It has been reported that Cascara sagrada was first introduced in this company by Ely Lilly (the pharmaceutical company); however, since then, literally hundreds of colon products have been made by dozens of companies making use of it.
Cascara sagrada is harvested from the bark of a tree, but it must be prepared carefully. It must either be cured for about a year, or a process used to speed up the curing. Unfortunately, however, many companies do not do it properly. It is not uncommon to go into a chain department store or vitamin shop and find a cascara sagrada supplement that does not work.
However, when properly manufactured, it is very rare that someone who takes it does not know that he has done so. Cascara contains substances known as cascarosides. These phytochemicals exhibit an effect that induces the large intestine to increase its muscular contraction (peristalsis), causing a bowel movement. Basically, it irritates or stimulates a "lazy" colon into moving.
Supposedly it is possible for people to become dependent on a laxative of this nature, so it is advisable to avoid habitual use--particularly as a single herb. The best long-term approach is to develop healthy habits that stimulate the colon on its own. This means exercise, lots of pure water, good fiber supplement (such as psyllium hulls), and digestive enzymes.
Quite often, Cascara Sagrada is used with other Nature's Sunshine products in colon cleanses. Generally, it is used with Psyllium Hull Combination, Liquid Chlorophyll, Hydrated Bentonite, and possibly Aloe Vera Juice. It is a good idea to add something like Bowel Detox to the program to be a good detoxifier while doing physical cleansing.
IMPORTANT NOTE: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. All statements are based on historical or anecdotal use of herbs and natural remedies. If a serious health condition exists, one should see a qualified medical doctor rather than rely on information given on this website.