In this work, the application of Jatobá bark (the waste product of medicinal plant processing) in removal of the cationic dyes Methylene Blue, Crystal Violet and Rhodamine B from aqueous solution was studied in a batch system. The effect of contact time, pH and temperature on dye removal was investigated. An increase in pH from 2 to 10 was accompanied by an increase in the amount of dye adsorbed. The equilibrium sorption data fitted to the Langmuir, Freundlich and Langmuir–Freundlich equations were investigated. The Langmuir–Freundlich isotherm exhibited the best fit with the experimental data and the maximum adsorption capacities at room temperature being 211.5, 89.5 and 69.4 for Rhodamine B, Methylene Blue and Crystal Violet, respectively. The kinetic sorption was evaluated by the pseudo-first-order, pseudo-second-order and intraparticle diffusion models. It was observed that sorption follows the pseudo-second-order kinetic model. The thermodynamic parameters for the sorption process were also determined. The spontaneous and endothermic nature of adsorption was obtained based on the negative value of free energy (ΔG) and the positive value of enthalpy (ΔH). The results indicate that Jatobá bark could be used as a low-cost material for the removal of cationic dyes from wastewater.