Introduction of Cascara Sagrada:Chittem bark or Cascara Buckthorn.

Popular Herbs. ✵The article gives records of the herb Cascara Sagrada, its English name, Latin name, common names, synonyms, property and flavor, its botanical source one plant species, ①.Rhamnus purshiana D.C., with a detailed introduction to the botanical features of this plant species, the growth characteristics, and ecological environment of this plant species, the features of the herb Cascara Sagrada, its pharmacological actions, medicinal efficacy, and administration guide.

Cascara Sagrada(Cascara Buckthorn).

 English Name: Cascara Sagrada.
 Latin Name: Rhamnus purshiana D.C.
 Common Names: Buckthorn, Chittem bark, Sacred bark, Bitter Bark, California Buckthorn, Cascara Buckthorn, Purshiana Bark, etc.
 Synonyms: Frangula purshiana. (DC.)Cooper.
 Property and flavor: cool in nature, tastes bitter, sweet.

 Brief introduction: Cascara Sagrada is the aged bark of Rhamnus purshiana D.C., a shrub or small tree native to the western area of North America, it is used as a potent laxative, suitable for delicate and elderly persons, and is very useful in cases of chronic constipation.

 Botanical source: Common herbal classics defined the herb Cascara Sagrada as the bark of the species (1). Rhamnus purshiana D.C. It is a plant species of the Rhamnus genus, the Rhamnaceae family (buckthorn family). The dried bark is used medicinally. This commonly used species is introduced:

(1).Rhamnus purshiana D.C.

 Botanical description: Rhamnus purshiana is an evergreen bush or a tree, it grows up to 6 to 10 meters high, with branches that are gray tomentose when young. Leaves are oblong-ovate, rounded at the base, or sometimes narrowing at the petiole. On the longer shoots, they are up to 17 cm long and 7.5 cm wide, with an 8 to 18 mm long petiole. The margins are finely denate and the young leaves are tomentose, later becoming dark-green but not coriaceous even in autumn.

 The flowers are in richly blossomed axillary racemes, the flowers are produced in small clusters on shoots of the current year's growth. The receptacles are green, the sepals are larger than the petals. Both receptacles and sepals are white. The ovary is longer than the style, and it is trilocular. The fruit is dark purple and top-shaped. The seeds are ovate, black, glossy, domed on the outside, and have a distinct line on the inside.

 It is in leaf all year, in flower from May to June, and the seeds ripen in October.

 Ecological environment: The plant is indigenous to the western area of North America and is cultivated on the Pacific coast area of USA (the United States of America), Canada, and eastern Africa.

 Growth characteristics: The plant succeeds in any reasonably good soil in sun or partial shade, it is cultivated as a medicinal plant in North America and is also collected from the wild, it is becoming rare in the wild because of over-collection. The species is hermaphrodite and is pollinated by insects, a good bee plant.

 Characters of herbs: Cascara sagrada bark is the dried bark of Rhamnus purshiana, the bark should be harvested in the autumn or spring at least 12 months before it is used medicinally, in order to allow the more violent purgative effect to be mollified with age, three-year-old bark is considered to be the best grade.

 Pharmacological actions: ①.laxative effect; ②.anti-cancer and inhibit virus;etc.

 Cascara sagrada bark is a laxative and its efficacy is proven in past use, normally it leads to a bowel movement in six to eight hours after taking a typical dose, thus it also relieves other problems related, hemorrhoids, anal fissures, and similar syndromes, the components anthraquinones are identified responsible for laxative effect; Scientists also found its anthraquinone component aloe-emodin could inhibit a type of mouse leukemia, it could inhibit several kinds of viruses, such as the herpes simplex virus, the varicella-zoster virus which causes chicken pox and shingles, the influenza virus which causes flu, and the pseudorabies virus, but lack treating methods for humans.

 Medicinal efficacy: Traditionally the herb carcara bark was used as a laxative by Native American tribes, it was used in Europe since the Middle Ages (the period in European history from the collapse of Roman civilization in the 5th century CE to the period of the Renaissance), and it was used in America since the 1870s, today it is used as a leading laxative in many parts of the world, it is considered suitable for delicate and elderly persons and is very useful in cases of chronic constipation, except laxative, herbalists today also recommended it for arthritis, gallstones, jaundice, and liver problems. It is also used in some sunscreen products.

 In Europe, it is approved for constipation, relief of defecation with anal fissures, hemorrhoids, etc. And it is used in folk medicine as a tonic and for cleaning wounds. In China, Chinese Buckthorn, the bark of Rhamnus utilis Decne is used for a similar purpose, Rhamnus utilis Decne is also a species of the Rhamnus genus, the Rhamnaceae family.

 Administration of Cascara Sagrada (Cascara Buckthorn): 
Reference: Administration Guide of Cascara Sagrada (Cascara Buckthorn)
Herbal classic books: Common recommended dosages: tea is advised 1 fresh cup mornings and evenings, an infusion is prepared with 2 grams finely cut herb to boiling water and strain after 10 minutes. A decoction is made using a half teaspoon of powdered bark per cup of water and is drunk morning and night, only for short periods. The tincture is taken a half teaspoon. The fluid extract is taken in dosages of 2 to 6 ml.
 Contraindications, Precautions and Adverse Reactions: The herb is advised to take only for short periods, a maximum of ten days; if taken for longer periods, cascara sagrada can cause chronic diarrhea and cramps, laxative dependence, pigment deposits in the colon's mucous membranes, loss of fluids and salts. The herb should not be used if you are pregnant or nursing, or if you suffer from any intestinal obstruction. Fresh cascara bark is irritating and can cause severe vomiting, it needs to be stored for at least twelve months, or heat-treated to eliminate the toxicity, after storage or heat-treated, one will unlikely to experience any reverse reactions when taking the proper dosage. In Europe, the herb is noted can not be recommended to children under 12 years of age.

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