Information on Buckthorn

Latin NameRhamnus catharticus
Other NamesPurging buckthorn
Part UsedBark
Herb FormsTinctures, capsules, bulk herb, powder.
AffectsDigestive system, Liver
CautionsAvoid during pregnancy and nursing. Contraindicated in abdominal pain, intestinal obstruction and inflammation, and for children under the age of twelve.
Botanical InfoA thorny deciduous shrub or small tree with finely toothed leaves and black berries. The bark is yellow on the inner surface and tastes extremely bitter and sweet.
DescriptionBuckthorn is a popular European herb used widely as a mild laxative. It also contains alterative properties, has been recommended for rheumatism (to clear heat), and was one of the ingredients of the famous Hoxsey cure for cancer.
Other preparations: As a light decoction, 2-4 grams/dose, in the evening.

Buckthorn has a taste of BITTER, SWEET and a temperature of COLD.


Decoction1/2 to 1 cup daily
Tincture1-3 droppersful daily

Ailments Treated by Buckthorn

AilmentTreatment SupportApplication
Constipationlaxativetincture, capsule, tea


Blumenthal, Mark et al. 1998. The Complete Commission E Monographs. Austin: American Botanical Council.
McGuffin, M. et al. 1997. Botanical Safety Handbook. Boca Raton: CRC Press.
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Weiss, R. 1988. Herbal Medicine. Beaconsfield, England: Beaconsfield Publishers.
Wren, R.C. 1988. Potter's New Cyclopaedia of Botanical Drugs. Essex: C.W. Daniel Co. Ltd.