This section is from the book "Materia Medica Pharmacy, Pharmacology And Therapeutics", by W. Hale White. Also available from Amazon: Materia Medica Pharmacy, Pharmacology And Therapeutics..
Cascara Sagrada. - Synonyms. - Sacred Bark. Chittem Bark. The bark of Rhamnus Purshiana De Candolle (nat. ord. Rhamneae).
Northern Idaho, and westward to the Pacific Coast.
In quills or curved pieces, about 3 to 10 cm. long, and about 2 mm. thick; outer surface brownish gray and whitish; the young bark having numerous, rather broad, pale-colored warts; inner surface yellowish to light brownish, becoming dark brown by age; smooth or finely striate; fracture short, yellowish, in the inner layer of thick bark somewhat fibrous; inodorous; taste bitter.
The chief constituents are - (1) Cascarin, a glucoside said to be identical with Frangulin (see above). (2) Three resins. (3) Acids. (4) A volatile oil. The fresh bark causes much griping, but this unpleasant effect is lost if the bark is kept and properly cured.
Dose, 1/4 to 1 dr.; 1. to 4. gm.
Dose, 1/4 to 1 fl. dr.; 1. to 4. c.c.
Cascara Sagrada is a simple laxative and aperient, not causing much griping, and resembling in its action buckthorn, but it is more certain and more active. The bitter principle gives it stomachic properties. It is very serviceable for constipation, especially if chronic. A single dose may either be taken in the evening, or 10 to 15 minims; .60 to 1.00 c.c., of the fluid extract may be given three times a day before meals. One advantage of its use is that gradually increasing doses are not required. The fluid extract is very bitter; this taste may be concealed by aromatics, liquorice or sal volatile, and it may be given in chloroform water. The aromatic syrup B. P. conceals the taste very well. This consists of the fluid extract, 8; tincture of orange, 2; alcohol, 1; cinnamon water, 3; syrup, 6. A preparation known as Tinctura Laxativa, dose 20 to 60 m. 1.20 to 4.00 c.c. (Extractum Rhamni Purshianae Fluidum, Spiritus Am-moniae Aromaticus, Spiritus Chloroformi, Tinctura Belladonnae Foliorum, Tinctura Nucis Vomicae, equal parts of each), is miscible with water, and is a pleasant simple purge which is especially useful for chronic constipation and may cure it.