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Buckthorn (bark) Health Benefits All Backed by Science

Buckthorn (bark) Health Benefits

Just like other herbs, buckthorn is a gift to mankind too. From health supplements to dyes and other useful manufactured products, this plant has made its place in the market. If you are not familiar with buckthorn, read on, and learn how this herb may benefit you.

What are the Benefits of Buckthorn?

  • Effective treatment for constipation
  • Natural laxative
  • Cleanses the colon
  • Treats anal fissures and hemorrhoids
  • Helps with healthy digestion
  • Has antifungal effects
  • Contains antibacterial properties

Buckthorn is used as a treatment in relieving constipation. (1)

There are many causes of constipation. Appetite loss, bloating, cramping, pain, and vomiting are some of the symptoms of this condition.

When it is already in a continuous manner, it damages digestion and bowels – alongside painful sensations.

Taking buckthorn is one of the fastest and most effective ways to experience relief from constipation. It aids to stimulate movements in the intestine resulting in bowel muscles to shove waste out of the body. (1)

As a natural laxative, this herb provides natural cleansing benefits too.

The anthraquinones contained in buckthorn act as purgative by stimulating the removal of the bowels. They are responsible for the natural detoxification process of the body. (1, 2)

In addition, it helps in cleansing the colon. This is beneficial when there is a gastrointestinal diagnostic procedure to be conducted. (1)

Annal fissures and hemorrhoids, as side effects of recurrent constipation, can be addressed by this herb as well. The ability for buckthorn to soften the stool makes it an effective treatment for these conditions. (1)

Another health benefit of buckthorn is its ability in keeping your digestion healthy.

This plant may perform as a probiotic too. It helps in the increase of good bacteria in your gut, keeping it healthy as much as possible. (1)

Moreover, buckthorn holds antifungal properties. This was displayed in several science-backed studies. (1)

The antibacterial effects of anthraquinones make buckthorn an effective mechanism in removing harmful toxins from the body. (1)

With all the benefits that buckthorn possess, people may still experience unpleasant effects. Just any other herbs, a prescription from your healthcare provider is required before supplementing.

What is Buckthorn?

Scientifically known as Rhamnus frangula, buckthorn is a small shrub from Rhamnaceae family. Its bark holds medicinal properties – only this part of the plant can be used for therapeutic purposes.

It is native to Europe but is now naturalised in North America. This shrub can also be found in northern Africa, western Asia, Caucasus, and Asia Minor.

Others call it as alder buckthorn, black dogwood, fernleaf buckthorn, glossy buckthorn, and frangula bark.

Frangula, its genus name, came from the Latin word “frangere” which means “to break”. This denotes the wood of the shrub which is brittle in nature.

This plant can grow from 6 up to 10 metres in height. The colour of the bark when it is young is green and becomes gray-brown as it matures. The inner bark, on the other hand, is bright yellow. It is odourless and has a bitter taste.

Medicines can be made out of its bark when aged and heat-treated. It is harvested in summer and requires to be dried for a year until ready to be used for medicinal and other purposes.

Gunpowder and fuses can be made out of the wood of buckthorn. The bark is also used in the production of dyes (for wool, yarn, paper, and other textiles). It is also used for wooden products (skewers, arrows, shoes, and nails) and high-quality charcoal for artists.

In ancient Greeks, this shrub was used to protect themselves from witches, poisons, and demons.

How Does Buckthorn Work?

As a cathartic laxative, buckthorn is primarily used in treating constipation. This is because it holds chemicals that help stimulate the intestines.

This shrub has the same effect of rhubarb. It is even milder than senna and other herbal laxatives.

Buckthorn contains a high concentration of anthraquinone glycosides. They help increase muscle contractions in the intestines for a soft bowel movement.

The other active compounds found in this herb are saponins, alkaloids, phenolic, lipids, tannins, and resins.

Buckthorn has also been traditionally used as a diuretic, blood purifier, and some sort of cancer treatment. It is an added ingredient to herb-based alternative cancer treatment.

Today, the bark of this shrub is combined with other herbs and is used as a supplement. Some also use it as a treatment for parasites, skin disorders, and other health issues.

How Do I Take Buckthorn?

Buckthorn has many uses for culinary, medicinal, and others. As health supplements, it is available in the forms of tablets, capsules, powders, tinctures, and often prepared as bitter teas.

The appropriate dosage depends on what form of buckthorn you are taking. The user’s age and health status should also be considered.

Some consume 15 to 30 drops of liquid extracts before bedtime, while others take 1,800 milligrams once to thrice per day.

Can I Take Buckthorn Along with other Medicines?

A major interaction might occur when buckthorn is taken along with certain medications.

They include drugs for inflammation, such as prednisone (Deltasone), methylprednisolone (Medrol), hydrocortisone (Cortef), dexamethasone (Decadron), and others. They can cause potassium in the body to be very low.

Other moderate interactions include digoxin (Lanoxin), oral drugs, warfarin (Coumadin), water pills (Diuretic drugs), and certain stimulant laxatives.

Is Buckthorn Safe?

Taking buckthorn for less than eight to ten days can be probably safe. Taking it for more than eight to ten days, on the other hand, can be unsafe.

Some side effects associated with this shrub include diarrhoea, blood in the urine, muscle weakness, gastrointestinal discomfort, low potassium, etc.

The fresh bark is not allowed to be consumed because it will induce negative reactions. These include severe vomiting, spasms, colic, diarrhoea, and gastrointestinal irritations. Make sure the bark has been dried for a year before using it. (1)

Children, pregnant, and breastfeeding women should take precautionary measures before taking buckthorn. If it is possible, avoid using it.

Also, do not take it if you have certain health conditions. These include ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn disease, appendicitis, and intestinal blockage.

The recommended use of buckthorn is occasional – not more than 10 days.

Additionally, the berries or ripe fruits with dark violet colours are somewhat poisonous. Just like the fresh bark, it can cause diarrhoea and cramping as well. In fact, animals and birds usually die from dehydration by eating these fruits.

How Will Buckthorn Benefit Me?

Buckthorn might just be the solution for your health issues, especially if you have the health problems that were mentioned above.

Also, this herb is ideal if you are desiring for a natural way of cleansing and detoxification.

Thus, for more information about buckthorn, do not hesitate to ask us.

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