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The Common or Purging Buckthorn, a much-branched shrub, usually about 6 feet high, but sometimes as much as 10 or 12 feet, is indigenous to North Africa, the greater part of Europe and North Asia. The dried whole or ground bark of the trunks and branches of both species are used. The bark of the Common Buckthorn (alder bark) comes from the wild or from cultivations in riparian forests in Eastern Europe, mainly in Poland.
After the harvest in early summer, the fresh Bark must be stored for one year or dried in a hot air stream at 80-100°C. Buckthorn Bark has been used medicinally since at least the 1600s when it was listed in a primary medical reference called the London Pharmacopeia. Although most herbs have a wide variety of traditional uses, Buckthorn throughout its history has been consistently used for one ailment, constipation.
In addition to its medicinal uses, the bark and leaves provide a bright yellow-red dye that has been used for centuries to colour textiles. The genus name Frangula comes from the Latin “frangere” (to break) and refers to the brittle nature of the wood of the shrub or tree. The epithet Alnus (alder) clearly draws a similarity of the leaves with those of the alder. The tannins in Buckthorn the Bark are believed to have herbal astringent properties and have been used to treat hemorrhoids.
The taste and energetics of Buckthorn Bark are bitter, acrid, astringent and cooling. Buckthorn has an affinity towards the intestine, colon and digestive system.
How to use:
20 to 30mg per day is sufficient for the laxative effect. Make a tea infusion by adding 1 teaspoon of the Buckthorn Bark and let it steep for 10-15 minutes. The tea should be taken in the evening before bedtime.
Cautions & contraindications:
If used for a long period of time, like any laxative, Buckthorn Bark can reduce your body’s absorption of other medications. Overuse can lead to a potassium deficiency that can affect heartbeat regulation drugs, particularly if you are also taking diuretics of Corticosteroids. Buckthorn Bark can cause intestinal cramping, particularly in large doses.
Don’t take Buckthorn bark if you have an intestinal obstruction or acute intestinal inflammations, such as Crohn’s disease, appendicitis or colitis.
Check with a health care practitioner before using Buckthorn bark.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or illness. Please consult your healthcare provider before the use of this product if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medications or have a medical condition. Individual results may vary.