Buckthorn – Rhamnaceae.
Popular names: Drozdovy berries, witch’s thorn, laxative buckthorn.
Parts Used: Ripe fruits.
Pharmacy name: fruits of laxative joster – Rhamni cathartic! fructus (formerly: Fructus Rhamni cathartici).
Botanical description. It is a shrub about 3m tall, with protruding branches. The bark is silver-gray when young, turning brown-black later. Joster is easy to recognize by the straight thorn into which the tops of the branches turn. Opposite leaves with petioles, ovate, glossy, with deep veins, crenate-serrate along the edge. In the axils of the leaves are four-membered inconspicuous greenish-yellow flowers collected in umbrellas. They develop rounded fruits the size of a pea – first green, then they turn black. Blooms from May to June. Joster is not a very common plant, it grows both in sunny dry places and on wet soils in swampy forests. It occurs along ditches and near fences, in thickets of shrubs, in cemeteries, along forest edges and in swamps.
Collection and preparation. Ripe fruits are harvested from August to October. It is important to take only ripe (black) fruits, as unripe ones contain substances that, when consumed, cause pain in the stomach. The fruits are dried in the sun or under artificial heating, juice is squeezed out of the fresh ones.
Active ingredients: laxative derivatives of anthraquinone, as in buckthorn bark, cassia leaves and medicinal rhubarb, also tannins, flavonoids and pectins.
Healing action and application. The plant has a mild laxative effect. Tea is prepared from dried fruits, or they are ground into powder and made into mousse, or several berries (10-20) are chewed in their pure form. Young children are often given as a laxative syrup of joster, in which the starting material is mixed with sugar.
- Joster syrup: 70 g of fruit juice are mixed with 130 g of sugar and heated to a boil. As soon as the sugar dissolves, you can pour into small bottles. For constipation, young children are given 1-3 teaspoons of syrup every day.
- Joster tea: 2 teaspoons topped with dried fruits are poured into 1/4 liter of hot water and filtered after 10 minutes. Drink 1 cup in the evening.
Use in homeopathy. The homeopathic remedy Rhamnus cathartica is given in diseases of the liver, as well as a laxative and diuretic. True, it should be noted that it is used very infrequently (the same can be said about Frangula, a homeopathic remedy from buckthorn bark).
Application in folk medicine.Gout, dropsy, stones, rheumatism, paralysis, jaundice, indigestion, constipation, loss of appetite and chronic skin rashes – all this in folk medicine serves as an indication for the use of joster. Tea is prepared (as described above) from fruits, tart or sweet juice is made in various ways, tincture with wine or alcohol, fruits are eaten fresh or dried, adding their powder to jam, taken with milk or honey. The fruits of joster are especially readily given to children for loss of appetite or skin rashes. Traditional medicine recommends the juice from the fruit of the joster and against acne. Although the effect of joster fruit, compared with other medicinal plants containing anthraglycosides, such as cassia, buckthorn, rhubarb or aloe, is recognized as very mild, Nevertheless, the German National Health Service recommends them with great caution and gives numerous contraindications, undesirable combinations and side effects. Here are the most important of these recommendations:
Areas of use. Constipation, all diseases in which a gentle release of the intestines is desirable, such as fissures in the anal (anal) region, hemorrhoids and, as a result, rectal-anal surgical interventions.
Contraindications. Joster fruit preparations should not be used in the presence of intestinal volvulus, as well as during pregnancy and lactation.
Action in combination with other drugs. Due to the increased loss of potassium, the effect of cardiac glycosides may be enhanced.
Duration of application. Joster fruit tea should be taken for only a few days. For longer use, consult your doctor.
Side effects with moderate use are unknown, with prolonged use or overdose, excessive loss of water and salts is possible. There may be pigment deposits in the intestinal mucosa. Unripe fruits should not be eaten.