Senna is also known by the names Alexandrian Senna and Rajavriksha. Cassia senna is native to tropical Africa, and is cultivated in Egypt and the Sudan; Cassia angustifolia is native to India, and is cultivated mainly in India and Pakistan. The parts of this plant used for health benefits are the leaves and the pods. The leaves have a purging quality, but afterwards have a binding effect. Both the leaves and pods are used in many preparations.
People in northern Africa and southwestern Asia have used Senna as a natural laxative for centuries. It was considered a "cleansing" herb because of its cathartic effect. In addition, the leaves were sometimes made into a paste, and applied to various skin problems. Acne may be supported in this way.
Senna is a powerful cathartic used primarily in supporting constipation, working through a stimulation of intestinal peristalsis. The primary chemical constituents of Senna include anthraquinone glycosides (sennosides, aloe-emodin, rhein), beta-sitosterol, flavones, tartaric acid, mucin, essential oil, mucilage, tannin, and resin. The sennosides are irritating to the large intestine lining, causing peristaltic action and bowel evacuation. It also helps to temporarily reduce fluid from being absorbed from the large intestine, thus contributing to softer stools.
Senna is often combined with aromatic, carminative herbs such as Cardamom, Ginger Root, Peppermint, and Fennel, to increase its palatability. The common name Senna includes the species Cassia acutifolia, Cassia senna, Cassia marilandica, and other Cassia species, which are used interchangeably with Cassia angustifolia. Other historical applications of this herb have included support for inflammatory skin complaints, hypertension, and weight gain.
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Stir 1/4 of a teaspoon into a glass of water and consume 3 times daily, with meals.
More Photographs - Senna Leaf Extract (6% Sennosides) Powder
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