European Buckthorn

woman with abdominal pain

What other names is European Buckthorn known by?

Buckthorn, Buckthorn Berry, Espino Cerval Europeo, Hartshorn, Highwaythorn, Kreuzdornbeeren, Nerprun, Nerprun Cathartique, Nerprun Commun, Nerprun Purgatif, Ramsthorn, Rhamni Cathartica Fructus, Rhamnus cathartica, Waythorn.

What is European Buckthorn?

European buckthorn is an herb. The berries are used to make medicine.

People take European buckthorn for constipation.

Likely Effective for...

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

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).

Quick GuideDigestive Disorders: Common Misconceptions

Digestive Disorders: Common Misconceptions

How does European Buckthorn work?

European buckthorn contains chemicals that stimulate the gut to relieve constipation.

Are there safety concerns?

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.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Children: European buckthorn is UNSAFE children younger than 12 years old. Do not give it to them.

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.

Are there any interactions with medications?



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.

Some "water pills" that can decrease potassium include chlorothiazide (Diuril), chlorthalidone (Thalitone), furosemide (Lasix), hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ, HydroDiuril, Microzide), and others.

Dosing considerations for European Buckthorn.

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:

BY MOUTH:
  • 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.
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Reviewed on 3/29/2011 12:35:40 PM

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