Rhamnus catharticus or Buckthorn is one of the most energetic purgatives we have. The properties of this species lie in the layers of the bark and particularly in the fruits. Buckthorn syrup can be used as a purgative in a dose of 30-60 grams; it is sometimes avoided because of its violent colic effect. Although it has been praised for the potential to help support symptoms of skin problems and dropsical affections, today it is more or less relegated to veterinary medicine, where it is supreme in supporting illness in young dogs.
Buckthorn berries are much more active than a corresponding quantity of syrup; some of these fruits are sufficient to purge in abundance. One doctor claimed that two berries taken every morning on an empty stomach reduced fits of joint pain. Linnaeus prescribed Buckthorn seed roasted and pulverised as a purgative; Tournefort used them dry and powdered including the fruit and bark.
The fruit of Rhamnus frangula (Linn.) or Alder Buckthorn which grows in hedgerows and shrubs, also has purgative properties but less pronounced than those of the fruit of R. catharticus. This fruit, first red, turns black with age. The wood of Alder Buckthorn is very light; and its bark is purgative.
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Hot tea brewing method: Bring freshly drawn cold water to a rolling boil. Place 1 tea bag for each cup into the teapot. Pour the boiling water into the teapot. Cover and let steep for 3-7 minutes according to taste (the longer the steeping time the stronger the tea).
Iced tea brewing method (to make 1 liter/quart): Place 6 tea bags into a teapot or heat resistant pitcher. Pour 1 1/4 cups of freshly boiled water over the tea. Steep for 5 minutes. Quarter fill a serving pitcher with cold water. Pour the tea into your serving pitcher straining the bags. Add ice and top-up the pitcher with cold water. Garnish and sweeten to taste. [A rule of thumb when preparing fresh brewed iced tea is to double the strength of hot tea since it will be poured over ice and diluted with cold water].
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