Cassia, or senna

Pharmacy name: Senna leaves (Alexandrian leaf) – Sennae folium (formerly: Folium Sennae), narrow-leaved senna fruits – Sennae fructus angustifoliae (formerly: Folliculi Sennae), Alexandrian senna fruits – Sennae fructus acutifoliae (formerly: Folliculi Sennae).

Botanical description. The leaves and fruits used for medicinal purposes are obtained from both types of cassia. These are shrubs 0.5-1.5 m in height. Cassia angustifolia is native to Somalia and Arabia, it is cultivated in South India, especially in the Tirunel-veli region. Its compound leaves have 5-8 leaflets, and at the end there is a short spine. Cassia alexandria is distributed in Sudan and further to West Africa. In this species, compound leaves consist of 4-5 leaflets and are about half as long as those of the previous one. It is cultivated in the upper reaches of the Nile. The flowers of both cassias are yellow, collected in brushes emerging from the axils of the leaves. The fruits are flat brown beans 2-4 cm long and within 1 cm wide.

Collection and preparation. When the leaves are fully developed, they are harvested by cutting off individual leaves and dried in the air. Pharmaceutical goods are obtained mainly from cultivated plantations, however, the Alexandrian leaf is also harvested from wild plants. The fruits are harvested when they are fully ripe. Since outwardly they resemble leaves and were previously widely used for women in childbirth, they are also called “mother leaves”.

active ingredients. Of the many components, the effectiveness of cassia is determined by anthraquinones – linked by glycosidic bonds and free.

Healing action and application.Senna leaves are considered the most reliable potent laxative we know of. They are found in numerous laxative teas. Senna fruit (“mother leaves”) is also used as a laxative, but its effect is milder. Teas from the leaves and from the fruits of senna are still often used for constipation. However, it should be noted that long-term use of all laxatives (and of plant origin too) is undesirable, because it irritates the intestines, also leads to the loss of essential salts – and thus is dangerous to health. The German National Health Service describes the indications for use for senna leaves and fruits as follows: constipation; all diseases in which an easy bowel movement with soft stools is desirable, such as, for example, with fissures in the anal region, hemorrhoids and after surgical interventions on the rectum; for cleansing the intestines before fluoroscopy, also before and after surgery in the abdominal cavity.

  • Senna tea: 1 teaspoon of senna leaves in 1/4 liter of cold water. Let it brew for 24 hours, stirring occasionally, then strain. If necessary, drink 1 cup, preferably at bedtime. The action begins in about 6-8 hours. The cold method of cooking prevents the appearance of cramps in the stomach.

Use in homeopathy. The homeopathic remedy Senna is used in dilution D6 against flatulence in infancy and early childhood. Give if necessary, 5 drops.

Side effects. Avoid prolonged use; Do not use if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or have bowel obstruction.

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