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Updated April 04, 2012

Definition: Anthraquinones are organic compounds found in some plants. Anthraquinones have a laxative effect on the body, but are generally not recommended for regular use due to concerns about the risk of habit-forming dependence and adverse side effects, including a higher risk for colorectal cancer.

Anthraquinones are found in the following plants and their corresponding herbal supplements:

For more information on the management of chronic constipation:


Siegers, C., Hertzberg-Lottin, E., Otte, M. & Schneider, B. “Anthranoid laxative abuse--a risk for colorectal cancer?Gut 1993 34:1099-1011.

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