Buckthorn is an herb that grows in North and South America. It has been used as a strong laxative. Buckthorn can be taken as a pill, powder, or extract. Buckthorn is a different plant than sea buckthorn.


There are no advised doses for buckthorn.

What Research Shows

There is not enough data to support that buckthorn is helpful in treating health problems. We will review future studies as they are published.

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Safety Notes

It may be safe for most adults to take buckthorn in small doses for a short time, but nausea and vomiting are possible. Buckthorn should not be used for a long time. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding and children should not use buckthorn.


Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse, such as:

  • Buckthorn is a laxative. It may make the medicines you take less effective.


1. Rhamnus cathartica L. National Resources Conservation Service—United States Department of Agriculture website. Available at: https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=RHCA3. Accessed February 27, 2020.

Last reviewed July 2019 by EBSCO CAM Review Board
Last Updated: 2/25/2020

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