Senna: (Cassia senna, Cassia angustifolia) The senna shrub grows in India, Pakistan, and China. The leaves and pods are used medicinally. Traditional use of seen is as a laxative. It’s considered a cleansing herb because of its cathartic effect.
Senna leaves are sometimes made into a paste and applied to ringworm and acne.
Senna contains anthraquinone glycosides known as sennosides. These molecules are converted by the normal bacteria in the colon into rhein-anthrone, which in turn has two effects. It stimulates colon activity to speed bowel movements and increases fluid secretion by the colon. Together, these actions work to get a sluggish colon functional again. Several controlled studies have confirmed the benefit of senna in treating constipation.
Herbalists generally suggest an herbal extract in capsules or tablets providing 20–60 mg of sennosides per day. Senna can cause the colon to become dependent on it to move properly. Therefore, senna must not be used for more than ten consecutive days. If constipation is not alleviated within ten days, individuals should seek the help of a healthcare professional. Combination with herbal mint teas can help decrease cramping.
Chronic senna use can also cause loss of fluids, low potassium levels, and diarrhea, all of which can lead to dehydration and negative effects on the heart and muscles. Certain medications interact in a positive and/or negative way with senna. Ask your doctor if you are currently taking prescription medications.