A slender, tree-like shrub. The leaves are entire, not toothed,feather veined, arranged alternately on the stem, not opposite to one another. Flowers are produced from the wood of the preceding year and also on shoots of the current year. The spreading, thornless branches have green bark when young, turning to brownish-gray when older. The blue and gray berry has 2-3 roundish, angular seeds. Bees are very attracted to it. Found throughout eastern and northern U.S. in woods, mostly free from lime. Only the dried seasoned, 1-2 year old, bark should be used. It is more agreeable than the more popular R.purshianus (cascara sagrada). Wood of the shrub is historically used in making charcoal for gun powder makers, thus "black dogwood". Freshly stripped bark acts as an irritant poison on the gastrointestinal canal.
Origin(s): Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Poland.
Latin Name(s): Rhamnus frangula, Rhamnus cathartica, Frangula alnus.
Also known as: Alder Buckthorn, Glossy Buckthorn, European Buckthorn, Black Alder Tree, European Black Alder.
Plant Part(s) Used: Bark.
Appearance: Golden brown.
GMO Status: Non-GMO.
Additives: Free of any additives or preservatives.
Applications / Preparations: Can be put into capsules, tablets, teas, tonics or infused as an herbal extract.
Storage: Store in a sealed container in a cool, dry place.
Shelf Life: It is very difficult to pin down an exact expiration date for most single herbs as they do not really expire, they lose potency or strength over time but will still have value. Unlike synthetic material or drugs, herbs can contain many constituents that contribute to their medicinal effects. Even if when we know what the active constituents are, there are often many of them in a single herb, each with different rates of degradation. Some herbs lose their effect more easily. Other herbs that possess more stable compounds such as alkaloids or steroids will last much longer.
A huge part of the degradation rate of herbs depends also on the storage conditions of the herb, & even on the quality of the herb before storage – how it was grown, harvested, dried & processed. If the product is left in hot places or open to sunlight then it will degrade much quicker than if it was stored in cool, dry place & sealed tightly.
A good rule of thumb is that herbs should be stored no longer than 2-3 years but many herbs will have great strength much longer than that. To determine if a an herb is still good you can check the appearance & aroma. Herbs that are no longer acceptable will have lost much of its vibrant color & will instead appear dull & faded. The bigger key though is to smell the raw materials to see if the potent aroma is still present.
Warning: Do not use this product if you have abdominal pain or diarrhea. Consult a health care provider prior to use if you are pregnant or nursing. Discontinue use in the event of diarrhea or watery stools. Do not exceed recommended dose. Not for long-term use.
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