Cascara Bark

Cascara sagrada is a stimulant laxative. The bark comes from a tree called the California buckthorn. This tree grows on the West Coast of the United States and parts of South America. Historically, it was used by Native Americans to treat a host of issues, including:

  • constipation
  • digestive problems
  • joint and muscle pain
  • gonorrhoea
  • gallstones
  • dysentery

Cascara sagrada is primarily used to treat constipation. The anthraquinones contained in the bark inhibit the absorption of water and electrolytes in the intestines. Because of this, stool volume increases as it absorbs the excess water, which increases pressure within the intestine. This stimulates muscle contractions in the colon (peristalsis), speeding the clearance of the bowel.

As such, cascara sagrada is considered a stimulant laxative alongside other natural laxatives like aloe vera and senna. Unlike these counterparts, the effect of cascara sagrada tends to be gentler, resulting in fewer loose or watery stools.

Peer Reviewed Research

  1. Cirillo C, Capasso R. Constipation and botanical medicines: An overviewPhytother Res. 2015;29(10):1488-93. doi:10.1002/ptr.5410
  2. Liu LWC. Chronic constipation: Current treatment optionsCan J Gastroenterol. 2011;25(Suppl B): S22B-S28B. doi:10.1155/2011/360463
  3. Rawat A, Srivastava S, Ojha S. Herbal remedies for management of constipation and its Ayurvedic rerspectivesJ Int Med Sci Acad. 2012;25(1):27-30.


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Disclaimer: Cross Ventures Limited does not provide medical advice. The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with a healthcare professional before beginning any diet, supplementation or exercise program. Statements and opinions contained on Cross Ventures Limited’s Health Engineer website and other related sources (Blog and social media platforms) are provided as self-help tools only. Cross Ventures Limited’s cannot and does not guarantee the accuracy or effectiveness of the information to your unique circumstance.