Cascara sagrada is an herbal medication used for centuries as a laxative.
The active laxative components in cascara are anthraquinone derivatives and their glucosides, referred to as cascarosides. They appear to act locally as an irritant to the colon promoting peristalsis and stool evacuation. Anthraquinones also inhibit reabsorption of electrolytes and water from the colon.
Using cascara sagrada for longer than two weeks can lead to lazy bowel syndrome. This condition prevents you from having bowel movements without the help of a laxative. Long term use of cascara sagrada may lead to low levels of potassium, protein and blood in the urine, muscle weakness, and malnutrition.
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