Fresh or dried fruits.
Practitioners of herbal medicine have used buckthorn as a laxative for several centuries. In fact, this herb has fulfilled the requirement of the herbalists when they needed a potent purgative. There is sufficient pharmacological proof to substantiate this remedial attribute and use of buckthorn. Though the bark of the shrub as well as the berry-like fruits of the buckthorn have been used a purgative in the past, they actions are said to be potentially hazardous and aggressive and accompanied by serious side effects. For the vividly yellow Brimstone butterflies, the buckthorn is a food plant. If you notice a large number of sulphur-yellow hued male Brimstone butterflies at a place, you can guess that there is a buckthorn plant in the vicinity. In addition, this plant also forms a substitute host for the Puccinia coronata, which is responsible for the vital rust disease of cereals. This plant species is also the main over-wintering host for soybean aphid, a notable agricultural bug of soybeans, in North America The timber of the buckthorn tree/ shrub is solid and compact, but very rarely used.
The buckthorn is native to Europe and some parts of Asia and Africa. It was introduced into North America from Europe and over the years the species has naturalized in this continent. Currently it is found growing in vast tract of land extending from Quebec in Canada to the Midwestern US state Minnesota and southwards to Missouri and Virginia. The common buckthorn (botanical name, Rhamnus cathartica) has the aptitude to tolerate and grow in shade. This herb is known to be comparatively rapid-growing, but has a very short life span. As mentioned earlier, the trees/ shrubs of this species are solid as well as durable and can adapt to urban and even sub-urban surroundings. Common buckthorn is able to grow virtually in any area where its seeds may be scattered. This species is commonly considered to be an invasive plant and its shade prevents other trees in the vicinity from establishing themselves. Owing to its invasive nature, currently many have been endeavouring to get rid of the plant from their homes, parks and even the forested areas. However, it is virtually very difficult to control this species, since it grows robustly and continually from the root collar even after girdling, cutting and burning. Nevertheless, it has been found that application of concentrated herbicide to a cut stem is effective in controlling the spread of the species.
Common buckthorn encloses vitamin C and anthraquinone derivates including rhamnocarthrin.
The leaves and fruits of the buckthorn may be used to prepare infusion as well as a tincture, which are effective in curing a number of health conditions. Infusion: To prepare the infusion add two teaspoonfuls of the leaves and fruit to a cup of boiling water and allow it to infuse for about 10 to 15 minutes. This infusion ought to be drunk either in the morning or in the evening since it takes almost 12 hours to become effectual. Tincture: The tincture prepared with the buckthorn leaves and fruits should be taken in the dosage of 1 ml to 2 ml at night-time as well as in the morning. Seeds: One may also chew a few (around 10) seeds of the buckthorn before taking any food in the morning. It needs to be noted that taking a very high dosage of buckthorn may result in severe diarrhea and even sometimes vomiting.
The berry-like fruits of buckthorn ought to be harvested/ collected during September and October.