn trees: They used its bark to treat constipation. And famously so. By the early 1800s, cascara sagrada had gained a national reputation among American settlers as one of the fastest-acting but safest of laxatives. By the late 1800s, that giant of pharmaceutical companies Parke-Davis was producing and marketing cascara sagrada commercially.
||A bitter, astringent, cooling herb that has a tonic effect on the liver and digestive system, and acts as a laxative.
||Internally for chronic constipation, colitis, digestive complaints, hemorrhoids, liver problems, and jaundice. Externally for nailbiting.
To treat hemorrhoids, constipation, rheumatism, and poor digestion; as a tonic; for cleaning wounds. Germany's Commission E has approved the use of cascara sagrada to treat constipation.
Cascara sagrada has astringent, laxative, and tonic properties. It also helps normalize the digestive tract and the liver, and is rich in calcium, potassium, manganese, and vitamins A, B2, and B5. Cascara sagrada is taken internally as a stomach and liver tonic to treat colic, constipation, hemorrhoids, indigestion, jaundice, and liver ailments. Veterinarians use cascara sagrada to treat chronic constipation in dogs.
||Cascara sagrada is available as dried, powdered bark, and in capsules, teas, and tinctures. To make a tea, pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1 teaspoon of dried bark and steep for 1 hour. Drink up to 2 cups a day before meals.
||A typical dose of cascara sagrada may range from 20 to 30 mg of the active ingredient (hydroxyanthracene derivatives)
||Although many herbalists claim that cascara sagrada is mild enough to be taken safely by young children and pregnant women, we strongly recommend consulting a qualified practitioner about giving the herb to children or taking it if you are pregnant. Special note: The fresh bark of cascara sagrada is never used medicinally; it can cause severe intestinal cramping and nausea. Herbalists only use bark that has been aged for at least one year.
|Possible Side Effects:
||Cascara sagrada's side effects include abdominal discomfort, colic, and cramps.
|Taking cascara sagrada with these drugs may reduce the absorption of the drug:
|All oral Medications
||Ferric Gluconate, (Ferrlecit)
||Ferrous Fumarate, (Fermiron, Feostat)
||Ferrous Gluconate, (Fergon, Novo-Ferrogluc)
|Ferrous Sulfate, (Feratab, Fer-Iron)
||Ferrous Sulfate and Ascorbic Acid, (Fero-Grad 500, Vitelle Irospan)
||Iron-Dextran Complex, (Dexferrum, INFeD)
||Polysaccharide-Iron Complex, (Hytinic, Niferex)
|Taking cascara sagrada with these drugs may increase the risk of arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat):
|Acebutolol, (Novo-Acebutolol, Sectral)
||Adenosine, (Adenocard, Adenoscan)
||Amiodarone, (Cordarone, Pacerone)
|Digitalis, (Digitek, Lanoxin)
||Diltiazem, (Cardizem, Tiazac)
||Disopyramide, (Norpace, Rhythmodan)
||Insulin, (Humulin, Novolin R)
||Lidocaine, (Licoderm, Xylocaine)
||Mexiletine, (Mexitil, Novo-Mexiletine)
||Phenytoin, (Dilantin, Phenytek)
||Procainamide, (Procanbid, Pronestyl-SR)
||Propafenone, (Gen-Propafenone, Rhythmol)
||Propranolol, (Inderal, InnoPran XL)
|Quinidine, (Novo-Quinidin, Quinaglute Dura-Tabs)
||Sotalol, (Betapace, Sorine)
||Verapamil, (Calan, Isoptin SR)
|Taking cascara sagrada with these drugs may increase the risk of hypokalemia (low levels of potassium in the blood):
|Acetazolamide, (Apo-Acetazolamide, Diamox Sequels)
||Beclomethasone, (Beconase, Vanceril)
||Betamethasone, (Celestone, Diprolene)
||Budesonide, (Entocort, Rhinocort)
|Budesonide and Formoterol, (Symbicort)
||Bumetanide, (Bumex, Burinex)
||Chlorthalidone, (Apo-Chlorthalidone, Thalitone)
|Deflazacort, (Calcort, Dezacor)
||Dexamethasone, (Decadron, Dexasone)
||Digitalis, (Digitek, Lanoxin)
||Ethacrynic Acid, (Edecrin)
|Flunisolide, (AeroBid, Nasarel)
||Fluorometholone, (Eflone, Flarex)
||Fluticasone, (Cutivate, Flonase)
||Furosemide, (Apo-Furosemide, Lasix)
||Hydrochlorothiazide, (Apo-Hydro, Microzide)
|Hydrocortisone, (Cetacort, Locoid)
||Hydroflumethiazide, (Diucardin, Saluron)
||Indapamide, (Lozol, Nu-Indapamide)
||Loteprednole, (Alrex, Lotemax)
||Mannitol, (Osmitrol, Resectisol)
|Medrysone, (HMS Liquifilm)
||Methazolamide, (Apo-Methazolamide, Neptazane)
||Methyclothiazide, (Aquatensen, Enduron)
||Methylprednisolone, (Depo-Medrol, Medrol)
|Metolazone, (Mykrox, Zaroxolyn)
||Olmesartan and Hydrochlorothiazide, (Benicar HCT)
||Prednisolone, (Inflamase Forte, Pred Forte)
||Prednisone, (Apo-Prednisone, Deltasone)
||Triamcinolone, (Aristocort, Trinasal)
||Trichlormethiazide, (Metatensin, Naqua)
||Urea, (Amino-Cerv, Ultramide)
|Xipamide, (Diurexan, Lumitens)
|Taking cascara sagrada with these drugs may increase the loss of electolytes and fluids:
|Docusate amd Senna, (Peri-Colace, Senokot-S)
|Taking cascara sagrada with these drugs may be harmful:
|Indomethacin, (Indocin, Novo-Methacin)
May interfere with the action of the drug.
|Lab Test Alterations:
- Increased or decreased test values of serum and 24-hour urine estrogens.
- May confound results of diagnostic urine tests that rely on color change by discoloring urine.
- May decrease serum potassium concentrations and cause potassium depletion
||May worsen Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and other gastrointestinal diseases.
||Decreased action of cascara sagrada when taken with milk
- Increased risk of hypokalemia (low levels of potassium in the blood when used with potassium-depleting herbs, such as Horsetail Plant, Licorice Root, and Strophanthus.
- Increased action of Jimson Weed in cases of chronic use of cascara sagrada.
- Increased risk of cardiotoxicity from potassium-depletion especially when cascara sagrada is overused or taken with cardioactive herbs, such as Adonis, Digitalis, Lily-Of-The-Valley, and Squill.
- Increased risk of potassium depletion when used in conjunction with Horsetail Plant, or Licorice.
- Increased risk of potassium depletion when used with other stimulant laxative herbs, such as Blackroot, Castor Oil, and Senna.
||All parts, especially the berries are harmful if eaten. Sap and berries are skin irritants.
Fruits taken in excess cause diarrhea and vomiting. Contraindicated during pregnancy and lactation, and for intestinal obstruction.
||Bark extracts, with bitterness removed, are used for flavoring in the food and soft drink industries.
||Encylopedia of Herbs by Deni Brown Copyright ©: 1995, 2001 Dorling Kindersley Limited pp 342-343
The Essential Herb-Drug-Vitamin Interaction Guide by Geo. T. Grossberg,MD and Barry Fox,PhD Copyright©2007 Barry Fox,PhD. Pp.125-128
The Modern Herbal Primer by Nancy Burke Copyright©2000 Yankee Publishing, Inc. pg 134.