• acute constipation
• laxative (stimulating)
• Anthraquinone (e.g. emodin)
• Tincture (1:5 in 45% EtOH): 1-5 ml tid
• Fluid extract (1:1 in 25% EtOH): 0.6-2 ml tid
• Decoction (dried bark at least one year old): 0.5-2.5 g
Note: will stimulate a bowel movement in roughly 8-10 hr. Usually recommended to take before sleep.
Contraindications: Use > 10 consecutive days, bulimia, intestinal obstruction, spastic constipation, acute intestinal inflammation, abdominal pain of unknown origin, children <12 years old, pregnancy, lactation.
Side-effects: Red urine (benign), hypokalemia, colic; common with anthraquinones due to increased parastalsis and smooth muscle spasms. Carminatives decrease side-effects.
Warning: Discontinue use after 7-10 days.
Long-term use: Hypokalemia, dependency, intestinal paralysis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), pancreatitis, renal failure, melanosis coli.
• Hypokalemic agents - caution taken it concomitantly with drugs and herbs that depleted potassium: antiarrhythmic drugs (e.g. quinine), cardiac glycoside (e.g. digitallis), diuretics, corticosteroids and licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra).
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Williamson EM, ed. Major Herbs of Ayurveda. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2002
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