Buckthorn, Buckthorn Berry, Espino Cerval Europeo, Hartshorn, Highwaythorn, Kreuzdornbeeren, Nerprun, Nerprun Cathartique, Nerprun Commun, Nerprun Purgatif, Ramsthorn, Rhamni Cathartica Fructus, Rhamnus cathartica, Waythorn.
Likely Effective for...
- Relieving constipation. European buckthorn works about as well as cascara for constipation.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).
European buckthorn is POSSIBLY SAFE for adults when standardized preparations are used short-term, up to 8-10 days. Standardized preparations of European buckthorn have a measured and consistent amount of active ingredients. But it is POSSIBLY UNSAFE to use these preparations for more than 10 days. Avoid using non-standardized preparations.
European buckthorn can cause some side effects such as stomach cramps, watery diarrhea, discolored urine, muscle weakness, heart problems, and blood in the urine.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: European buckthorn is UNSAFE if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Avoid use.
Stomach pain or intestinal problems such as obstruction, appendicitis, Crohn's disease, irritable bowel syndrome, or ulcerative colitis: Don't use European buckthorn if you have any of these conditions.
Digoxin (Lanoxin)Interaction Rating: Major Do not take this combination.
European buckthorn is high in fiber. Fiber can decrease the absorption and decrease the effectiveness of digoxin (Lanoxin). As a general rule, any medications taken by mouth should be taken one hour before or four hours after European buckthorn to prevent this interaction.
Medications taken by mouth (Oral drugs)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
European buckthorn is a laxative. Laxatives can decrease how much medicine your body absorbs. Decreasing how much medicine your body absorbs can decrease the effectiveness of your medication.
Warfarin (Coumadin)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
European buckthorn can work as a laxative. In some people European buckthorn can cause diarrhea. Diarrhea can increase the effects of warfarin and increase the risk of bleeding. If you take warfarin do not to take excessive amounts of European buckthorn.
Water pills (Diuretic drugs)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
European buckthorn is a laxative. Some laxatives can decrease potassium in the body. "Water pills" can also decrease potassium in the body. Taking European buckthorn along with "water pills" might decrease potassium in the body too much.
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
- As a laxative for constipation: one cup of the tea is commonly taken in the evening and, if needed, in the morning and afternoon. The tea is prepared by steeping 2-4 grams of the European buckthorn fruit in 150 mL boiling water for 10-15 minutes and then straining. Use the smallest amount needed to create a soft stool, and stop using European buckthorn if diarrhea or watery stools occur. Don't use European buckthorn for more than 8 to 10 days. Resort to using European buckthorn only after changing your diet or taking a bulk-forming laxative fails to relieve constipation.
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Nusko G, Schneider B, Schneider I, et al. Anthranoid laxative use is not a risk factor for colorectal neoplasia: results of a prospective case control study. Gut 2000;46:651-5. View abstract.
Young DS. Effects of Drugs on Clinical Laboratory Tests 4th ed. Washington: AACC Press, 1995.