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Cascara Sagrada Clinical Studies
Cortex Rhamni Purshianae [Cascara Sagrada]
"Cortex Rhamni Purshianae consists of the dried bark of Rhamnus purshiana D.C. (Rhamnaceae) (1–5). Cascara (2) and Cascara Sagrada (5) are also official names of the drug. . . . The fresh bark contains free anthrones and must be dried for at least 1 year or artificially aged by heat or aeration before therapeutic use (1, 5, 8). . . . The mechanism of action, similar to that of senna, is twofold. Firstly, there is stimulation of colonic motility, resulting in increased propulsion and accelerated transit of faeces through the colon (which reduces fluid absorption from the faecal mass). Secondly, there is an increase in paracellular permeability across the colonic mucosa, probably due to inhibition of sodium/potassium-transporting adenosine triphosphatase or inhibition of chloride channels (23, 26). The increased permeability results in increased water content in the colon (21, 26)."
[Word Health Organization, Cortex Rhamni Purshianae, WHO Monographs on Selected Medicinal Plants - Volume 2:259-268, at http://apps.who.int/medicinedocs/en/d/Js4927e/25.html, July 25 2007.]
Cascara Sagrada Fact Sheet
"Cascara sagrada has a long history of traditional use by Native Americans. Cascara sagrada contains compounds called anthroquinones, which are responsible for cascara's powerful laxative effects. Anthraquinones trigger contractions in the colon, called peristalsis, which causes the urge to have a bowel movement. Today, it is one of the most common herbal laxatives. In addition to being a powerful laxative, cascara is also believed to improve the muscle tone of the colon walls."
[Cathy Wong, Cascara Sagrada Fact Sheet, Alternative Medicine, at http://altmedicine.about.com/od/completeazindex/a/cascara.htm, July 2, 2011]
Cascara Sagrada, Nature's Gentle Answer to Constipation
"In comparing the group who took Cascara to placebo control groups, Cascara demonstrated that it was effective, had good biological tolerance, promoted faster gastro-intestinal transit time and when supplemented with inositol and cianocobalamine, the herb caused marked increases in levels of vitamin B-12.7"
[Nutraceutical, Cascara Sagrada, Nature's Gentle Answer to Constipation, Woodland Publishing (1995), at www.nutracorp.com/educate/pdf/cascara.pdf.]