Cascara Sagrada was first used by Native Americans as a laxative and was known to them as "sacred bark". The Native Americans passed on their knowledge of their "sacred bark" to Spanish explorers.
From then on it became Cascara Sagrada, which is Spanish for "sacred bark". Cascara Sagrada was formally introduced into to western medicine in 1877 as an herbal laxative. It then became more widely used pharmaceutically to help ease cases of chronic constipation in 1978.
Today "Cascara Sagrada is recognized as safe and effective by the Food and Drug Administration" (Supplements: Cascara Sagrada, p2).
Cascara Sagrada is dried bark which comes from a small tree in the buckthorn family; it can be found in the Pacific Northwest . The bark is harvested in the spring and summer and is aged over a period of no less than one year. The aging allows active principles in the bark to become milder as the fresh bark is much too strong of a laxative.
Constipation and Cascara
Cascara Sagrada's primary function is to promote more frequent and more normal bowel movements. "Cascara is considered by some experts to be the safest and most effective laxative available" (Nature's Gentle Answer To Constipation, p 7).
It works by stimulating and speeding up the large intestine's wavelike contractions. When this happens this allows for bowels to pass through more frequently which results in a softer and quicker bowel movement.
The stimulating of the wavelike contractions also tones the lower bowel which helps to prevent against future constipation. "Cascara Sagrada actually tones and strengthens the bowels while it helps to restore normal function" (Nature's Gentle Answer to Constipation, p 10).
Unlike most laxatives Cascara Sagrada is not habit forming and it is not necessary to increase dosages constipation with each use. "It is safe enough to use for chronic or habitual , while other widely publicized over-the-counter preparations can cause significant dependency" (Nature's Gentle Answer to Constipation, p 10, 11).
Internal Cleansing and Cascara
There are a numerous benefits to cleansing the colon, and Cascara Sagrada plays a key role in the cleansing process. It is widely believed, in the medical field that the build up of toxic materials in the colon can contribute to illness. "Many current physicians agree that bacterial poisons absorbed from the intestinal tract can contribute to almost every chronic disease known" (Nature's Gentle Answer to Constipation, p13).
Cascara Sagrada increases the wavelike contractions of the bowel which cleanses and tones the colon. The cleansing rids the colon of toxic waste and the toning helps to prevent against future build-up. Your colon is dependent upon this type of cleansing maintenance in order to for you to have proper elimination.
Cascara Sagrada is an excellent cleanser and toner of the bowel whether taken alone or in conjunction with other herbs.
Hemorrhoids, Anal Fissures and Cascara
Straining that is associated with constipation can often lead to hemorrhoids and anal fissures. Cascara Sagrada helps to alleviate the constipation by the creation of softer stools. Softer more frequent stools will help to heal and prevent the hemorrhoids and fissures.
Gallbladder, Pancreas and Liver Function and Cascara
Cascara Sagrada can help to heal your whole body, and this is evident in the positive effects it has on other organ function. This herb can stimulate the secretions from your liver and pancreas and stimulate your gallbladder. Increased secretions of the liver and pancreas will enhance your overall digestive process and enable your gallbladder ducts to rid gallstones more easily.
Summary of Benefits
- Effective treatment for chronic constipation and symptoms relating to constipation.
- Not habit forming and helps cleanse and restore natural tone of your colon.
- Helps to relieve problems with hemorrhoids and anal fissures through forming softer bowel movements.
- It helps to increase secretions from your liver and pancreas, which stimulates your gallbladder and increases overall health of your digestive system.
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