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Buckthorn Bark (Rhamnus frangula) is native throughout the temperate and
subtropical Northern Hemisphere, and also more locally in the
subtropical Southern Hemisphere in parts of Africa and South America.
Both deciduous and evergreen species occur. The leaves are simple, 3-15
cm long, and arranged either alternately or in opposite pairs. One
semi-unique characteristic of many buckthorns is the way the veination
curves upward towards the tip of the leaf. The plant bears fruits which
are dark blue berries. The name comes from the fact that there is a
woody spine on the end of each twig in many species. Buckthorns are used
as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species.
The dried, aged bark of this tree has been used continuously for at
least 1,000 years by both native and immigrant Americans as a laxative
natural medicine, commercially called "Cascara Sagrada", but old timers
call it "chitticum bark".
Cascara Sagrada means "sacred bark" in Spanish. Chittam comes from the Chinook Jargon phrase chittam stick = "laxative tree."
The bark is harvested mostly from wild trees; over-harvesting in the
middle 1900s eliminated mature trees near many settled areas. Once
stripped from the tree, the bark is aged for about 1 year to make its
WARNING: Fresh cut, dried bark causes vomiting and violent diarrhea.
Many colorants may be pH sensitive and can change or morph at high or low pH levels.
No final color is implied or guaranteed in any final formulation or soap. The customer is responsible for all testing in formulations.
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