Buckthorn bark contains compounds called anthraquinones, which have a strong purgative, laxative effect on the body.
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.
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.
Its diuretic properties help cleanse the blood and in turn, help with rheumatism, liver and gallbladder problems.
Buckthorn Bark, also known as Alder Buckthorn, Alder Dogwood, Black Dogwood, and Glossy Buckthorn, has been used since the days of ancient Greece. At that time it was thought to protect against poisons, headaches, witchcraft and demons.
These shrubs are found in temperate regions in the Northern and Southern hemisphere. The small trees can grow up to a height of 10 meters with leaves that can be up to 15 centimeters long. The leaves are usually shiny and dark green. The berries of this plant are dark blue in color. The characteristic name of this herb comes from a telltale woody spine that is found in the plant. The plant flowers in May and June.
In the mid 1600’s it became recognized in Europe as a treatment for constipation, and at the time was listed in the London Pharmacopoeia a primary source for medical reference. It became recognized officially as a drug in the United States in the early 1800’s when it was listed in the National Formulary, again as a treatment for constipation.
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.
Preparation: Sprinkle one teaspoon of buckthorn in cold water (200ml), heat and cook for a few minutes. Cover the pot and let tea cool down. Drink a cup of tea in the evening before bedtime, and if necessary in the morning before meals.
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.
Buckthorn bark can cause intestinal cramping, particularly if too large a dose is used.
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.
FDA Disclaimer: These statements and products have not been evaluated by the FDA. They are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition. If you have a health concern or condition, consult a physician. Always consult a medical doctor before modifying your diet, using any new product, drug, supplement, or doing any new exercises.
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