Categories: Medicinal plants

Cascara sagrada: what is it, benefits and how to drink

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Cascara sagrada is a medicinal plant widely used to treat constipation, is considered a natural laxative.

Its scientific name is  Rhamnus purshiana DC and it can be purchased at health food stores and some handling pharmacies. 

The extract of the peel is metabolized by intestinal bacteria, causing the production of substances that stimulate intestinal movement, facilitating the evacuation.

The effect caused by this plant is milder than other natural laxatives such as aloe or seine.

However, the idea is that before using any type of natural laxative, changes in eating habits are made, increasing the consumption of foods rich in fiber and ingesting at least 2 L of water a day. See some natural foods to relieve constipation.   


What is cascara sagrada for?

Cascara sagrada has cathartic, laxative, bitter, appetite-stimulating, and cholagogue action, which is why it is used mainly to treat constipation in the short term because it restores the natural tone of the colon and causes a smooth and regular increase in movements. peristaltic of the intestine.

When the cascara sagrada is ingested, substances are released in the large intestine that is then processed by the bacterial flora, producing the release of aglycones that act on the mucosa and produce evacuation.

In small doses, it can help stimulate the appetite, in larger doses it acts as a mild laxative and purgative.

Likewise, it facilitates the expulsion of the bile retained in the gallbladder, thus reducing the absorption of fats at the intestinal level. 

How to drink

Cascara sagrada can be ingested in capsule or powder form and its dose will depend on the age and personal history of the individual.

It is important to consult your doctor or pharmacist before using it, if ingested you must follow the instructions in the manufacturer’s brochure and never exceed the dose indicated by the product.


This natural plant is usually indicated 1 capsule a day before sleeping with 1 glass of water, however, this dose could be adapted according to need. This product must be used for less than 1 week.

Cascara sagrada tea

Likewise, another way to consume cascara sagrada is in the form of an infusion, where the dried cascara is used.  


1 teaspoon of cascara sagrada;

240 mL of boiling water.

Preparation mode

Place the peels in a cup and add 240 ml of boiling water. Let it steep for 10 minutes, strain, and drink 1 to 2 cups at night before sleeping. See other laxative teas to combat constipation.

When not to ingest

The bled shell should not be used if a pregnancy is suspected or during it, during breastfeeding because it can pass into the milk and cause diarrhea in the newborn and children under 12 years of age.


It should also not be ingested if you are taking digoxin, corticosteroids, arrhythmia medications, diuretics, and cardiac glycosides because some drug interactions may occur.

Likewise, it should not be used when suffering from intestinal disorders such as appendicitis, intestinal obstruction, stomach ulcers, hemorrhoids, diverticular disease, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, stomach pain, rectal bleeding, vomiting, or dehydration. 

Side effects of cascara sagrada

Although cascara sagrada is beneficial for constipation, its use in excessive doses can cause some side effects such as fatigue, cramps, diarrhea, lack of appetite, nutrient malabsorption, nausea and vomiting, loss of regularity to evacuate, sweating excessively, and dizziness. 

When ingested for a long period it can cause more serious problems such as dehydration, decreased levels of electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, and chlorine in the blood, heart problems, and muscle weakness. 


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