Cascara Sagrada comes from the bark of the buckthorn tree. It stimulates your colon to produce stronger contractions than normal. When it does this, it can work on the most difficult and chronic cases of constipation.
It is one of the herbal constipation remedies with a strong laxative effect. It will be found in many herbal combinations that are mixed for constipation. Cascara has Chrysophanic acid, which stimulates your colon wall to produce peristaltic action. Cascara also contains a chemical called emodin, which controls the strong action of Chrysophonic acid thus producing a balanced laxative effect.
If you use cascara in a constipation remedy mixture, do not use this mixture for more than thirty days. After 30 days take a rest from it. Do not use Cascara in large amounts and for long periods since it can cause intestinal distress and become habit-forming. When you use it, you will see results in 1-2 days.
Cascara Sagrada also stimulates secretions from the liver, gallbladder, pancreas, and stomach. These secretions give Cascara additional laxative effects.
Do not use Cascara Sagrada if you have irritable bowel syndrome, hemorrhoids, ulcers, colitis, or cohen's disease. These conditions require a more soothing herbal treatment. Use Cascara for a limited time. It can become habit-forming and, if used for an extended time, it can increase the risk of colon cancer. Its use also causes you to lose potassium with each bowel movement.
If you have liver problems do not use cascara sagrada full strength. Use it in combination with other herbs. Cascara is known to put a strain on the liver.
You can take Cascara Sagrada as a single herb for constipation. As a single herb, it can cause cramping and nausea. However, I recommend you used it with other herbs. In an herbal combination, the combination can detoxify your colon, tonify your colon walls, cleanse the blood and produce other synergistic actions.
In Michael Murray, N.D., book called The Pill Book Guide to Natural Medicines, he talks about the drug interaction of cascara sagrada,
"Cascara and other stimulant laxatives may decrease absorption of other drugs that pass through the gastrointestinal tract. If you are currently taking an oral medication, talk to your pharmacist or doctor before self-medicating with cascara. Cascara may potentiate the action of digoxin and other heart medications due to potassium depletion. The use of cascara with thiazide diuretics and corticosteroids may further decrease potassium levels."
Recommend dose for the cascara sagrada, as a single herb, is 350 - 1000mg just before bedtime. It you have any cramping or discomfort from cascara, take it with your meals. Gradually increase the quantity, every day, until you get the action your need.
Use 1-4 cascara sagrada powder capsules a night, but do not use these capsules for more than 10 days. Start with 1 capsule a night and increase the amount each day until you get results you want.
For a laxative tea, use one teaspoon of cascara bark in 3 cups of boiling water for 20 minutes. Drink 1-2 cups of tea just before bedtime after it has cooled to room temperature.
Cascara Sagrada is a strong constipation remedy and will help you clean out your colon even if you have chronic constipation. Use it sparely and for a short time.