2265 North Clybourn Avenue    Chicago, IL 60614    P: 773.296.6700     F: 773.296.1131

Knowledge Base

Welcome to our extensive library of articles on health concerns and ailments, alternative therapies, nutritional supplements, and much more. Please mouse over the letters to get started. We hope you enjoy browsing.

Buckthorn Bark

What is It?

Most medicinal preparations of buckthorn bark are made from the European buckthorn shrub, also known as black dogwood (Rhamnus frangula), which is native to Europe and western parts of Asia. The bark of the trunks and branches is dried and seasoned.

A species of buckthorn grown throughout northern California and British Columbia–California Buckthorn ( Rhamnus pursiana ), also known as cascara sagrada–has chemical and medicinal properties similar to the European buckthorn and is sometimes used in healing as well.

Buckthorn bark has been used medicinally since at least the 1600s, when it was listed in a primary medical reference called the London Pharmacopeia. Although most herbs have had a wide variety of traditional uses, later refined to a single or a few proven benefits, buckthorn bark throughout its history has been consistently used to relieve one ailment: constipation and its by-products (hemorrhoids and anal irritation).

In addition to its medicinal uses, the bark and leaves provide a bright yellow-red dye that has been used for centuries to color textiles.

Health Benefits

Buckthorn bark contains compounds called anthraquinones, which have a strong purgative, laxative effect on the body. Because these compounds are powerful, before being processed into laxative products the bark is aged for a year, or heated and dried.

Specifically, buckthorn bark may help to:

Ease constipation. The compounds in buckthorn bark increase the colon’s ability to spontaneously contract. They also reduce water absorption by the intestines, which means more liquid is left in the colon. This produces larger volume and softer stools, which in turn eases constipation.

Treat hemorrhoids and anal fissures. Because buckthorn bark is an effective stool softener, it can make bowel movements more comfortable for people with hemorrhoids or anal fissures, or who are recovering from recto-anal surgery. Sometimes, buckthorn bark is also used to cleanse the colon in preparation for gastrointestinal diagnostic procedures.

Dosage Information

Special tips:

–It is important NOT to use fresh-cut buckthorn bark, which is far too powerful. Only the dried and aged preparations are recommended. These are typically made into a fluid Extract.

–The optimal dose is the smallest one that generates a softer stool.

For constipation: Take 15 to 30 drops liquid extract at bedtime OR 1 or 2 capsules at bedtime.

For hemorrhoids and anal fissures: Take 15 to 30 drops liquid extract at bedtime OR 1 or 2 capsules at bedtime.

General Interactions

If used for too long a period, like any laxative, buckthorn bark can reduce your body’s absorption of other medications. Overuse can cause a potassium deficiency that can affect heartbeat-regulating drugs, particularly if you are also taking diuretics or Corticosteroids.

Possible Side Effects

Buckthorn bark can cause intestinal cramping, particularly if too large a dose is used.

Cautions

Do not use buckthorn bark over an extended period (1 to 2 weeks) without medical advice. Overuse or abuse of stimulating laxatives can cause intestinal sluggishness and worsen your condition.

Don’t take buckthorn bark if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

Don’t take buckthorn bark if you have an intestinal obstruction or an acute intestinal Inflammation, such as Crohn’s disease or colitis.

For product recommendations and orders from the Natural Apothecary click here or call 773-296-6700, ext. 2001.

Leave a Comment


  1. Evie Martin says:

    Does buckthorn bark benefit the skin? I am currently using collagen and am impressed with its results. I have just heard about buckthorn bark and wonder if I should substitute it as I am just about out of collagen. Thank you.

  2. Dr. R says:

    Evie. Sea buckthorn is the fruit of the plant and has research related for skin care. The bark is used primarily for constipation.

Join our Newsletter

Get health recommendations, delicious and time-saving recipes, medical news, supplement reviews, birthday discounts, and more!

BIRTHDAY

Health Tips

Dr. Edelberg’s Health Tips contain concise bits of advice, medical news, nutritional supplement and pharmaceutical updates, and stress relief ideas. With every Health Tip, you’ll also receive an easy, delicious, and healthful recipe.

When you sign up to receive Health Tips, you can look forward to Dr. Edelberg’s smart and very current observations arriving in your in-box weekly. They’re packed with helpful information and are often slightly irreverent. One of the most common responses to the tips is “I wish my doctor talked to me like this!”

Quick Connect

Get One Click Access to our

patient-portal

The Knowledge Base

Patient education is an integral part of our practice. Here you will find a comprehensive collection of staff articles, descriptions of therapies and nutritional supplements, information addressing your health concerns, and the latest research on nutritional supplements and alternative therapies.

Join our Newsletter

Get health recommendations, delicious and time-saving recipes, medical news, supplement reviews, birthday discounts, and more!

BIRTHDAY

Upcoming Workshops

Finding Unity – Movement & Meditation

Sunday, February 5th
12:00pm to 2:00pm; $40 Registration Fee

Our world is in a constant state of flux and uncertainty. This can cause occasional turmoil in our lives when the fluctuation feels overwhelming. At these moments it is important to pause and reconnect to our true nature, which is to feel safe, content, and whole.  More>>

 

Facial Guasha Class

The Ultimate DIY Anti-Aging Facial!

Join us and learn a traditional Chinese facial rejuvenation technique that you can do yourself!

Facial guasha is an easy to learn technique that:
* encourages blood flow and promotes radiance
* prevents wrinkles
* activates cells to regain facial elasticity
* drains fluids to detoxify skin and reduce puffiness
* sloughs off dead skin cells
* uplifts and tones skin
* firms up facial muscles
* minimizes dark circles
* promotes a healthy, younger and more radiant look

Your skin will thank you and will look more radiant, smooth and younger!

When: Monday, March 20th, 7-8:30
Where: WholeHealth Chicago, 2265 N. Clybourn Avenue
Cost: $50 includes guasha tool and anti-aging facial oil

Space is limited, pre-registration required by calling 773-296-6700.

Mari Stecker has practiced acupuncture at WholeHealth Chicago for over 20 years. She offers acupuncture facial rejuvenation as well as treatments for many dermatological conditions including acne, psoriasis and eczema. She also treats a full range of conditions including pain, fertility and allergies.
More>>

Recent Health Tips

  • Navigating Your Health Care Without Going Broke

    Navigating Your Health Care Without Going Broke

    Last week I talked about the problem many of you are facing with skyrocketing insurance premiums and deductibles so astronomical you wonder if you have any health insurance at all. We got into this fine pickle because: US healthcare prices are the highest in the …Read More »
  • Treacherous Times In Healthcare

    Treacherous Times In Healthcare

    Two related ideas come together in this Health Tip and I want to convey why this is all happening. First, a large part of our day at WholeHealth Chicago is spent dealing with insurance companies denying you benefits. Second, many patients have been telling me …Read More »

January Sale: 20% off the UltraLux IV HD-LED Light Therapy Module.

SAD doesn’t stand a chance!

More>>