Senna: origin, indications, dosage and contraindications

Senna is a shrub with healing qualities belonging to the Caesalpiniaceae family. He is originally from Yemen and Somalia. In the scientific community, it is known as Senna alexandrina or Cassia angustifolia. It is a plant that can reach a height of 1.5 m. The fruit, meanwhile, has the appearance of a flattened pod and contains 6 to 8 seeds which are poisonous. This plant also contains many active ingredients. Mention may in particular be made of mucilages, flavonoids, sennosides, anthraquinones and naphthalene glycosides. These components are primarily responsible for the medicinal properties of senna.

Uses in natural medicine

Senna is reputed to be a powerful laxative. For this purpose, it is used to stimulate intestinal transit and to facilitate the progression of the food bolus. It is particularly indicated in case of transient constipation. Moreover, associated with a diet rich in fiber, it is effective in case of intestinal laziness.

In addition, it promotes the appearance of loose stools. It is therefore prescribed in cases of anal fissures and hemorrhoids.

Taking this plant is also recommended before proceeding to a colonoscopy or radiology. Its purifying property allows, in fact, to purge the intestines. Note that this is one of the conditions required to identify the exact cause of a condition.

In the past, senna was used to treat various liver disorders. We distinguish, among others, jaundice or typhoid fever.

Dosage forms

For therapeutic use, mainly the leaves and the pod of the plant are used. The different forms of use are:

  • Herbal tea or infusion
  • Dry extracts
  • Mother tincture
  • capsule
  • Compressed
  • Vegetable oil
Psssssst :  Do practitioners appreciate the use of the blackthorn?

Directions for use and usual dosage

  • Tisane : In a cup of boiling water, add 0.5 to 2 g of dry extracts then leave to infuse. Take one cup in the morning and another before bedtime if needed.
  • Mother tincture: Dilute 25 drops of tincture in a glass of water and take 3 times a day.
  • Capsule: The recommended daily intake is 3 to 6 capsules.
  • Compressed : 1 to 2 tablets in the evening
  • Vegetable oil

Take 1 teaspoon twice a day. In external use, thesenna vegetable oil is used for hair care. It helps fight lice and hair loss. It also allows to have long and black hair.

Contraindications and precautions for use

Taking senna is strongly discouraged in the following cases:

  • Pregnancy and breast feeding
  • Colon inflammation
  • Chronic constipation
  • heart disorder
  • Severe dehydration
  • Child under 12 years old

In addition, used long term, it can cause a deficiency in mineral salts, cardiac arrhythmia, diarrhea and gastrointestinal spasms. A cure of 8 to 10 days is therefore recommended in order to avoid the risk of overdose. It is also not recommended to take senna with other plants with laxative activities such as boldo, aloe or rhubarb.


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