Senna

Cassia angustifolia & Cassia senna


Part Used: Dried fruit pods, and leaves.


Constituents:


  • Anthraquinone glycosides: in the leaf; sennosidesA and B based on the aglycones sennidin A & B, sennosides C & D which are glycosides of heterodianthrones of aloe-emodin and rhein. Others include palmidin A, rhein anthrone & aloe-emodin glycosides, some free anthraquinones and some potent, novel compounds of as yet undetermined structure. C. senna usually contains more of the sennosides. In the fruit; sennosides A and B and a closely related glycoside sennoside A1.
  • Naphthalene glycosides; tinnevellin glycoside & 6-hydroxymusizinglycoside
  • Miscellaneous; mucilage, flavonoids, volatile oil, sugars, resins, etc.

Actions: Cathartic.


Indications: Senna is a powerful cathartic used in the treatment of constipation, working through a stimulation of intestinal peristalsis. It is vital to recognize, however, that the constipation is a result of something else and not the initial cause and that this has to be sought and dealt with.


Priest & Priest tell us that it is an ” intestinal ganglionic vaso-relaxant. Specific influence upon lower bowel to restrict fluid reabsorption. Excites colicky contractions.” They give the following specific indications: to produce rapid catharsis, (tonsillitis, diphtheria, eruptive disease (from constipation), remittent /intermittent fevers, acute hemorrhoids, to ease liver and gall-bladder function)


Preparations & Dosage: Infusion: the dried pods or leaves should be steeped in warm water for 6-l2 hours. If they are Alexandrian Senna Pods use 3-6 in a cup of water; if they are Tinnevelly Senna, use 4-l2 pods. These names are given to two different species when sold commercially. Tincture: take 2-4ml of the tincture taken before bedtime.


Go to Herbal Materia Medica Homepage

David L. Hoffmann BSc Hons MNIMH Written by David L. Hoffmann BSc Hons MNIMH

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