Buckthorn Bark Health Benefits
Buckthorn bark health benefits are largely related to helping with constipation and hemorrhoids, but the bark may also have anticancer properties. Buckthorn bark is derived from a shrub called the alder buckthorn, which is native to Europe and Asia. Buckthorn bark has been used since the seventeenth century as a laxative.
Buckthorn bark also was an ingredient in a folk medicine cancer cure. Today, scientists have discovered that derivatives of substances called anthraquinone found in buckthorn may have cancer-fighting properties. However, there are no scientific studies that can verify buckthorn bark health benefits include anticancer properties.
Other active ingredients in the herb, 1,8-dihydroxy-anthracene derivatives, have an effect on the nerves in the intestinal tract. Buckthorn bark is sometimes an ingredient in combination herbal remedies, including those that are marketed for prostate health. However, the value of buckthorn for prostate health in these supplements is uncertain.
A 2011 report from Italy noted the antioxidant and antimicrobial properties of buckthorn bark. The authors of the article have concluded that their findings indicate buckthorn bark has “medicinal potential.” (Locatelli 2011)
If you want to explore buckthorn bark health benefits, consult a healthcare professional before starting treatment. The suggested dose of buckthorn bark as a laxative or for hemorrhoids is 15 to 30 drops of the liquid extract or 1 or 2 capsules at bedtime. Do not use this herb for longer than seven days. Side effects may include intestinal cramping, especially if you take too large a dose. Overuse of this herb may cause a sluggish intestinal tract and constipation, and it can also cause a deficiency of potassium. Avoid buckthorn if you have colitis or Crohn’s disease. (Whole Health Med)
Locatelli M et al. Anthraquinone profile, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties of bark extracts of Rhamnus catharticus and R. orbiculatus. Natural Products Communications 2011 Sep; 6(9): 1275-80