Cascara sagrada is Spanish for ‘Sacred bark.’ It is a stimulant laxative which has been in use for centuries for its laxative properties. Cascara sagrada is generally safe and well tolerated. Cascara sagrada used to be an ingredient for OTC (over the counter) medicines, but since 2002 it has been banned in the U.S. for its health concerns. Therefore there is a stigma surrounding the use of cascara sagrada powder. However, it is available in form of health supplements and part of nutraceutical products. It is used in cases of extreme constipation and for a temporary course. Apart from its laxative properties, cascara sagrada is said to have multiple health benefits including aiding weight loss, maintaining healthy skin and hair etc.
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Unhealthy eating habits of the majority of the population in developed countries have led to an increase in demand for constipation relieving supplements such as cascara sagrada powder. Cascara sagrada powder is available in form of non-prescription drug or health supplement in all markets. The benefit of the cascara sagrada powder being available without a prescription makes it available in untapped markets for potential customers. The non-requirement for a prescription for cascara sagrada powder also means that it is more accessible to the general public than other medication that requires a prescription. This decrease in cost for the prescription makes the consumer more inclined towards products such as the cascara sagrada powder.
Much of the stigma surrounding the use of cascara sagrada powder is due to lack of awareness regarding the use of it. But the internet and an incline towards herbal alternatives are changing that. The internet makes it easier for the average consumer to determine the proper use of the cascara sagrada powder, decreasing the stigma surrounding it. With the ease of access and cost-effectiveness of the cascara sagrada powder makes it a better alternative for OTC products that are available in the market.
Some of the key players in the cascara sagrada market are: NOW foods, Nutricargo LLC, Nature’s way, Swanson health products, Nature’s Sunshine Products, Inc., Oregon’s Wild Harvest, Natural factors, Xi`an Sobeo Biotech Co., Ltd, SHAANXI SANGHERB BIO-TECH INC, Organic Herb Inc. etc.