Cascara sagrada, Rhamnus purshiana, is a bitter purgative that increases bile flow and stimulates peristalsis of the colon. The name cascara sagrada means holy or sacred bark. It is known for its effectiveness in relieving constipation and for colon cleansing. The bark should be dried for 1 year before use. The correct dose is the smallest dose necessary to create a soft stool.
Not recommended for use during pregnancy or in those with inflammatory bowel disorders, abdominal pain, or obstruction. Avoid prolonged use. If a person appears dependent on this or other stimulant laxatives or if cramps or griping becomes a problem, use nervines for the dependency and bowel spasms, and use magnesium to counteract spasms. In case of diarrhea caused by excessive use, use charcoal or mucilaginous herbs. Long term use will darken the tissue color of the bowel and create laxative dependency. Triphala is helpful for people who have become dependent on laxatives.
This can be taken as a decoction, tincture, or a capsule.