Cascara sagrada is a stimulant laxative. It works by causing muscle contractions in the intestines. These muscle contractions help move stool through the bowels. The bark contains chemicals called anthraquinones that give it its color and its laxative effect. These chemicals react with bacteria in the intestines to stimulate the bowels.
You should consider several safety concerns before you decide if you should use cascara sagrada. It can cause abdominal cramping, loss of electrolytes, and dependency. Using cascara sagrada for longer than two weeks can cause you to be unable to have a bowel movement without the help of a laxative.
Pregnant women and children 12 and under should avoid laxatives due to the potential side effects unless it’s prescribed by a doctor.
You should never use cascara sagrada for:
- inflammatory bowel diseases, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease
- intestinal blockages
- stomach pain with an unknown cause
- kidney disease
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For more information on cascara sagrada visit https://www.healthline.com/health/cascara-sagrada-constipation