CASCARA SAGRADA: “World’s Most Powerful Laxative”


Also Known As: Cascara, Chittem Bark and Sacred Bark


In the 16th century, Spanish explorers who first visited Northern California suffered from constipation. Local Native Americans had a solution, which a tea they made from an healing herb that they viewed as sacred. The herb was given to the Spanish. It worked perfectly for them, thus they name it cascara sagrada which means sacred bark. For a long time cascara sagrada remained a west coast folk remedy.

In 1877,  a Detroit physician named Eclectin introduced a commercial preparation of cascara sagrada to the pharmaceutical company, Parke Davidson. This herb  continues to help millions today and has been one of the worlds most popular herbal medicines ever since.


To use as a decotion, laxative or tincture .

  • Decoction:

Boil 1 teaspoon of well dried bark in 3 cups of water for 30 minutes. Drink at room temperature at bed time. Drink no more than 1 to 2 cups. Taste will be quite bitter. A tincture may suit your taste a little better.

  • Tincture:

Take a half teaspoon at bed time. Follow package directions if using a commercial preparation.

USE: (Grow Your Own)

Cascara Sagrada grows up to 20 feet. It has a reddish- brown bark with thin serrated leave. It grows in the northwest and is not a garden grown herb.


Cascara Sagrada should never be used for more than 2 weeks. Over time, it can cause lazy bowel syndrome. If constipation consists, consult a physician.

This herb must be stored for a year before use because fresh herbs contain chemicals that can cause violent catharsis and severe intestinal cramps. Drying this herb gives it a milder action. Fresh bark may be artificially dried by baking at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for several hours.

Should not be used by anyone with ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, hemorrhoids or other GI conditions. Pregnant women should not use.