The health benefits of Cascara Sagrada tea have long been known to the indigenous peoples of the northwestern U.S. as a laxative natural medicine. In fact, the use of the cascara sagrada bark was accepted into the medical practice in the United States in the late 17th century as a laxative remedy.
Cascara Sagrada is a deciduous species of the buckthorn commonly found in the Northwestern region of the United States, ranging from California to Alaska, also from Idaho to Montana. The cascara sagrada occasionally grows up as a large shrub or a small tree up to a height of 15 meters. It has a trunk measuring 20 to 50 centimeters in diameter. Its tiny flowers bear five greenish yellow petals and its fruit is a deep purple or black berry that has three seeds.
Also known by its official name of rhamnus purshiana, the plant is often found in moist forests below 5,000 feet. The cascara sagrada herb is harvested in the form of quills and pieces of bark. Cascara sagrada is not meant to be used fresh and must typically be aged for at least 1 year before use in laxative preparations. This is so that its active anthrone chemicals should be broken down.
Cascara Sagrada tea is known as a potent laxative. The active constituents in cascara sagrada are known to act on the nerves in the intestinal tract, numbing the nerves that hold back stool, and then stimulating the nerves that propel stool downward.
Cascara sagrada is quite bitter in taste so a lot of people with constipation opt to take it in the form of capsules or extracts.
Cascara Sagrada is not recommended for people suffering from appendicitis, Crohn’s disease, or ulcerative colitis. It is also not recommended for children under the age of 12, as well as for pregnant women and nursing mothers.