Cascara sagrada is the dried, aged bark of a small tree in the buckthorn family native to the Pacific Northwest. The name cascara sagrada is Spanish for “sacred bark”. Long used as a laxative by Native Americans. The bark is aged for a year so that the active principles become milder, as freshly dried bark produces too strong a laxative for safe use. The bark contains compounds called anthraquinones which are transformed by bacteria in the intestinal track to substances that increase peristalsis in the large intestine.
Cascara Sagrada, an old well known and proven remedy for chronic constipation, is a good herb for the intestinal tract. Recognized as a good liver tonic for it’s ability to increase bile and also a good remedy for gallstones. Only the aged bark should be used.
Other common names include: Purshiana bark, Persian bark, sacred bark, chittem bark, bearberry, California buckthorn.