Buckthorn Bark


Buckthorn Bark

Also known as- Rhamnus frangula, Alder Dogwood, Arrow Wood, Black Dogwood, Buckthorn, Buckthorn Bark, Dog Wood, Frangula Alnus, Frangula Bark, Frangulae Cortex, Glossy Buckthorn, Rhamnus Frangula.


The buckthorn is a shrub native to Europe and the Middle East. It has been used as a laxative since the seventeenth century, and it was brought to the United States with early settlers for that purpose. Buckthorn is a popular ingredient in European laxative extracts, tablets, and teas, and, oddly enough, added to sun block. Buckthorn is never used fresh. It must be aged for at least a year to break down its anthrone chemicals. If the buckthorn is not aged, it is not laxative, it is purgative, causing intense intestinal spasms and vomiting. The herb can be artificially aged by heating but some useful constituents may be lost.


1,8-dihydroxy-anthracene derivatives (in the aged bark), flavonoids, and tannins.

Parts Used

Properly aged bark. (1 year recommended)

Typical Preparations

Best taken as a tablet, can be used as a tea but is hard to drink given its bitter taste. May also be prepared as an extract.


The 1,8-dihydroxy-anthracenes in buckthorn act on the nerves in the intestinal tract, numbing the nerves that hold back stool and stimulating the nerves that propel stool downward. If you experience cramping, youÍve used too much.


You should not use buckthorn or any other laxative if you have appendicitis, CrohnÍs disease, or ulcerative colitis. Not recommended for children under 12. Not recommended while pregnant. Avoid long term use, and discontinue in the event of diarrhea or watery stools.



This herb is sold by the ounce

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