Buckthorn is more often known as common buckthorn and purging buckthorn. It is a deciduous shrub in the flowering plant family Rhamnaceae.


Buckthorn is native to Europe, northwest Africa, and western Asia, from the central British Isles south to Morocco and east to Kyrgyzstan. In the early 19th century, North Americans used this plant as an ornamental shrub. It grows in fen peat, scrub, hedges, ash, and oak woods on calcareous, often dry soil.


Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica) is a deciduous, dioecious shrub or small tree that grows up to 10 meters tall, with grey-brown bark and often spiny branches. The leaves are elliptic to oval. The leaves are green, turning yellow in autumn, and arranged somewhat variably opposite to subopposite pairs or alternately.

Part used

The bark and fruit of buckthorn are used for medical purposes.

Traditional Uses and Benefits

The buckthorn berries have cathartic, depurative, diuretic, laxative, and violently purgative properties.

In the thirteenth century, Welsh physicians prescribed the juice of the fruit of buckthorn boiled with honey as an aperient drink.

The buckthorn first appeared in the London Pharmacopoeia of 1650.  It was aromatized using aniseed, cinnamon, mastic, and nutmeg.

Both the fruit and the bark of common buckthorn contain chemicals that stimulate the gut to relieve constipation. These chemicals are so violent in their action, rarely used in human medicines.

About 8 – 15 of the mature fruits, chewed before breakfast, are a strong and effective laxative for adults. Due to its strong action, they should not be used by children.

Dosage and Precautions

The tea is prepared by steeping 3-4 grams of the buckthorn fruit in 150 mL boiling water for 10-15 minutes and then straining. Traditionally, a cup of tea has been taken three times a day.

The smallest amount needed to create a soft stool should be used.

Warning: Large doses of the fruit can cause vomiting and violent diarrhea. Don’t use buckthorn for more than 8 to 10 days.

Stop using buckthorn if diarrhea or watery stools occur. Use buckthorn only after changing your diet or taking a bulk-forming laxative fails to relieve constipation.


The content and information on newerapost are for information and educational purposes only.  A guide to self-diagnosis and self-treatment is not intended and should not be used as a medical manual. Before beginning the use of any prescription medication and pursuing any self-treatment, all readers are urged to consult a physician.

The information given in this article is intended to help you make informed decisions for your health. You must consult with your doctor before pursuing any natural remedies if you are under care for any health condition.

Do not take any vitamins, minerals, herbs, or other supplements without consulting your doctor if you are taking any medication. The website does not make a representation, express or implied, regarding the accuracy of the information and does not accept any single responsibility for any errors or misuse.