Cascara sagrada, Frangula purshiana, syn. Rhamnus purshiana.
Cascara sagrada, Frangula purshiana, syn. Rhamnus purshiana. The use of cascara sagrada (sacred bark) as a gentle and effective laxative (when properly cured and aged) is well known. Cascara sagrada is one of the few western North American plants to ever provide an official drug to the United States Pharmacopoeia, becoming official in 1890 less than 12 years after its introduction to Western medicine. Native groups had used it for centuries. The Thompson and other Northwest Indian groups universally employed cascara sagrada bark as a laxative. In addition, the Skagit burned the bark, mixing it with charcoal and grease, to use as an ointment on swellings. A decoction made from a handful of the inner bark, cooked in a quart of water, was used for dysentery. Generally, the bark is aged for a year before use.
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