Cascara Sagrada


Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate. The effectiveness ratings for CASCARA SAGRADA are as follows:

Possibly effective for…

  • Constipation. It has laxative effects and may help relieve constipation in some people.

Possibly ineffective for…

  • Bowel preparation before colonoscopy. Most research shows that taking cascara sagradaalong with magnesium sulfate or milk of magnesia does not improve bowel cleansing in people who are undergoing a colonoscopy.

Insufficient evidence to rate effectiveness for…

  • Gallstones.
  • Liver disease.
  • Cancer.
  • Other conditions.

More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of cascara for these uses.

Side Effects Of Cascara Sagrada

Cascara sagrada is POSSIBLY SAFE for most adults when taken by mouth for less than one week. Side effects include stomach discomfort and cramps.

It is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when used long-term. Don’t use cascara sagrada for longer than one or two weeks. Long-term use can cause more serious side effects including dehydration; low levels of potassium, sodium, chloride, and other “electrolytes” in the blood; heart problems; muscle weakness; and others.

Warnings & Precautions

  • Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use during pregnancy. Stay on the safe side and avoid use if you are pregnant. Cascara sagrada is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth while breastfeeding. It can cross into breast milk and might cause diarrhea in a nursing infant.
  • Children: Cascara sagrada is POSSIBLY UNSAFE in children when taken by mouth. Don’t give it to children. They are more likely than adults to become dehydrated and also harmed by the loss of electrolytes, especially potassium.
  • Gastrointestinal (GI) disorders such as intestinal obstruction, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, appendicitis, stomach ulcers, or unexplained stomach pain: People with any of these conditions should not use cascara sagrada.

Dosage Of Cascara Sagrada

The appropriate dose depends on several factors such as the user’s age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for cascara sagrada. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.


Consult your doctor or pharmacist.


All information has been provided courtesy of MedLinePlus from the National Library of Medicine and from the FDA.