Cascara Sagrada Cancer

Cascara sagrada is a natural laxative that comes from the reddish-brown bark of the Rhamnus purshiana tree native to the Pacific Northwest. Cascara sagrada was used by various Native American Indian tribes, who also passed their sacred bark on to Spanish explorers.

Historical Medicinal Usage
Cascara sagrada was formerly introduced into western culture when Eli Lilly & Company introduced Elixir Purgans, a popular product containing cascara as well as several other laxative herbs.

The most notable constituents in cascara sagrada are hydroxyanthraquinone glycosides called cascarosides. Cascarosides exhibit a cathartic effect that induces the large intestine to increase its muscular contraction (peristalsis), causing a bowel movement. Other important constituents include resins, tannins, and lipids which make up the majoriy of the other bark ingredients.

Today, many common laxatives use cascara sagrada as an ingredient. To use cascara sagrada as a laxative, the bark must be carefully prepared by curing for at least one year or heated and dried to speed up the aging process. Aging is essential because fresh cascara sagrada is irritating to the gastrointestinal system, causing vomiting and upset stomach.

Cascara sagrada is recognized as safe and effective by most medical and health professionals.

Cascara Sagrada Health Benefits

The value of cascara sagrada as a laxative is clear for easing constipation, when it’s taken properly and at a safe dosage. In fact, cascara is such a mild laxative that it can safely be used by the elderly and for the mild constipation that can occur following anal or rectal surgery as it prevents the pressure and pain associated with hemorrhoids and anal fissures. However, additional medical indications have not been substantiated and little is known about additional benefits of this herb.

A bowel movement usually will take place within six to eight hours of taking a typically recommended dose of cascara sagrada.

Practitioners of alternative medicine may recommend cascara sagrada to “detoxify” the colon. According to Dr. Michael Picco, a digestive disease specialist at Mayo Clinic, proponents of colon cleansing believe that strong laxatives can purify the body and prevent several chronic illnesses. While there is no scientific evidence to support or refute these claims, the practice of colon cleansing remains very common in alternative medicine circles. Consult your health care provider before using any colon cleansing program.

In the present case report, cascara sagrada (CS) has been associated with the development of cholestatic hepatitis, complicated by portal hypertension. CS is a mixture of ingredients, among which is anthracene glycoside–an herbal agent that previously has been associated with chronic hepatitis. The liver injury in the case herein reported is believed to be related to either anthracene glycoside or one of the other constituents of CS.

The glycosides found in cascara sagrada are stimulant cathartics that exert their action by increasing the smooth-muscle tone in the wall of the large intestine and have only minor effects on the small intestine. The drug is transformed by intestinal bacteria into substances that in¬crease peristalsis in the large intestine and help restore intestinal tone.

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.

Cascara Sagrada Cancer Cure

Cascara sagrada has also been touted as an alternative treatment for cancer, although no studies have proved it effective in this regard. Its usefulness in treating cancer may stem from the presence of emodin and aloe-emodin, according to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. In some studies, aloe-emodin has been able to suppress growth of some cancer cells, but further study is still necessary.

Antitumor Apart from its effects upon digestion, anthraquinones such as rhein and emodin have undergone a significant degree of investigation for their antitumor properties. Both rhein and emodin have demonstrated cytotoxic properties, and in neoplastic animal and human cell lines have been shown to inhibit protein synthesis, destroy the integrity of the plasma membrane and enhance lipid peroxidation (Boik 1995, 117-18). In addition, both compounds have demonstrated antitumor properties in vivo, increasing survival times and inhibiting tumor progression in animal models (Boik 1995, 117-18).

Cascara Sagrada Tips for Use

Cascara Sagrada can be very bitter and many people do not like the taste. You can mask the taste by adding honey or sugar to the hot tea. If you add a sweetener and still can’t take the bitter taste, try adding another herb such as Anise to give it a more palatable flavor.

Cascara Sagrada Dosage

Since everyone responds differently to laxatives, it is always recommended to start with the lowest dose. Be sure to drink plenty of water when using any laxative. For constipation and related discomforts such as hemorrhoids: 1 teaspoon of liquid extract three times a day or 1 or 2 teaspoons at bedtime; or 1 or 2 capsules of dried bark at bedtime.

Cascara Sagrada Precautions

Cascara sagrada is contraindicated in pregnant or breast-feeding patients because it crosses the placental barrier, is excreted in breast milk, and increases the risk of diarrhea in a breast-fed infant. Although cascara sagrada may be used cautiously during pregnancy, other laxatives (such as bulk-forming and surfactant laxat ives) may be preferred.

Cascara Sagrada Products

You could also make or purchase a tincture of the herb and mix it with another drink. If using a tincture instead of a tea, use 15-30 drops in place of one cup of tea.
Cascara Sagrada can be made into tea and bought as supplements, extracts, and capsules. You can search products in Google

Cascara Sagrada Research Links

The bark contains compounds called anthraquinones (cascarosides A and B) which are transformed by intestinal bacteria into substances that increase peristalsis (intestinal motility) in the large intestine and help restore its tone.

Aging or heating the bark appears to decrease its spasmogenic properties, most herbalists will tend to combine Cascara with antispasmodic herbs such as Zingiber to prevent any adverse effects.

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