What Is Senna Leaf?

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“A number of popular laxative products comprising phenolphthalein as a major ingredient have been taken off from the market following reports that the substance was found to have some link with cancer,” states Herbs 2000. Since then, drug companies have used senna as their main ingredient. Senna will help if you suffer from constipation.

Facts

Senna Leaf is commonly known as senna or Alexandrian senna, and its scientific name is Cassia angustifolia. Senna has been used since the 9th century by Arabian physicians as a laxative and has been known as the "cleansing herb." “Only the leaves and the pods of the herb are therapeutically useful,” states Herbs 2000. Senna is often taken as a tea, capsule, tablet or liquid extract.

Benefits

Senna acts as a laxative and is primarily used for constipation, preoperative cleansing and weight loss, and may also help with hypertension. Senna can also be used as an anti-inflammatory, for cellular regeneration, and to treat anal fissures and hemorrhoids. As a paste, senna can be used to treat acne, ringworm and other skin disorders.

Dosage

Take senna with other herbs like fennel, cinnamon, ginger and peppermint to avoid intense stomach cramping and abdominal pain. Use senna pods for a more mild effect, according to Mountain Rose Herbs. Herbs 2000 recommends taking four senna capsules with three cinnamon capsules and a full glass of milk to see quicker results and to avoid electrolyte depletion. As a tea, two cups should be drunk daily. A daily dose of 10 to 60mg of senna is recommended for adults, and half doses are recommended for children aged six and up.

Identification

Senna is a shrub that grows up to three feet tall and has light-green stalks. Along with delicate grayish-green leaves, senna produces oblong seed pods. Indigenous to tropical climates of North Africa, senna also grows in India, Pakistan, Egypt and Sudan.

Warnings

Drink eight 6-oz cups of water along with senna to avoid dehydration. Senna should not be taken for more than 10 days without a period of rest to maintain health. Serious reduction in potassium levels can lead to death and can occur with long-term use of senna. Talk to your health care provider to ensure there are no drug interactions. If you are pregnant or nursing, you should only use senna under your doctor’s supervision. Long-term use may also lead to abnormal colorectal growths which can lead to cancer.

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