Buckthorn is a bitter herb that is used for expelling impurities. It has been used in Europe for hundreds of years as a potent laxative for purging the body. The Cherokee Indians used this herb as a cathartic. It was also used for skin problems. Nicholas Culpeper, a seventeenth-century herbalist, recommended using bruised buckthorn leaves to stop bleeding when it was applied directly to the wound.
The buckthorn plant is a genus of about one hundred species of shrubs or small trees that range from one to ten meters tall. These plants are native throughout the temperate and subtropical Northern Hemisphere. They are also found more locally in the subtropical Southern Hemisphere in parts of Africa and South America. Some species of this plant are invasive outside of their natural ranges. This species has both deciduous and evergreen plants with simple leaves that are three to fifteen centimeters long. The plant bears fruits which are dark blue berries. The name for this plant comes from the woody spine on the end of each twig in many of the species.
The berries of the buckthorn plant are the part used medicinally. They are collected when ripe. From them, a nauseous, bitter juice is obtained. From this juice, with the addition of sugar and aromatics, buckthorn syrup is prepared. When they are freshly gathered in autumn, the berries are about one third of an inch in diameter. A series of rich but fugitive colors is obtained from the dried berries. The berries were originally sold under the name “French berries.” If they were gathered before they were ripe, the berries would create a yellow dye that was formerly used for staining maps or paper.
This herb is a well-known and extremely powerful laxative. It is also helpful for cleansing the liver and gallbladder. Buckhorn works by stimulating the flow of bile from both the liver and gallbladder. If one takes buckthorn hot, it will produce perspiration and also lower a fever. When made into an ointment, this herb will help relieve itching. Some evidence of antitumor effects of buckthorn has been found. However, there is no recent research to prove the information. Many believe that future studies will prove that it is beneficial.
This herb should not be abuse. Be sure to follow directions in order to avoid gastrointestinal cramping. It is important to consult a health care professional before taking this, or any herb, in order to obtain optimum effects.
The bark, berries, and root of the buckthorn plant can be used to provide alterative, anthelmintic, antineoplastic, antirheumatic, bitter, blood purifier, diuretic, emetic, febrifuge, and mild purgative properties. The primary nutrient found in this herb is vitamin C. Primarily, buckthorn is extremely helpful in treating bleeding, chronic constipation, fevers, gallstone, gastric disorders, liver disorders, and lead poisoning.
Additionally, this herb is very beneficial in dealing with appendicitis, edema, gout, hemorrhoids, itching, parasites, rheumatism, skin diseases, and external warts. In order to obtain additional information on the many beneficial effects provided by buckthorn, please feel free to consult a representative from your local health food store.
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