Cascara – ESCOP Herbal Monograph 2015

cascaraRhamni purshianae cortex
Rhamnus purshianus DC.Frangula purshiana (D.C.) A. Gray ex J.C. Cooper.

Published 2015

Price: €20
Format: PDF; Instant Download







The herbal monograph selects and summarises scientific studies and textbooks regarding efficacy, dosage and safety to support the therapeutic uses of cascara.

This herbal drug by definition consists of cascara, the dried, whole or fragmented bark of Rhamnus purshianus DC., Frangula purshiana Cooper.

Studies with its main characteristic constituents hydroxyl-anthracene glycosides are included.

The therapeutic indication of cascara is occasional constipation.

Administration of cascara addresses dosage, duration of use; contra-indications; special warnings; special precautions for use; interactions with other medicinal products; other forms of interaction; use during pregnancy and lactation; its effects on ability to drive; undesirable effects; overdose.

In vitro experiments and in vivo experiments demonstrated the different mechanisms of action.

Pharmacokinetics of hydroxyl-anthracenes in animals gives information on absorption, metabolism and elimination.

Preclinical safety data for cascara and hydroxyl-anthracene glycosides were assessed in toxicity studies.

Safety data were assessed in human studies.

The selection of literature cited in the monograph is aimed at bringing together relevant information about the possible physiological roles of cascara and its major constituents. Examples are given below.


  • Rhamnus purshianus DC.; Frangula purshiana (D.C.) A. Gray ex J.C. Cooper.
  • Rhamni purshianae cortex
  • Cascara
  • Constipation occasional


– Akao T, Che Q-M, Kobashi K, Hattori M, Nama T. A purgative action of barbaloin is induced by Eubacterium sp. strain BAR, a human intestinal anaerobe, capable of transforming barbaloin to aloe-emodin anthrone. Biol Pharm Bull 1996;19(1):136-8.
– Capasso F, Mascolo N, Autore G, Duraccio MR. Effect of indomethacin on aloin and 1,8-dioxianthraquinone-induced production of prostaglandins in rat isolated colon. Prostaglandins 1993;26:557-62.
– Che Q-M, Akao T, Hattori M, Kobashi K, Namba T. Isolation of a human intestinal bacterium capable of transforming barbaloin to aloe-emodin anthrone. Planta Med 1991;57:15-9.
– Manitto P, Monti D, Speranza G, Mulinacci N, Vincieri F, Griffini A, Pifferi G. Studies on Cascara, Part 2. Structure of cascarosides E and F. J Nat Prod 1995;58:419-23.
– Tack J, Müller-Lissner, Stanghellini V, Boeckxstaens G, Kamm MA, Simren M,Galmiche JP, Fried M. Diagnosis and treatment of chronic constipation – a European perspective. Neurogastoenterol Motil 2011;23:697-710.
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