Buckthorn is basically a wonder shrub that is indigenous to Europe and western parts of Asia. This particular shrub is believed to have contributed a large part in the field of medicine and science. In fact, for the past centuries and until now, some medicinal preparations of buckthorn bark are developed from the European buckthorn shrub, which is widely known as black dogwood (Rhamnus frangula). In Europe and western part of Asia, the buckthorn bark of the trunks and branches is dried and seasoned for some purposes.
A variety of buckthorn which provides a useful buckthorn bark grown throughout the northern California and British Columbia, which they usually called as California Buckthorn (Rhamnus pursiana), and which is also known as cascara sagrada. The buckthorn bark of this species is said to chemical and medicinal properties that is the same to that of the European buckthorn. The buckthorn bark of such species is also used in healing in parts of California and British Columbia.
The buckthorn bark has been greatly applied medicinally back from 1600s, when it was listed in a primary medical reference known as the London Pharmacopeia. Unlike some of the popular herbs with multiple uses which are later refined to a few or a single proven benefits, the buckthorn bark throughout the ages has been consistently applied by most people to provide relief to only one ailment. That is basically to relieve constipation and its by-products like hemorrhoids and anal irritation.
However, the medicinal uses of the buckthorn bark is not only limited to that, there are also some studies which demonstrate that the buckthorn bark and leaves also give a bright yellow-red dye that has been applied for many centuries to provide color to the textiles.
The buckthorn bark generally contains anthraquinones, which are compounds that have a strong purgative and laxative impact on the body. Since the fact that those compounds contained in the buckthorn bark are so powerful, the buckthorn bark, prior to its being processed into laxative products, is aged for a year, or it is heated and dried for periods.
As it is mentioned earlier, the buckthorn bark is useful for easing constipation. One of the supports for that are basically the findings that the bark enhances the colon’s ability to spontaneously contract. Aside from that, they also decrease the water absorption by the intestines, which then means more liquid is left in the colon. As such, a larger volume and softer stools are being produced, which in turn eases the constipation.
Along with that, the buckthorn bark is used to treat hemorrhoids and anal fissures for the reason that it is an effective stool softener which in turn make the bowel movements more comfortable for those who have hemorrhoids and anal fissures, or even those who are recovering from recto-anal surgery. There is also some times in which the buckthorn bark is applied to cleanse the colon in preparation for gastrointestinal diagnostic procedures.
Although the buckthorn bark is largely applied for such purposes, the bark may also cause intestinal cramping, specifically is too large a does is taken. The overuse of the bark supplements may also cause a potassium deficiency that can affect the heartbeat-regulating drugs. So it is then better to take precautionary actions like a medical advice before taking it.