Cascara facts

Cascara is a tree of 20 to 30 foot along with thin serrated leaves and brown to silver grey bark. The bark is used in medicine and was used for long times in by the Western people as cathartic. Young bark has numerous, broad and pale warts and the inner surface is yellowish to light brownish which becomes dark brown when matured. The small flowers are greenish to yellow which grows in leaf axils in form of loose clusters. The fruit is bright red, small and becomes bluish to black when ripened. In fall, the leaves becomes from light orange to yellow.

Name Cascara
Scientific Name Rhamnus purshiana
Native Native to Western North America (Southern British Columbia, South to Central California and East to Northwestern Montana).
Common/English Name Cascara buckthorn, Cascara Sagrada, Cascara, Bearberry, Sacred Bark, Persian bark, Purshiana bark, Chittum bark rhamnus purshiana, Chitticum, California buckthorn
Name in Other Languages Dutch: Cascara;
German: Amerikanisches Freuzdorn;
Spanish: Cascara;
Portuguese: Cascara;
French: Cascara;
Italian: Cascara sagrada
Plant Growth Habit Large shrub, evergreen tree
Growing Climate Warmer
Soil Well-drained
Plant Size Height: 4.5-10 m tall
Trunk Diameter: 20-30 cm
Bark Brown to silver grey, smooth, yellowish
Leaf Simple, alternate, deciduous, oval; Length: 5-15 cm; Broad: 2-5 cm; shiny, green on top and paler green below
Flowering Season Early to mid-spring
Flower Tiny; Diameter: 4-5 mm, greenish yellow, cup shape; Length: 3-4 mm
Fruit shape & size Drupe; Diameter: 6-10 mm; Across: 5-8 mm
Fruit color Dark blue to purple
Flesh color Yellow
Taste Bitter
Seed Two or three, hard, smooth, olive to green or black
Health Benefits
  • Cure constipation
  • Laxative properties
  • Cures gallstone
  • Liver health
  • Treats insomnia
  • Cancer
  • Lose weight
  • Slows down ageing
  • Skin ailments
  • Healthy hair
Traditional uses
  • It should not be used by the pregnant or lactating women.
  • The people with irritable bowel syndrome, Chron’s disease, hemorrhoids, colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, kidney problems or appendicitis should avoid its use.
  • Keep it away from children.
  • The fresh Cascara results vomiting, intestinal spasms, nausea and diarrhea.
  • The excessive dose of Cascara results diarrhea.
  • The long use leads to brownish yellow urine.
  • It should not be used by the children below six years.
How to Eat
  • Fruit is eaten either cooked or raw.
  • The bark enhance the flavor of baked goods, soft drinks and ice cream.
  • It is also brewed as coffee.