Herb Library: Natural Herbs and Herbal Supplements Directory: Cascara Sagrada


Cascara Sagrada

Cascara Sagrada


This fact sheet provides basic information about Cascara Sagrada. Cascara sagrada is a natural laxative that comes from the reddish-brown bark of the Rhamnus purshiana tree native to the Pacific Northwest. It was used by various Native American Indian tribes, who also passed their sacred bark on to Spanish explorers.

Common Names

Cascara Sagrada, Cascara Buckthorn, Cascara, Bearberry

Latin Names

Rhamnus purshiana

What It Is Used For

  • Relieving occasional constipation (irregularity).

How It Is Used

To use cascara sagrada as a laxative, the bark must be carefully prepared by curing for at least one year or heated and dried to speed up the aging process. Aging is essential because fresh cascara sagrada is irritating to the gastrointestinal system, causing vomiting and upset stomach.

What the Science Says

  • Cascara sagrada is recognized as safe and effective by most medical and health professionals.
  • Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with Cascara Sagrada.

Side Effects and Cautions

  • Since everyone responds differently to laxatives, it is always recommended to start with the lowest dose.


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