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The Constituents of Cascara Sagrada

Cascara sagrada is a powerful laxative that works by stimulating the peristalsis of the intestines and colon to expel the blockage. The name means 'sacred bark' in Spanish, and it is the bark of the American buckthorn tree that is used. The bark is first aged for about a year, because the fresh bark induces severe vomiting and diarrhea, but after aging its effects are reduced so it can be used as a laxative with no ill effects. However, it is important that cascara sagrada is not used regularly, but only on occasion as needed. Otherwise the bowel can become dependent on it, and it can also discolor the colon.

The constituents that are believed to be active in inducing the wavelike peristaltic motion are anthraquinone glycosides: emodin, frangulin, carscarosides A, B, C and D, HAD (hydroxyanthracene derivatives), rhein, malic acid and aloin. It is believed that the anthraquinones are absorbed through the intestine and enter the circulation. They then stimulate the autonomous nervous system to induce peristalsis in the intestine, particularly in the colon. Aloin and HAD act specifically on the colon to induce purging. The constituents of cascara sagrada also possess anti-tumor properties and are antiviral.

It is still under investigations for its anticancer properties which rather belies the claims that cascara sagrada may cause cancer in the colon if taken constantly, though more tests are needed to establish this. What is more likely to happen is that peristalsis will not occur except when the anthraquinones are present. That is, the colon will become dependent on cascara sagrada, so it should only be used to treat constipation when it occurs, and not to prevent it.

Nutrition Info
Serving Size: 2 capsules
  Amount Per Serving % Daily Value
Total Carbohydrate  <1 g   <1%* 
Cascara sagrada (Rhamnus purshiana) (Bark)  900 mg   † 
* Percent Daily Values are based on 2,000 calorie diet.
† Daily Value not established.



Serving Size: 2 capsules

Servings per container: 50

Suggested Use: As an herbal dietary supplement, take 2 capsules 1 to 2 times daily, with water or juice on an empty stomach.

Free of: sugar, salt, starch, yeast, wheat, corn, soy, milk, preservatives.

Other Ingredients: magnesium stearate.

Warnings: Read and follow directions carefully. Do not use if you have or develop diarrhea, loose stools, or abdominal pain. Consult your physician if you have frequent diarrhea. If you are pregnant,nursing, taking medicaion, or have a medical condition, consult a physician.

How Does Cascara Sagrada Improve Bowel Function?
The puzzle on how exactly Cascara Sagrad works has over the years reamined a mystery. The stimulant laxative works by causing irritation into the intestines and the result is movement of the bowel. There are several precautions that are offered about the herb and especially to the users who are allergic to it. Those who have history of intestinal challenges are also advised not to use it. This also applies to those who have had surgery on the abdomen. Those who are on medication need to consult their doctors initially before using the herb.

Cascara Sagrad comes in two forms: this could either be in liquid or solid forms. The real herb is made from a combination of many components. It is a natural peel that does not result in side effects if used effectively. The dietary supplement offers an excellent alternative that counter the bowel movements. Such may include amongst others; glucomannan and psyllium. It is one of the few herbs that have been approved by the world health organization. It is extracted from American buckthorn native tree. The part of the tree that is used in making the herb is the bark.

The herb is known to trigger secretion of minerals to the colon and help in absorption process. It is known to be vital in cases where easily excreted stool is desired. This is a common challenge for those who have undergone rectal surgery. The herb needs to be taken with the correct doses to avoid rise problems such as diarrhea and Abdominal cramps. Extracts of the Cascara Sagrad is known to counter the effects of simplex virus. The herb practically stimulates the bowel. This leads to evacuation shortly after it has been consumed. The herb is though not appropriate for regular use sine it can be addictive and can result to dependence.

The Cascara Sagrad is known to treat drug overdose. The explanation offered to this is the fact that it eliminates the drug from the lower intestine of the victim. It is also known to prevent damage of the skin surface. The fresh bark of the tree can result to vomiting. This explains the need for it to be kept for sometimes so that the harsh effects can be eliminated in the process. The herb is though not recommended for children under the age of twelve and expectant mothers. This is also the case with those who have inflammatory bowel disease or stomach ulcers.

How it works

Cascara Sagrad works by having its chemicals stimulate the bowel. The result of this is a laxative effect in case one is having irregular bowel movements. If used on a short term basis, the herb is proven to be completely safe. However, there are some side effects that are known to recur to the user such as heart failure and muscle complications. It is therefore advisable to consult a nutritionist before taking the supplement so as to avoid the named side effects. If the guidelines are followed correctly, cascara Sagrad should be able to cleanse the colon.

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