Have you seen or heard of the cascara sagrada before? Actually, this is an herb, which is once available as an over-the-counter herbal laxative. Nevertheless, because of the lack of some supportive research as well as the subsequent withdrawal of the Food and Drug Administration. Now, it is available as a dietary supplement and not as a drug. In fact, if you are to take it orally for some laxative purposes, it is commonly recommendable for not longer than one week and with some caution. Other than its long history of use as a laxative, there are some other health benefits of cascara sagrada. In the actual fact, it also have effects in treating cancer, gallstone, and liver conditions. Give this article a read and get to know more about this herb.
Cascara Sagrada: What is this?
Cascara sagrada or what they often call as cascara, cascara buckthorn, chittem bark, cascararinde, and bitter bark, is actually a small shrub or tree, which is mainly available in various North American regions, just like Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and California. Not just that, it is also present in Southeast British Columbia.
The Rhamnus purshiana or the cascara sagrada tree is actually an endangered species now at this time. This tree has grayish-black bark and may grow to be approximately 32 feet tall. Furthermore, the part of the cascara sagrada that is valuable in the field of medicine is usually the dried bark. It is also available in liquid and solid forms.
Moreover, the cascara sagrada bark possesses chemicals known as anthraquinones, which provide its unique color as well as its laxative effects. Furthermore, there are weight loss claims of cascara sagrada that are searchable on the internet. However, this is not recommendable. There is also no proof that it is safe for use.
In the traditional medicine, cascara sagrada was valuable for the Native Americans as a kind of herbal laxative. In more recent years, the cascara sagrada was an FDA-approved medicine. However, the reservations start to raise regarding the effectiveness as well as the safety of this herbal treatment for constipation.
Various manufacturers and companies did not believe that it was worth the cost of conducting studies. This is what leads the FDA to tell them to either remove or reformulate the products. In today’s day and time, cascara is only available as an herbal supplement and not as a medicine.
Other than the fact that it is an herbal supplement, cascara sagrada is also processing some sunscreens. It is also beneficial as an extract good for beverages and various cuisines.
Health Benefits of Cascara Sagrada
Here are some of the most surprising health benefits of cascara sagrada:
- Aids in liver health and gallstones. One animal study finds that the cascara sagrada’s emodin is actually beneficial in treating liver damage. Furthermore, rats that are subjected to some histological liver damage because of the administration of acetaminophen experienced some sort of liver protection after the emodin therapy, in a manner of dose-dependent. Furthermore, there are some traditional medicine practitioners, which are popular to utilizing the cascara sagrada as well as castile enemas or garlic together with lemon juice and olive oil treatment as one part of a gallbladder flush in order to promote the gallstones passage.
- Aids in cancer treatment. Various studies are conducted for the investigation of the possible anti-cancer properties of the cascara sagrada. The aloe emodin component of the cascara sagrada is actually studied and found to be essential in treating cancer, specifically liver cancer. Thus far right now, the possibility for the cascara sagrada to help fight cancer really do exist. But it has not been confirmed by clinical studies. Still, this is one of the best health benefits of cascara sagrada.
- Aids in constipation. The cascara sagrada is essential in providing relief for constipation. In fact, according to a study, it is safe and very well-tolerated. Nevertheless, it may cause adverse events including liver injury. The ability of the cascara to act as a laxative is due to its anthraquinone glycosides content.
The cascara sagrada is often thought to possibly beneficial for most of the adults if taken by mouth for not more than seven days. Nevertheless, it is important to be cautious in taking it. Some of the side effects of cascara sagrada may include stomach cramps and stomach upset.
Furthermore, the long-term use of the cascara sagrada is actually not safe for some. The possible serious side effects of the cascara sagrada may include low levels of electrolytes, heart problems, muscle weakness, as well as dehydration. Remember as well, that cascara sagrada is not recommendable for children use as they may get more dehydrated. Additionally, for those who have a gastrointestinal disorder, they shouldn’t take cascara sagrada.
Medications, which are popular to have an interaction with the cascara sagrada include oral drugs, digoxin, corticosteroids, diuretics, blood thinners, and stimulant laxatives. Cascara sagrada must also not be taken with licorice, cardiac-glycoside-containing herbs, horsetail, and herbs or supplements that have chromium.
Ask your doctor first before consuming one.