Senna is a natural herb that is used to stimulate the bowel movement. Senna is used to treat constipation and to clear the intestine before rectal or bowel examinations. It is used in different kinds of commercial laxatives, such as Fleet Natural, Goldline, Swiss Kriss and Senokot Tablets, used to cure constipation. The leaves of the Senna are used to make sennosides, another common ingredient in stimulant laxatives. Sennosides are found in the formulas of Ex-Lax, Senna Soft and Senokot Liquid. Senna is also known as Cassia senna, tinnevelly senna, India senna, Alexandrian senna, and Khartoum senna. Senna is often sold as an herbal supplement. Senna should not be used as an alternative for the medication prescribed by the doctor. All uses for senna are not approved by the FDA.
What is the traditional use of Senna?
In 9th century AD, Senna was used by the Arabian. Senna was used primarily as a laxative for a long period in ancient Arabic and European medicine as well. The leaves are brewed and the tea is taken for its powerful laxative properties.
How does Senna work?
Senna has a compound called “hydroxyanthracene glycosides” which is known as sennosides. These glycosides induce colon activity and as a result have a laxative effect. In addition, these glycosides amplify fluid secretion by the colon, with the effect of softening the stool and raising its bulk.
In what form is senna available?
Senna is available as undiluted at many health food stores. It is also available as a liquid extract, dried pods, or capsules, tablets.
What is the dosage of Senna to be taken?
Senna leaves or pods have been used as a laxative at doses of 0.6 to 2 g/day, with a daily dose of sennoside B from 20 to 30 mg.
The brand Senokot is available in 8.6 and 17.2 mg tablets.
A sour-taste tea containing senna 0.5 to 2 g (1/2 to 1 teaspoon) can also be prepared.
If senna is taken in the form of capsules, the allowed dosage is 50 to 100 mg.
Senna should not be used at higher doses or for extended periods of time.
The dosage can be skipped if missed. Senna should not be taken extra to compensate the missed dose.
How is Senna stored ?
It is always essential to consult a doctor, before taking any herbal supplements.
Usually, Senna is taken before bed to produce a bowel movement 6 to 12 hours later.
Senna should be used as directed on the package or as directed by the doctor, pharmacist, or other healthcare provider.
Senna should not be used more than recommended.
It should not be used in different forms (such as tablets and liquid) simultaneously, unless recommended by the physician.
Senna should not be used for more than 1 week without the advice of a physician.
Senna can be stored at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.
Is Senna safe?
At present, the Food and Drug Administration has given senna the classification of "undefined safety," which means that it is thought to be safe, but its effects are still undefined.
Who should not use Senna?
Senna should not be used by pregnant or nursing women.
Children should not use senna.
Senna herbs should not be used by people with diverticular disease, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, severe hemorrhoids, blood vessel disease, congestive heart failure, heart disease, severe anemia, abdominal hernia, gastrointestinal cancer, recent colon surgery, or liver and kidney disease.
Also, senna may interact with drugs such as procardia, and indocin.
What are the Side-effects of Senna?
Side-effects of senna include:
Nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
swelling of the fingertips
If senna is used for a long period of time, dark pigmentation in the colon, called melanosis coli may occur.
strong cramping and griping pains in the abdomen (due to muscle contractions)
Senna can also cause electrolyte imbalance (loss of potassium) and loss of body fluids
Prolonged use of Senna has been linked to liver toxicity.