Alder Dogwood, Arraclán, Arrow Wood, Aulne Noir, Black Dogwood, Bois Noir, Bois à Poudre, Bourdaine, Bourgène, Buckthorn, Buckthorn Bark, Coudrier Noir, Dog Wood, Frángula, Frangula, Frangula Alnus, Frangula Bark, Frangulae Cortex, Frangule, Glossy Buckthorn, Nerprun Bourdaine, Nerprun Noir, Rhamnus Frangula, Rhubarbe des Paysans.


Overview Information

Alder buckthorn is a shrub that grows in parts of Europe and North America. The aged or heated bark of the plant is used to make medicine. Don't confuse alder buckthorn with European buckthorn, sea buckthorn, or cascara.

Alder buckthorn is mainly used for constipation. It is also used as a tonic or as an ingredient in the Hoxsey cancer formula, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

How does it work?

Alder buckthorn bark contains chemicals that work as a laxative by stimulating the intestines.


Uses & Effectiveness?

Possibly Effective for

  • Constipation. Alder buckthorn contains certain chemicals that work as laxatives. Alder buckthorn seems to relieve constipation about as well as cascara.

Insufficient Evidence for

  • Cancer.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of alder buckthorn for these uses.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

When taken by mouth: Alder buckthorn is LIKELY SAFE for most adults when taken by mouth for less than 8-10 days. Some people get uncomfortable cramps from alder buckthorn. If you experience diarrhea or watery stools while using alder buckthorn, stop taking it. The fresh bark can cause severe vomiting. Make sure you are using a bark product that is at least one year old or has been heat processed. Taking alder buckthorn by mouth for more than 8-10 days is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. It might cause low potassium, heart problems, stomach problems, muscle weakness, blood in the urine, and other side effects.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It is LIKELY UNSAFE to take alder buckthorn by mouth during pregnancy or breast-feeding. Avoid using it.

Children: Alder buckthorn is LIKELY UNSAFE when taken by mouth by children younger than 12 years of age.

Diarrhea: Don't use alder buckthorn if you have diarrhea. Its laxative effects may worsen this condition.

Intestinal disorders, including intestinal blockage, appendicitis, Crohn disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or ulcerative colitis: Don't take alder buckthorn if you have a bowel obstruction; appendicitis; unexplained stomach pain; or inflammatory conditions of the intestines including Crohn disease, colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).



Major Interaction

Do not take this combination

  • Medications for inflammation (Corticosteroids) interacts with ALDER BUCKTHORN

    Some medications for inflammation can decrease potassium in the body. Alder buckthorn is a type of laxative that might also decrease potassium in the body. Taking alder buckthorn along with some medications for inflammation might decrease potassium in the body too much.
    Some medications for inflammation include dexamethasone (Decadron), hydrocortisone (Cortef), methylprednisolone (Medrol), prednisone (Deltasone), and others.

Moderate Interaction

Be cautious with this combination

  • Digoxin (Lanoxin) interacts with ALDER BUCKTHORN

    Alder buckthorn is a type of laxative called a stimulant laxative. Stimulant laxatives can decrease potassium levels in the body. Low potassium levels can increase the risk of side effects of digoxin (Lanoxin).

  • Medications taken by mouth (Oral drugs) interacts with ALDER BUCKTHORN

    Alder 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.

  • Stimulant laxatives interacts with ALDER BUCKTHORN

    Alder buckthorn is a type of laxative called a stimulant laxative. Stimulant laxatives speed up the bowels. Taking alder buckthorn along with other stimulant laxatives could speed up the bowels too much and cause dehydration and low minerals in the body.
    Some stimulant laxatives include bisacodyl (Correctol, Dulcolax), cascara, castor oil (Purge), senna (Senokot) and others.

  • Warfarin (Coumadin) interacts with ALDER BUCKTHORN

    Alder buckthorn can work as a laxative. In some people alder 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 alder buckthorn.

  • Water pills (Diuretic drugs) interacts with ALDER BUCKTHORN

    Alder buckthorn is a laxative. Some laxatives can decrease potassium in the body. "Water pills" can also decrease potassium in the body. Taking alder 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.



The following doses have been studied in scientific research:


  • For constipation: the typical dose of alder buckthorn is 0.5-2.5 grams of the dried bark. Take only the amount of bark needed to produce a soft stool. Alder buckthorn is also taken as a tea. The tea is prepared by steeping alder buckthorn in 150 mL of boiling water for 5-10 minutes and then straining. Alder buckthorn is also available as a liquid extract. The common dose of the liquid extract: (1:1 in 25% alcohol) is 2-5 mL three times daily. This preparation should be used only if diet change and bulk-forming laxatives don't work. Don't use the extract for more than seven to ten days.

View References


  • Matev, M., Chakurski, I., Stefanov, G., Koichev, A., and Angelov, I. [Use of an herbal combination with laxative action on duodenal peptic ulcer and gastroduodenitis patients with a concomitant obstipation syndrome]. Vutr.Boles. 1981;20(6):48-51. View abstract.
  • Siegers, C. P., Hertzberg-Lottin, E., Otte, M., and Schneider, B. Anthranoid laxative abuse--a risk for colorectal cancer? Gut 1993;34(8):1099-1101. View abstract.
  • van Gorkom, B. A., de Vries, E. G., Karrenbeld, A., and Kleibeuker, J. H. Review article: anthranoid laxatives and their potential carcinogenic effects. Aliment.Pharmacol Ther 1999;13(4):443-452. View abstract.
  • Willems, M., van Buuren, H. R., and de, Krijger R. Anthranoid self-medication causing rapid development of melanosis coli. Neth.J Med 2003;61(1):22-24. View abstract.
  • Chakurski I, Matev M, Koichev A, et al. [Treatment of chronic colitis with an herbal combination of Taraxacum officinale, Hipericum perforatum, Melissa officinaliss, Calendula officinalis and Foeniculum vulgare]. Vutr Boles. 1981;20:51-4. View abstract.
  • De Kort H, Mergeay J, Jacquemyn H, Honnay O. Transatlantic invasion routes and adaptive potential in North American populations of the invasive glossy buckthorn, Frangula alnus. Ann Bot. 2016;118(6):1089-1099. View abstract.
  • 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.

Vitamins Survey

Have you ever purchased ALDER BUCKTHORN?

Did you or will you purchase this product in-store or online?

Where did you or where do you plan to purchase this product?

Where did you or where do you plan to purchase this product?

What factors influenced or will influence your purchase? (check all that apply)

Vitamins Survey

Where did you or where do you plan to purchase this product?

Do you buy vitamins online or instore?

What factors are most important to you? (check all that apply)

This survey is being conducted by the WebMD marketing sciences department.Read More

More Resources for ALDER BUCKTHORN

CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version.
© Therapeutic Research Faculty .