Names: cascara buckthorn, sacred bark,
chittem bark, bearwood, bearberry, coffeeberry bark, Mountain cranberry bark, Persian bark; Kushina, Joster (Russian); Amerikanische Faulbaumrinde (German); k!labuq!wacbupt (Makah); tatsa’bats (Skagit); k’ladyats (Squaxin)
Properties: A bitter, astringent, cooling herb that has a tonic effect on the liver and digestive system, and acts as a laxative; nervine; emetic.
History: Rhamnus is Latin for buckthorns and purshiana after Fredrick Pursh, a German botanist. Cascara sagrada, a name given by Spanish-Mexicans, means sacred bark. It was first listed in the US Pharmacopoeia in 1890. It is mild enough for use in treating children and the elderly. Indiscriminate stripping of bark, leading to the destruction of some 100,000 trees a year, was reported as early as 1909. Honey produced from cascara flowers also has a slight laxative effect.