Rhamnus Cathartica, European Buckthorn, Common Buckthorn, Purging Buckthorn, Buckthorn


It is widely distributed in the European part, in the Caucasus, Western Siberia, and Central Asia. It grows in open places, in thickets of shrubs, and in the undergrowth of forests. It is easily propagated by seeds, cuttings, and the division of bushes.


Sometimes it is bred for hedges, but it is not necessary to plant buckthorn near fields, since the rust fungus Puccinia develops on its leaves, which then passes to grain crops.


It is a strong-branched spreading shrub or a small tree of the buckthorn family up to 8 m high with a curved trunk covered with an almost black rough, cracking and peeling bark. The branches are opposite, almost always ending in thorns of stem origin.


Thorns are also located in the forks of branches. The bark of the old branches is the same as on the trunks, on the young branches it is red-brown, and shiny. Annual shoots end in a thorn, covered with yellowish-grey bark.


The leaves are opposite, bright green on the top or grayish, lighter from below, glabrous or thinly pubescent on both sides, and different in shape – from elliptical to rounded with a pointed or blunt tip.


The flowers are small, with white petals, collected in bundles of 10-15 in the axils of the leaves. The fruits are juicy black drupes with a diameter of 6-8 mm—bloom in May – June. The fruits ripen in August – September.


As medicinal raw materials, fruits are used as a laxative. They are harvested without pedicels during their full maturity in September – October, less often at the end of August, when they acquire a black color, they are previously dried on in the air.


Fruits are dried in dryers or ovens at a temperature of 50-60 ° C, scattered in a thin layer on grids or sheets of paper and stored in bags or boxes for 4 years. The plant contains anthraglycosides, flavonoids, sugar, pectin, and gums.


The herbal preparations have a laxative effect with a long latent period. The effect occurs 8-10 hours after taking the medicinal herb. They are taken orally with atonic and spastic constipation, to soften the stool with hemorrhoids, and cracks of the rectum.


Additional Information: For medicinal purposes, fruits, bark, and roots are used. Carbohydrates, malic acid, essential oils, alkaloids, tannins, flavonoids, and aromatic compounds were found in the bark.


The fruit contains rhamnokatartin, rhamnoxanthin, frangula, emodin, josterin, flavonoids, rhamnocitrin, xanthoramnetin, rhamnetin, quercetin, kaempferol, pectins, gums, bitters, and colorants.


In folk or old traditional medecine, a decoction of the plant bark or branches involves 20g of crushed bark per 1 glass of water which is then boiled for 4 minutes and then it is strained.


Take 250 ml as a laxative for chronic or frequent constipation, as well as hemorrhoids, rectal fissures, hepatitis, cholangitis, edema of cardiac and renal origin, Graves ‘ disease, tachycardia, migraine, depression, menopausal disorders, and gout.


Infusion of fruits could be done by taking 1 tbsp of fruits per glass of boiling water and leaving it for several hours so that majority of the phytochemicals are extracted over time.


Take half a glass at night 3-4 hours before bedtime, this is used for gout, flatulence, helminths and fever. Joster bark is included in the Pharmacopoeia. Decoctions, pills, and extracts are used as a laxative.


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