Standardized: cascara sagrada
Other: bearberry, cascara, chittem bark, sacred bark
Rhamnus purshiana DC.
Plant Family: Rhamnaceae
Cascara sagrada, which translates as "sacred bark", is a deciduous shrub of the American Northwest, ranging from northern California to the Alaska panhandle in moist forests below 5,000 feet (1,500 m). It is also found in the Rockies of Idaho and Montana. The herb is harvested in the form of quills and pieces of bark, allowed to age at least a year before use in laxative preparations. Cascara sagrada is never to be used fresh and must be aged for at least a year to break down its anthrone chemicals. (The Cascara offered by Mountain Rose Herbs is aged) If the bark is not aged it is a purgative and will cause intense intestinal spasms and vomiting. The herb can be artificially aged by heating but some useful constituents may be lost. In recent times, it has been used as an ingredient in sun screen products, as well as a flavoring agent in foods such as candy, frozen dairy desserts, and baked goods.
Properly aged bark (generally 1 year)
Tablets and extracts. Teas are hard to drink but have a gentler laxative action.
American folk lore tells us that good luck in legal matters can be brought about if one wears a mojo bag filled with cascara sagrada and chews on a root of galangal, spitting the juice on the court room floor. Common logic however, would dictate that spitting on a court room floor is probably not very wise.
Not for use in pregnancy or lactation except under the supervision of a qualified healthcare practitioner. Contraindicated with intestinal obstruction, abdominal pain, or any inflammatory condition of the intestines. Not for use in excess of 8 days unless under the supervision of a qualified healthcare practitioner.
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.