Aside from its use as a laxative, there are other medicinal benefits you can get from cascara sagrada. Do not underestimate its bark because there is more to it than what you know. Do you want to know how you can reap all these health benefits from its bark? Well, please read on to discover more about this plant.
What are the Benefits of Cascara Sagrada?
- Acts as a laxative
- Has chemicals called anthraquinones
- Used as a treatment for constipation
- May treat irritable bowel syndrome
- Might aid with indigestion
- Can protect the liver
- May contain anticancer properties
One of the main health benefits of cascara sagrada is its ability to act as a laxative. The constipation-relieving properties it contains was cited in The British Medical Journal. (1)
The reason for its laxative effects is the anthraquinones contained in the bark. These chemicals play a vital role in gastrointestinal discharging.
With their help, constipation can be addressed. As a dietary supplement, cascara sagrada is considered as a natural remedy for this condition. (1)
The bark of this shrub does not just have a cleansing effect. It can also be used to treat irritable bowel syndrome. (1)
Many forms of indigestion or dyspepsia can be treated with cascara sagrada too. (1)
Moreover, cascara sagrada has liver-protective effects as well. This can be credited to a compound called emodin which can be found in its bark.
According to studies, its ability to protect the liver was displayed in rat subjects with acetaminophen-induced liver damage. After the treatment with emodin was conducted, the animals experienced a sort of liver protection. (1, 2)
Due to its aloe-emodin content, cascara sagrada may aid in the prevention of cancer too. (1)
However, most of these scientific studies need more solid evidence – except its use for constipation. For this reason, it is recommended to use it in an herbal form instead of making it as a replacement for a prescription drug.
Whether you are in good shape or experiencing some health issues, talk with your healthcare provider first before supplementing.
What is Cascara Sagrada?
Cascara sagrada (Rhamnus purshiana) is a tree or shrub known as California buckthorn from the Rhamnaceae family. Its bark is said to hold beneficial properties and is processed for medicinal purposes.
Aside from its botanical name, this shrub is also known as sacred bark, yellow bark, and bearberry.
It is typically found in western North America and some parts of South America. As a matter of fact, native Americans were the first to use its bark in treating various health issues. The conditions included constipation, digestive problems, etc.
The bark of this shrub is processed by removing, dicing, and drying it up. This process can be naturally done up to a year.
However, there are manufacturers who want to speed up the process by heating the bark. When it is already dried, they can now pulverise it or boil and make an extract for herbal products.
Cascara sagrada, as a dietary supplement, is added as a common component to some laxatives that can be purchased in health stores.
This shrub is also used in some manufactured sunscreens. It is also added as a flavouring agent in beverages and foods – alongside its medicinal use.
How Does Cascara Sagrada Work?
Anthraquinones are found in cascara sagrada bark. These chemicals are known for their potent laxative effects.
Muscle contractions are caused by cascara sagrada in the intestines. As a result, the movement of stool through the bowels is regulated. They stimulate the bowels as they react with bacteria in the intestines.
In other words, the absorption of electrolytes and water is constrained in the intestines with the help of anthraquinones. This action leads to an increased volume of stool by way of absorbing excess water.
Taking a dose of cascara sagrada will induce movement of the bowel, particularly within eight to twelve hours of consumption.
Cascara sagrada, as a natural remedy for constipation. It is an option by individuals who do not like chemical laxatives.
How Do I Take Cascara Sagrada?
Cascara sagrada is available in the form of syrup, capsule, and tablet. You may as well make an aromatic fluid extract or tea out of it.
The user’s age, medical condition, and other factors matter when it comes to the appropriate dosage.
According to several scientific research, a dose of 20 to 30 milligrams of the active ingredient can be taken as a laxative for constipation. On the other hand, the liquid extract can be consumed three times per day with a dose of 2 to 5 millilitres. (1)
Can I Take Cascara Along with Vitamins and Medicines?
Moderate interactions may occur when cascara sagrada is taken along with other medicines. These include digoxin (Lanoxin), corticosteroids, oral drugs, stimulant laxatives, warfarin (Coumadin), and diuretic drugs.
Is Cascara Sagrada Safe?
For most adults, cascara sagrada is generally safe when taken for less than one week. Long-term use can be unsafe.
Using it for more than one or two weeks may lower your chloride, sodium, and potassium levels.
Other side effects associated with cascara sagrada include loss of electrolytes, abdominal pain, muscle weakness, heart problems, dehydration, and others.
Also, you might have a bowel movement problem when used for longer than two weeks. In fact, occasional use of stimulant laxatives is advised.
Children age 12 and below, as well as pregnant women, should avoid using this supplement.
Breastfeeding mothers should also avoid cascara sagrada. The nursing infant might experience diarrhoea when it crosses into breast milk.
In addition, it should be avoided by people with health issues. These include those who have stomach pain without a known cause, stomach ulcers, appendicitis, and ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease. Others are kidney disease, liver disease, recent colon surgery, severe anemia, cardiovascular disease, congestive heart failure, severe hemorrhoids, and gastrointestinal (GI) disorders.
While long-term use is harmful to the liver, it can cause melanosis coli too. This is possible because too many anthraquinones in the body might be damaging.
Excessive doses may also lead to acute urinary retention, vomiting, and bloody diarrhea.
How Will Cascara Sagrada Benefit Me?
Cascara sagrada bark has the ability to provide relief from constipation and other digestive issues. Although other studies concerning it need more evidence, the potential health benefits you can get from its bark is promising.
Consult with your physician now and see if supplements containing cascara sagrada bark is exactly what you need.
If you are convinced that this is the supplement for you, purchase one now.