Cascara Sagrada was used traditionally as an herbal laxative by various Native American Indian tribes. These tribes passed their knowledge of this medicinal herb then on to the Spanish explorers.
The active constituents in cascara sagrada are hydroxyanthraquinone glycosides called cascarosides. These cascarosides have a cathartic effect by inducing muscular contraction called peristalsis in the large intestine, encouraging a bowel movement.
Cascara sagrada is the main ingredient in many laxative products on the market today and it is thought to be the most effective herb for colon cleansing available.
It is mild enough to use after anal or rectal surgery or for use in the elderly. Because of its mild laxative properties, this herb is often used for treating chronic constipation.
Cascara sagrada increases the secretion of bile from the gallbladder. Because of this property, cascara sagrada has been used to break up and prevent gallstones.
The FDA places cascara sagrada in category I, meaning that it is considered safe and effective as a laxative and the German Commission E has approved its use for treatment of constipation.
Traditionally it is thought to heal ailments of the liver. Taken internally, it has been used to treat liver problems such as an enlarged liver.
When properly aged, cascara sagrada is useful for soothing upset stomachs.
Improves the flow of secretions from the pancreas, stomach, and liver to promote digestion and aid in elimination.
Cascara sagrada is thought to act as a natural antibiotic in the intestines when taken internally and it has been used to help eliminate gastrointestinal parasites such as worms.
It is thought to relieve the pressure and pain associated with hemorrhoids and anal fissures but this claim is only supported by traditional use.