The buckthorn is a shrub 4 m. Tall, rarely higher. At first, his bark is almost black and very smooth, but as time goes fraying. The branches are gray and usually prickly. The leaves are ovate-elliptical shape, 3 cm. Long, with denticulate edges and sustained for a long corner. The flowers are small and are held in axillary racemes. The fruits are the size of a pea, with a sweet taste that quickly becomes bitter and unpleasant.
It lives mainly in open woodlands and stretches from the lowlands to the subalpine regions. As it supports pruning is usually used to form hedges.
It blooms from May to June, fruits ripen in late summer. These are precisely the ones who care about its medicinal virtues. It is important to catch them as mature as possible, in order to keep the active ingredients in the highest possible concentration.
This shrub is multiplied from seed or root sprouts. For seed ripe fruits are crushed and left to macerate for one day, in order to remove residual pulp, hindering germination. They are planted in autumn and the seed germinates in spring, after passing the ice.
Buckthorn activity is attributed to certain anthraquinone compounds in nature, present mainly on fruits. Indeed its composition is quite complex and not worth going into detail. So let's focus on its properties, which can be summarized into three: moderate-dose laxative, anthelmintic or vermifuge and diuretic. The dose in this plant plays a crucial role, because although small doses acts as mild laxative, increasing doses can cause a laxative effect very unpleasant to low amounts, depending on individual susceptibility, may appear pains colicky. This type of discomfort is well known by those who abuse laxatives in the mistaken belief that this is achieved with a decrease in weight, all I get is a violent cause diarrhea that, in the best cases, accompanied by intense pain in the lower abdomen, but most of the time also represent large losses of water and mineral salts, with the consequent risk of suffering dehydration, in addition to the possible occurrence of vomiting and gastrointestinal bleeding.
Whenever you use a laxative, we must remember that this is a temporary measure. Prolonged use of these compounds without your doctor's knowledge can lead to intractable side effects.
Fresh fruit. Provided under medical supervision, may take 1 to 5 g. Day.
Decoction. The fruits are boiled in water for 5 minutes, taking one to three cups a day.
Can be used in cooking, jam, juice, syrup, etc., but always relying on the advice of medical practitioner or pharmacist.
HABITAT: In the oak forests of the Pyrenees
FLOWERING: May and June
PART USED: Fruits
CATALAN: Espina cervina
BASQUE: Esilarr, elorriarr
Important: The use of information on medicinal plants, without the minimum knowledge in dosage and descriptions can cause problems or side effects. You should always talk to a doctor, pharmacist or qualified personnel before taking herbs or medicinal plants. Take the texts and information such as single orientation for subsequent verification contrast and medical professionals. World Topic assumes no liability in connection with the material on the web.