Cascara Sagrada, also called Sacred Bark, is a natural laxative. It is used to treat chronic constipation and upset stomach.
It is made from the reddish-brown bark of a tree - Rhamnus purshiana.
The cascara sagrada tree is commonly cultivated in North America and Kenya. The bark contains unique glycosides such as cascarosides A, B, C, and D.
These glycosides exert gentle, safe, and effective laxative effects on the digestive system therefore enhancing regularity.
Many over-the-counter laxatives contain cascara sagrada as a key ingredient. Since it is very mild, the herb is frequently combined with stronger laxatives, such as aloe vera latex.
To work properly, the Rhamnus purshiana bark must be carefully prepared. It is normally cured for at least one year. It may also be heated and dried to speed up the aging process.
Aging is essential; the fresh bark is very irritating to the gastrointestinal system. It causes vomiting and intestinal spasms.
Cascara comes in the form of tablets, extracts, powder, liquid, dried herb/tea and capsules.
Health Benefits of Cascara Sagrada
Side Effects of Cascara Sagrada and Cautions
Cascara may cause yellow-brown urine that is harmless.
Limit your use of cascara to one or two weeks. Habitual use of cascara can cause laxative dependence. In addition, long-term use of any laxative can make your body lose critical fluids and salts such as potassium. It can also lead to chronic diarrhoea.
Some people develop cramps and other gastrointestinal discomforts because of using cascara. In such a case, it is recommended you lower your dose or stop taking it altogether if the symptoms persist.
If you have an inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, avoid cascara. You should also avoid it if you have appendicitis, abdominal pain or if your doctor has diagnosed an intestinal obstruction of any kind.
Do not take cascara sagrada if you are pregnant or breast-feeding unless under medical supervision.