Phytochemical and Compositions of Cascara sagrada.


Phytochemical and Compositions of Cascara sagrada.

Cascara Sagrada Bark Rhamnus Purshiana  Up to 10% hydroxyanthracene glycosides consisting of cascarosides A and B , C and D, aloins A and B (chrysaloin), 0-glucosides of the anthraquinones aloe-emodin, frangula-emodin and chrysophanol and traces of the corresponding aglycones; bitter principles, lipids, volatile oil (rhamnol).

 Prof. Prescott (Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1879, p. 165) described the microscopical structure and the chemical composition of the bark, which he finds to contain:

 (1) A brown resin, bitter to the taste, soluble in alcohol, chloroform, benzol, and carbon disulphide; insoluble in ether; slightly soluble in water. Solution of caustic alkalies dissolve it with purple-red color, from which solution acids precipitate it. Charcoal removes it from its alcoholic solution. It occurs chiefly in the middle and inner layers of the bark.

 (2) A red resin, nearly tasteless, insoluble in water; slightly soluble in ether, chloroform, and carbon disulphide; soluble in alcohol, and in caustic alkali with a brown color. Animal charcoal does not remove it from its solution in alcohol. It occurs in the corky layer of the bark.

 (3) A light-yellow resin, neutral, tasteless, insoluble in water; soluble in hot alcohol, chloroform, and carbon disulphide; not colored by potassium hydroxide solution.

 In addition, Prof. Prescott obtained a tannic acid, oxalic acid, malic acid, a yellow fixed oil, volatile oil, wax, starch, and a neutral crystallizable body. The latter substance, from solution in absolute alcohol, crystallized in the form of white, double pyramids, which were almost insoluble in ether, chloroform, and petroleum ether; soluble in benzol. They melt and sublime, unchanged, at a temperature little above the heat of a water-bath, condensing into crystalline form. The substance does not give alkaloidal reactions. Prof. Prescott believes that some of these substances are closely related to constituents of Rhamnus frangula (more). P. Schwabe (Archiv der Pharm., 1888, p. 591) found the bark to contain emodin (C15H10O5) (see Rhubarb), but was unable to confirm the statement of Prof. W. T. Wenzell (1886), that a crystallizable glucosid (not identical with frangulin) is present in the bark (see Frangula). A. R. L. Dohme and H. Engelhardt (Proc. Amer. Pharm. Assoc., 1897, p. 198) succeeded, however, in isolating from cascara sagrada a glucosid, which they named purshianin. Leprince, in 1892, obtained an orange-red substance, which he named cascarin (C12H10O5), and which F. L. Phipson (Comptes Rendus, 1892) believes identical with rhamnoxanthin of Buchner (see Frangula). Messrs. H. F. Meier and J. LeRoy Webber (Pharmacology of the Newer Materia Medica, Detroit, 1892) found the bark to contain a ferment, occurring especially in recent bark, and being destroyed by heat. To this principle, it is claimed, the unpleasant griping and vomiting effects of recent bark are due. The authors also state that a glucosid is present, which is not bitter, but yields a bitter principle upon hydrolysis with acids or the gastric juice. Dr. H. G. Eccles (Druggists' Circular, 1888, p. 54) reported the presence of an alkaloid in cascara bark.


 Cascara Sagrada Bark Rhamnus PurshianaThe bark contains 6-9% anthraquinone glycosides, including A, B, C, D, E and F-cascarosides. The glycosides form chrysophanol and emodin complexes. The activity of Cascara is primarily due to the anthraquinones A,B,C and D-cascarosides (C-10 isomers of 8-0-B-D glucopyranosides of deoxybarbaloin and chrysophanol).Cascara also contains smaller amounts of the bitter, less desirable anthracene compounds and aloins that account for the cathartic character of aloes and senna. The cascarosides are found in a concentration of 6 to 9% O-glycosides and C-glycosides. The European Pharmacopeia requires official Cascara to contain at least "... 8% hydro-anthracene derivatives, calculated as cascaroside, of which not less than 60% consists of cascaroside A."It appears that the more irritative anthranols, dianthrones and anthranes are the likely intermediates of the anthraquinone cascarosides. The study of these anthraquinone derivatives is complex as there may be derivatives (about a dozen in Cascara) and their nature may change with age and during extraction.Anthracene derivative plants have been important cathartics for hundreds of years.


  • 1.Cascara is an official herb in many countries for relieving chronic constipation.

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  • Name:Cascara Sagrada Bark Extract
  • Serie No:P077
  • Specifications:10:1.TLC
  • EINECS/ELINCS No.:283-515-5
  • CAS:84650-55-5
  • Chem/IUPAC Name:Rhamnus Purshiana Extract is an extract of the dried bark of the cascara, Rhamnus purshiana, Rhamnaceae
  • Other Names:Rhamnus purshianus,Rhamnus purshiana,Cascara,sacred bark,Chittembark,Cascara Sagrada Aged Bark,Cascara Buckthorn,Cascara Sagrada,Sacred Bark,California Buckthorn,Purshiana Bark,Sagrada Bark,Shu Li Pi.

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Cascara Sagrada Bark Extract INCI Name Rhamnus Purshiana Extract CAS 84650-55-5 EINECS ELINCS No 283-515-5 Buckthorn Extract

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