The active laxative components in cascara are anthraquinone derivatives and their glucosides, referred to as cascarosides.
They appear to act locally as an irritant to the colon promoting peristalsis and stool evacuation and can be quite dose dependant. This means the more you take the more you poo….
The anthraquinones in cascara inhibit reabsorption of electrolytes and water from the colon so they are best not taken over long time periods. Using cascara sagrada for longer than two weeks can lead to lazy bowel syndrome. This condition prevents you from having bowel movements without the help of a laxative.
Long term use of cascara sagrada may lead to low levels of potassium, protein and blood in the urine, muscle weakness, and malnutrition.
It is a short term fix to allow time to explore the underlying need for a laxative in the first place.