Cascara sagrada

Botanical Name: Rhamnus purshiana | Family: Rhamnaceae

Common name(s): Cascara Sagrada, Sacred Bark, California Buckthorn


  • Evergreen Tree | Zones 4a-9b | 32 feet tall  | Flowers May – June, black fruit in October, 3-lobed seeds. Young bark is purple brown changing to brown with age.
  • Sun to semi-shade (woodlands) | All types of soil, likes it moist


Harvest bark in the springtime from the branches and trunk of at least a one year old, but still young, tree. Leave it to age for a few years before using.


Decoction: Put 1 – 2 tsp dried bark in 1 cup of water. Bring to boil and let infuse for 10 minutes. Drink at bedtime.

Tincture: 1-2 ml at bedtime.


Constituents: Anthroquinone glycosides, bitter principle, essential oil, resin, tannins

Actions: Bitter tonic, laxative

Uses: chronic constipation, dyspepsia, indigestion, hemorrhoids, liver congestion


  • Cold, bitter


I have never even heard of this tree. Don’t know if there are any growing around us, but it does grow in our zone 5!