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Only the dried form of cascara should be used. Capsules providing 20 to 30 mg of cascarosides per day can be used. However, the smallest amount necessary to maintain soft stool should be used.1 As a tincture, 1/4 to 1 teaspoon (1–5 ml) per day is generally taken. It is important to drink eight 6-ounce (180 ml) glasses of water throughout the day while using cascara. Cascara should be taken consecutively for no longer than eight to ten days.2
The laxatives most frequently used world-wide come from plants. Herbal laxatives are either bulk-forming or stimulating.
Stimulant laxatives are high in anthraquinone glycosides, which stimulate bowel muscle contraction. The most frequently used stimulant laxatives are senna leaves, cascara bark, and aloe latex. While senna is the most popular, cascara has a somewhat milder action. Aloe is very potent and should be used with caution. Other stimulant laxatives include buckthorn, alder buckthorn (Rhamnus frangula), and rhubarb (Rheum officinale, R. palmatum).
1. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, et al. (eds). The Complete Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Boston, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications, 1998, 104-5.
2. Bradley PR, ed. British Herbal Compendium, vol 1. Bournemouth, Dorset, UK: British Herbal Medicine Association, 1992, 52-4.
Cascara is a small to medium-size tree native to the provinces and states of the Pacific coast, including British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, and northern California. The bark of the tree is removed, cut into small pieces, and dried for one year before being used medicinally. Fresh cascara bark has an emetic or vomit-inducing property and therefore is not used.
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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2018.
|Supplement Facts |
Serving Size: 2 capsules
|Amount Per Serving||%DV|
|Total Carbohydrate||1 g||<1%*|
|Cascara sagrada (bark)||850 mg||**|
|*Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. |
**Daily Value (DV) not established.
Notice: This product contains Cascara sagrada. Read and follow directions carefully. Do not use if you have or develop diarrhea, loose stools, or abdominal pain because Cascara sagrada may worsen these conditions and be harmful to your health. Consult your physician if you have frequent diarrhea or if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication or have a medical condition.
Do not use when nausea or vomiting are present unless directed by a doctor. Consult a doctor if you notice a sudden change in bowel habits that persist over 2 weeks. Rectal bleeding or failure to move bowels after use may indicate a serious condition. Discontinue use and consult a doctor.