Cascara sagrada was historically introduced to Europeans by Eli Lilly &Company, who marketed “Elixir Purgans”, a laxative which had cascara as an ingredient along with other herbs.
Cascara Sagrada is an herbal laxative that is derived from the red-tinted bark of Rhamnus purshiana, a tree which is indigenous to the Pacific Northwest United States. It was commonly used by many Native American tribes who called it “sacred bark” and shared their medicine with Europeans.
Cascara sagrada, when properly treated, is considered to be very safe and effectual by most doctors or healers.
Currently, numerous popular laxatives incorporate cascara sagrada. In order to exploit the laxative properties of cascara sagrada, the bark has to be cured for at least a year. The process can be expedited by heating or dehydrating. The curing process is integral to neutralize the properties of cascara sagrada that can inflame the stomach or bowels.
Every individual interacts with laxatives differently, so start with the smallest possible dose, and it is important that it is always taken with a lot of water. To treat constipation or other maladies like hemorrhoids, take one teaspoon of liquid essence three times a day or 1-2 teaspoons before going to bed; or take 1 to 2 pills of dehydrated bark before going to bed.
Health Benefits of Cascara Sagrada
The efficacy of cascara sagrada as a laxative has been demonstrated many times. When properly treated and used under the supervision of a healthcare professional, it can soothe constipation. Cascara is so gentle that even the elderly can take it, and it can treat the constipation that can be a result of complications of surgery (through averting the stress and pain that accompany anal fissures or hemorrhoids). However, the herb hasn’t been thoroughly tested, and so other benefits may not be known.