Botanical Description of the herb Cascara sagrada.
- Basic Botanical Information of Cascara sagrada.
- Botanical Description of the herb Cascara sagrada.
- Rhamnus Purshiana:Botanical Source and History.
- Phytochemical and Compositions of Cascara sagrada.
- Traditional Use of Cascara Sagrada.
- Current Status of Cascara Sagrada.
- Cascara sagrada Therapeutic uses and health benefit.
- Administration and Suggestions of Cascara sagrada.
- Cascara sagrada Related Species and Pharmaceutical Preparations.
- Research Update:Cascara Sagrada.
Botanical Description of the herb Cascara sagrada.
Cascara sagrada is a 20-foot tree with reddish brown bark and thin serrated leaves. Umbels of small flowers appear in late spring, followed by poisonous black berries.The bark is the part used in medicine, and has long been known in domestic practice among western people as a mild cathartic. Cascara sagrada is officially described as "in quills or curved pieces, about 3 to 10 Cm. (1 1/5 to 4 inches) long, and about 2 Mm. (1/12 inch) thick; outer surface brownish-gray and whitish; the young bark having numerous, rather broad, pale-colored warts; inner surface yellowish to light brownish, becoming dark-brown by age; smooth or finely striate; fracture short, yellowish, in the inner layer of thick bark somewhat fibrous; inodorous; taste bitter"(U. S. P.).
A deciduous tree growing 20-30 feet tall, with a trunk averaging 1 1/2 feet in diameter, cascara sagrada has slender branches and a reddish-brown bark. Its green or yellow-green leaves are elliptical, finely toothed, and rounded at the base, with either blunt or sharp ends; the leaves are crowded at the tips of branchlets. Greenish-white flowers (May-June), borne in clusters in the axils of the leaves, develop into round black fruits (September), each with two or three smooth seeds.
Spanish priests in California, who noted that American Indians used the bark medicinally, gave this tree the name cascara sagrada, meaning "sacred bark." The Indians stripped the bark from the tree in early spring or autumn, dried it, and then aged it for at least a year. To prepare the medicine, they steeped the bark in boiling water; they drank the cooled liquid to relieve constipation. A century elapsed between the time the Spaniards took note of the plant's medicinal use in California and its acceptance by American physicians in 1877. Cascara sagrada has been listed in the U.S. Pharmacopeia since 1894. Cascara bark has been called the world's most widely used laxative. It is still marketed.
Cascara sagrada acts by irritating the intestines to produce wavelike contractions of the muscles of the intestinal wall. Properly diluted, cascara sagrada is especially useful as a mild laxative for elderly people or those in delicate health. Honey produced from cascara flowers also has a slight laxative effect. Two related European species, R. frangula (alder buckthorn) and R. cathartica (buckthorn), have similar laxative effects, but cascara sagrada is milder and also safer to use.
Literally, Cascara Sagrada means "Sacred Bark". The name dates back to the seventeenth century when the American Indians introduced the Spanish and Mexican explorers to the usefulness of the bark for constipation and upset stomach. The bark was first marketed to the medical community in 1877 when the pharmaceutical company of Parke-Davis introduced a bitter emetic fluid extract. In 1890, the plant was officially listed in the U.S. Pharmacopoea. It is a shrub, native to North America. Cascara Sagrada is popularly used to treat chronic constipation. As a nutritional supplement, Cascara Sagrada supports and strengthens the colon, liver, gallbladder and digestive system. Cascara is perhaps the safest and most certain natural laxative available, and can be used to restore tone to the colon and thereby overcome laxative dependence in the elderly. The herb is safe and effective for detoxifying and cleansing programs, as opposed to the harsher laxatives, such as senna. Cascara Sagrada bark has been used for centuries by various cultures around the world. Cascara Sagrada is a good source of vitamin A, vitamin B-2, vitamin B-5, calcium, manganese and potassium. The natural constituents found in Cascara Sagrada stimulate the secretion of digestive fluids, increase the flow of bile, and cleanse the intestines. Cascara Sagrada is beneficial for treating a sluggish gallbladder, digestive problems, enlarged liver, intestinal parasites, jaundice, and colitis. In addition, Cascara Sagrada may be used to treat hemorrhoids, and a variety of skin problems. To prevent gripe, it is best combined with some carminative herbs such as Anise, Fennel or Caraway Seeds.
- 1.Cascara is an official herb in many countries for relieving chronic constipation.
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