European buckthorn, or rhamnus cathartica, is a deciduous shrub indigenous to Western Asia, the Caucasus, and Europe. It is known for having a thick, thorny structure that allows it to thrive in hedgerow formations across its natural habitat. European buckthorn has a history of usage in traditional medicine, notably as a laxative, despite being considered an invasive species in North America. The nature of European buckthorn, its chemical components, potential health benefits, ideal dose, side effects, possible drug interactions, and safe usage are all covered in this essay.
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European Buckthorn: Benefits, Dosage, Side Effects, Drug Interactions, and Other Important Information is an original (NootropicsPlanet) article.
The Nature of European Buckthorn
The European buckthorn is a sturdy shrub or small tree that reaches up to 6-7 meters tall. It is indigenous to western Asia, some areas of Europe, and Northern Africa. It has spread throughout the ages, even to North America, where it is currently regarded as an invasive species.
A deciduous plant, the European buckthorn loses its leaves once a year. Its dark black bark, thick branching structure, and thorns are usually 1-2 cm long, giving it a striking look. The leaves are lustrous, dark green, and hardly serrated.
The plant produces tiny, greenish-yellow flowers in late spring to early summer when it blooms. The fruits have three to four seeds and are crimson before becoming a deep black hue as they mature. These seeds enable the European buckthorn to spread widely, frequently of competing natural vegetation, with the plant’s tenacious growth habit.
Although the fruit of the European buckthorn is not edible to humans, birds eat it and spread the seeds across large distances, which allows the plant to become invasive. Due to its adaptability, the plant can flourish in numerous environments, including marshes, prairies, and forests. It is particularly aggressive in disturbed ecosystems.
Health Benefits of European Buckthorn
European buckthorn’s therapeutic use as a laxative is due to its anthraquinone concentration. Its other chemicals, however, provide additional health advantages that are remarkable.
- Laxative Effects: European buckthorn is an effective laxative due to the anthraquinones that induce bowel motions. It has historically been used to temporarily treat constipation.
- Anti-Inflammatory and Antioxidant Effects: The buckthorn’s emodin has both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities. As a result, it can aid in reducing the symptoms of inflammatory disorders, although further study is required to support these claims.
Chemical Composition of European Buckthorn
Emodin and frangulin are two anthraquinones that make up the majority of European buckthorn’s active ingredients. These substances provide the plant with potentially medicinal effects, and concentration in the bark and fruit. Flavonoids, phenolic substances, and tannins are its other components.
Physiological Properties of European Buckthorn
Anthraquinones like emodin and frangulin contain purgative effects. They exert their effects by promoting peristalsis, which reduces the absorption of water and electrolytes in the colon while quickening bowel movements. By preventing the generation of pro-inflammatory cytokines and scavenging free radicals, emodin has additional anti-inflammatory and antioxidant abilities.
Optimal Dosage of European Buckthorn
The amount of European buckthorn you take relies significantly on the purpose for which it will be used and how it will be eaten. When used as a laxative, a normal dose of dried buckthorn bark varies from 20 to 30 mg. To guarantee safety and efficacy, it is necessary to speak with your doctor before beginning any herbal regimen, including one containing European buckthorn.
Side Effects of European Buckthorn
There are some medicinal advantages of European buckthorn, but there are also a number of potential side effects. The most notable impact of its strong laxative properties is that, with continued usage, it can cause electrolyte imbalance, diarrhea, and stomach cramps. Consuming too much can also make you sick, make you throw up, and darken your urine.
Potential Substance Interactions with European Buckthorn
The laxative properties of European buckthorn prevent other oral drugs from being absorbed. For instance, it can make anticoagulants and oral contraceptives less effective. Before beginning a European buckthorn regimen, if you are taking these drugs, you should speak with your healthcare professional.
Responsible Use of European Buckthorn
Recognizing the powerful laxative effects and potential side effects of European buckthorn is a necessary part of using it responsibly. It should not be taken as a long-term cure for constipation, but rather as a temporary fix. Additionally, if you use other medication, you should see a doctor before using European buckthorn because there can be some drug interactions.
Reverting from chemical remedies to natural herbal remedies has been becoming more popular. Natural supplements also have fewer side effects and no other added chemicals. European bucktorn is a perfect example of a natural supplement that you can benefit from, especially if you are looking to try a natural supplement for laxative issues. European buckthorn is not a cure-all, but it temporarily relieves constipation and can help your body to relax and naturally relieve you of any pains or constipation issues. Not only does European buckthorn have laxative benefits, but it also carries antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Be sure to speak to your doctor about taking a European buckthorn supplement before starting it.
- “Rhamnus cathartica (buckthorn)”. Retrieved from: https://www.cabi.org/isc/datasheet/46452
- “Efficacy of Rhamnus cathartica for gastrointestinal issues”. Retrieved from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378874104002338
- Edge Growth Form of European Buckthorn Increases Isoprene Emissions From Urban Forests.link:https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/ffgc.2020.601678/full
Important Note: The information contained in this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be construed as health or medical advice, nor is it intended to diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure any disease or health condition. Before embarking on any diet, fitness regimen, or program of nutritional supplementation, it is advisable to consult your healthcare professional in order to determine its safety and probable efficacy in terms of your individual state of health.
Regarding Nutritional Supplements Or Other Non-Prescription Health Products: If any nutritional supplements or other non-prescription health products are mentioned in the foregoing article, any claims or statements made about them have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and such nutritional supplements or other health products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.