Cascara Sagrada Review

Editor's Review: 3.9 / 5.0

What You Should Know

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Cascara Sagrada, which means Sacred Bark in Spanish, is a common name of the plant rhamnus purshiana, also referred to as “Cascara Buckthorn”, “Cascara”, “Bearberry” or “Chitticum.” It is a member of the buckthorn family and its bark has been used for centuries as a natural laxative. Cascara Sagrada grows as a tree or shrub in most, acidic soils. The bark is aged for at least one year before it is consumed. Consuming fresh bark causes violent vomiting and diarrhea.

The use of Cascara Sagrada as a medicinal herb dates back 1,000 years to the Chinook Native American population of the Pacific Northwest. It was a main ingredient in many commercial over-the-counter laxatives in the US until 2002 when the FDA banned its use in over-the-counter drug products. The FDA’s ban was based on Cascara Sagrada’s negative side effects of abdominal pain, diarrhea and the fact that it is possibly carcinogenic, or cancer-causing.

List of Ingredients

Dried and aged Cascara Sagrada (rhamnus purshiana).

Product Features

The laxative action is due to the Cascara glycosides (cascarosides A, B, C and D). Cascara can be taken orally in bark form, but it is more popularly sold concentrated as a powder in 500 mg capsules, or as an oil extract in bottles. Cascara Sagrada is normally sold in capsules of 450-500 mg from many online and offline retailers for $3 for 100 capsules to $87 for 600 capsules.

It is very important not to exceed the recommended dosage of this product as overdosing can cause vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Also, the use of any laxative is damaging in the long-term and can develop a dependence in the bowels, as well as malnutrition and loss of electrolytes. This product should not be taken by children, pregnant or nursing mothers, people with undiagnosed stomach pain, people with appendicitis, diarrhea, inflammatory bowel disease or intestinal ulcers.

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  • Available from a wide range of retailers, online and offline.
  • Effective as a laxative.
  • Availability in capsule or oil form make it easy to consume.
  • Customer reviews are available on several websites.


  • Has been banned by the FDA because of many dangerous side effects including possible long-term cancer risk.
  • There are many groups of people who should not take this product.


Cascara Sagrada is an effective natural laxative that is sold as an herbal supplement at many online and offline retailers. Users considering this drug should know that the FDA has banned this ingredient in over-the-counter laxatives because of its many harmful side effects including abdominal pain, diarrhea and long-term cancer risk. Furthermore, there are many people who should not take this drug. As with any herbal medicine, you should consult your doctor before taking Cascara Sagrada.

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