Health Guide

Buckthorn berry

What is it?

Buckthorn Berry is an herbal medicine used for constipation (difficulty having a bowel movement). It has also been used to increase urine flow and to purify the blood.

Other names for Buckthorn Berry include: Rhamnus Catharticus, Baccae Spinae Cervinae, Rhamnus, Kreuzdornbeeren, Purgierbeeren, Wegdornbeeren, and Fruits de Neprun Purgatif.

Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist if you need more information about this medicine or if any information in this leaflet concerns you.

Before Using:

Tell your doctor if you

  • are taking medicine or are allergic to any medicine (prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) or dietary supplement)
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medicine
  • are breastfeeding
  • have irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers, ulcerative colitis, or Crohn's disease
  • have any other health problems, such as high blood pressure or heart or blood vessel disease


Talk with your caregiver about how much Buckthorn Berry you should take. The amount depends on the strength of the medicine and the reason you are taking Buckthorn Berry. If you are using this medicine without instructions from your caregiver, follow the directions on the medicine bottle. Do not take more medicine or take it more often than the directions tell you to.

To store this medicine:

Keep all medicine locked up and away from children. Store medicine away from heat and direct light. Do not store your medicine in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink, or in other damp places. Heat or moisture may cause the medicine to break down and not work the way it should work. Throw away medicine that is out of date or that you do not need. Never share your medicine with others.

Drug and Food Interactions:

Do not take Buckthorn Berry without talking to your doctor first if you are taking:

  • Digoxin (Lanoxin(R))


  • Before taking Buckthorn Berry, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Taking Buckthorn Berry may cause heart arrhythmias (skipped beats) due to losing potassium from the body (1)
  • Buckthorn Berry is a stimulating laxative and should not be used too long or taken too much (1)
  • If you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome, ulcers, ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease, use Buckthorn Berry with caution (2)
  • Drink a lot of water while taking this medicine as Buckthorn Berry can cause loss of water (2)

Side Effects:

Stop taking your medicine right away and talk to your doctor if you have any of the following side effects. Your medicine may be causing these symptoms which may mean you are allergic to it.

  • Breathing problems or tightness in your throat or chest
  • Chest pain
  • Skin hives, rash, or itchy or swollen skin

Other Side Effects:

You may have the following side effects, but this medicine may also cause other side effects. Tell your doctor if you have side effects that you think are caused by this medicine.

  • Upset stomach, stomach pain, throwing up, and diarrhea (2)
  • Restless and trembling (2)


1. Blumenthal, Busse, Goldberg, et al: The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. The American Botanical Council, Austin, TX; 1998.

2. Fetrow C & Avila J: Professional's Handbook of Complementary and Alternative Medicines. Springhouse Corporation, Springhouse, PA; 1999: 106-108.

Last Updated: 7/4/2018
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