UNITED STATES. Cascara Sagrada (Rhamnus purshiana) Bark, Cut and Sifted, Certified Organic
Common names: Purshiana Bark, Sagrada Bark, Sacred Bark, Bitter Bark, Yellow Bark, Dogwood Bark, California Buckthorn, Chittem Bark, Bearberry
Cascara Sagrada grows naturally as a large shrub or small tree in the Pacific Northwest forest, and its bark was used as a laxative by Native Americans. Its effectiveness was honored by Spanish conquistadores with the name Cascara Sagrada, meaning “sacred bark.” Historically it has also been used as a treatment for gallstones, liver conditions, hemorrhoids, and cancer. It was heavily used in over the counter products throughout the 20th Century, to the extent of depleting many wild sources of the plant.
Cascara’s laxative effect is mainly attributed to the presence of hydroxyanthracene glycosides and emodin, which stimulate peristalsis in the colon.
Cascara and other laxatives should not be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women, or in the presence of injuries, obstructions, or chronic inflammatory conditions affecting the large intestine.
Health Canada Monograph: Cascara Sagrada (2008).
Peat, R. (2012). Cascara, energy, cancer and the FDA’s laxative abuse. (Accessed at raypeat.com, November, 2017.)
*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. As with any herbal medicines, you should ask your doctor if Cascara Sagrada is right for you.