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Medically reviewed by Last updated on Sep 2, 2023.

What are other common names?

  • Frangula purshiana
  • Rhamnus purshiana
  • Rhamnus pushiana
  • Bitter Bark
  • Bitterbark
  • Buckthorn
  • California Buckthorn
  • Cascara Sagrada
  • Cascararinde
  • Chittem Bark
  • Cortex Rhamni Purshianae
  • Dogwood Bark
  • Pastel Bourd
  • Purshiana Bark
  • Rhamnus
  • Sacred Bark
  • Sagrada Bark
  • Yellow Bark

What is this product used for?

Cascara is used by some people as a laxative. This product is not considered to be safe for use by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

What are the precautions when taking this product?

  • Always check with your doctor before you use a natural product. Some products may not mix well with other drugs or natural products.

  • Do not give this product to children.

  • Do not use this product if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant soon. Use birth control you can trust while taking this product.

  • Do not use this product if you are breastfeeding.

  • Do not use in children less than 10 years old.

  • Do not use this product if you have bowel problems like Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and ulcerative colitis.

  • Do not use this product for more than 1 week.

  • Take extra care if you are taking drugs for inflammation. Some of these drugs decrease the potassium in your blood. These are drugs like dexamethasone, hydrocortisone, or prednisone.

  • Take extra care if you are taking drugs called “water pills.” These drugs can decrease the potassium in your blood. These are drugs like furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide, or chlorothiazide.

  • Take extra care if you are taking drugs that help your heart beat stronger or more regular. These are drugs like digoxin, amiodarone, quinidine, and flecainide.

  • Take extra care and check with your doctor if you have:

    • Heart problems

    • Blood pressure problems

    • Gallbladder problems

    • Crohn's disease or other bowel problems

    • Stomach ulcers

    • Low potassium levels

    • Kidney problems

    • Liver problems

    • Dehydration

What should I watch for?

  • Upset stomach

  • Stomach cramps

When do I need to call the doctor?

  • Signs of a very bad reaction. These include wheezing; chest tightness; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; fever; rash; hives; itching, discolored, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin; or swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat. Go to the ER right away.

  • Signs of fluid loss. These include dark-colored urine or no urine for more than 8 hours, dry mouth, cracked lips, dry skin, sunken eyes, lack of energy, feeling faint, or passing out.

  • Signs of low potassium. These include feeling tired, weak, numbness, or tingling; muscle cramps; hard stools; throwing up; or fast heartbeat.

  • Very bad throwing up

  • Very bad loose stools

Last Reviewed Date


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