Any change in lifestyle is likely to cause constipation. Whether you start living in a different place, change your eating habit, diet, stop having enough water, or suffer from a medical condition, constipation can show up any time to indicate there’s something that needs to be done. While some people believe in fixing their lifestyle and adopting healthy habits that naturally correct the problem, some may also need extra help to set their stool consistency back to normal. If you’re experiencing constipation after surgery or an unhealthy lifestyle, you can give Cascara a try.

Cascara Sagrada, which translates to sacred bark, is a small tree or, more precisely, a shrub that is found in the North American regions, like Idaho, Montana, Washington, Oregon, California, and Southeast British Columbia as well. It is also popularly known by the names, like bitter bark, cascara buckthorn, cascararinde, chittem bark, etc. Cascara is quite famous for its medical application. The dried bark of the cascara tree is used to make solid as well as liquid forms of the medicine.


The Cascara Sagrada plant contains a peculiar chemical called anthraquinones, which has laxative properties. In fact, because of this property, Cascara had been used by native Americans in 1877 as an herbal laxative. While the medicinal property of Cascara had already been scientifically identified and acknowledged in 1805, it took some time for people to use the herbal remedy for constipation, frequently.

Cascara helps in easing motions of the stools, by increasing peristalsis. Peristalsis is a mechanism that causes contractions of the muscles in the intestines. As a result of the increased muscle contractions, the stools quickly pass through the intestine and regulating bowel movement.


Since over-the-counter medicines are no longer sold, Cascara supplements have gained much popularity. While Cascara has a reputation for easing constipation after surgery or for other reasons, the drug companies that made cascara medicines didn’t want to see it as a profitable idea to invest so much to study the herbal compound formally and to provide scientific proofs to the FDA. This is why the making of Cascara containing medicines came to a halt.

If you want to use Cascara, you can always look for supplements that many reputed brands, like VitaMedica that sell. Besides constipation, Cascara may also help treat gallstones and liver diseases. However, we need more evidence to prove a point or use cascara supplements correctly for these issues. Thus, for now, it’s only recommended to use cascara supplements for constipation.


Cascara provides fast relief, which is why taking a supplement for about seven days should be enough to fix constipation. Since cascara causes increased muscle contractions, using it for longer than a week or two may have serious repercussions, like muscle weakness, stomach cramps, dehydration, heart problems, etc. So, this becomes very important to keep in mind while using cascara supplements.

While cascara supplements do work well, it is also essential to adopt healthy habits so that once you stop taking the supplement, you don’t go back to being constipated. There are also certain precautions that must be taken if you consider using a cascara supplement. Cascara is completely safe. However, it has a particular way of functioning, that is increasing peristalsis. For certain health conditions, having increased peristalsis may not be good news. So, it’s always better to talk to a doctor, explain your health status, and ask if it’d be appropriate to use cascara supplements. Cascara supplements are also not recommended for children or pregnant women.


Constipation may seem like a simple problem. Many people don’t pay much attention to it or make an effort to fix the problem. This is how it leads to more significant problems. More than anything, constipation makes life uncomfortable.

While cascara supplements can be quite useful for the short term, it is always important to follow healthy habits to ensure you don’t experience constipation frequently. Upon being constipated for a long time, you may develop fissure, which can also get worse.

Constipation after surgery is also a widespread occurrence. So, post-surgery, consult your doctor and start having plenty of water. Eating a diet rich in fiber also helps in regulating normal motions. If you have developed fissures from constipation, you should avoid eating fried foods, oily food, junk, and foods rich in fats, for a while.