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Ayurvedic View By
BAMS
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MD (Pharmacology), MBBS
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20 Jan 2021 | 10:50 PM (IST)

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Senna

Senna
Senna, or Swarnapatri in Sanskrit, is also known as Indian senna. It is used for various medicinal purposes, including constipation.
According to Ayurveda, Senna helps in managing constipation due to its Rechana (laxative) property. Taking a Senna leaf powder along with lukewarm water also helps in managing weight by improving the Agni (digestive fire) and thus digestion due to its Deepan (appetizer) and Usna (hot) property.
Senna helps in managing blood sugar levels by increasing the insulin production due to its antioxidant property. It also helps to remove worms from the intestine due to its anthelmintic property.
Applying Senna leaf paste on the skin helps in managing various skin problems like inflammation, blisters, redness etc. due to its Ropan (healing) property.
It must be kept in mind that excessive consumption of Senna might cause severe diarrhea and loss of fluid from the body. So, it is advisable to take Senna as recommended by a physician[2][4][5].

What are the synonyms of Senna?

Cassia angustifolia, Indian Senna, Tinnevelly Senna, Sanaya, Alexander senna, Hindisana, Svarnapatri, Sonamukhi, Svamamukhi, Sonapata, Mindhiaval, Nelavarika, Nelaavare, Nelavarike, Nela Avariake, Sna, Sunnamukhi, Nilavaka, Chinnukki, Adapatiyan, Sunamukhi, Sannamakhi, Sanapati, Sarnapatta, Nilapponnai, Avarai, Sena, Barg-e-Sana[1]

What is the source of Senna?

Plant Based

Benefits of Senna

What are the benefits of Senna for Constipation?

scientific
Modern Science View
Senna helps in managing constipation due to its laxative property. It contains certain constituents that help loosen the stool and speed up the bowel movement. It also promotes easy excretion of the stool[4].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Constipation is caused due to an aggravated Vata and Pitta dosha. Factors such as frequent consumption of junk food, excess intake of coffee or tea, sleeping late at night, stress and depression, etc. aggravate Vata and Pitta in the body leading to Constipation. Senna helps to manage constipation by balancing Vata and Pitta. It also helps to expel waste products from the large intestine because of its Rechana (laxative) property.

Tips for using Senna to get relief from Constipation-
a. Take 0.5-2 gm (or as directed by the physician) of Senna powder.
b. Have it with lukewarm water before going to bed at night to get relief from Constipation.

What are the benefits of Senna for Intestine preparation before any surgery?

scientific
Modern Science View
Senna helps in Intestine/bowel preparation before any diagnostic or surgical procedure like colonoscopy which requires a fecal matter free bowel. It has a laxative property which promotes bowel movement and helps in the easy excretion of stool. Senna also stimulates the transport of water and electrolytes which increases intestinal movements. This helps in further cleaning of the intestines for Colonoscopy[6].

What are the benefits of Senna for Diagnostic agent?

scientific
Modern Science View
Senna might help in certain Diagnostic imaging procedures which require fecal matter free intestines. It helps remove fecal matter from the intestines due to its laxative property by promoting bowel movement and promoting the passage of stool from the body[3].

What are the benefits of Senna for Piles?

scientific
Modern Science View
Senna might help manage Hemorrhoids by preventing constipation. It has laxative property which improves bowel movement and promotes easy passage of stool. This prevents constipation and thus the development of Hemorrhoids[7].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Hemorrhoids or Piles, known as Arsh in Ayurveda, is generally caused by an unhealthy diet and sedentary lifestyle. It involves the impairment of all the three doshas, mainly Vata. An aggravated Vata causes low digestive fire leading to constipation. This causes swelling of the veins in the rectum area leading to the formation of piles mass. Senna stimulates the digestive fire due to its Ushna (hot) property and helps prevent constipation. It also helps reduce the size of piles mass due to its Rechana (laxative) property.

Tip for using Senna to prevent Hemorrhoids-
a. Take 0.5-2 gm (or as directed by a physician) of Senna powder.
b. Have it with lukewarm water before going to bed at night to get relief from constipation and prevent Hemorrhoids.

What are the benefits of Senna for Irritable bowel syndrome?

scientific
Modern Science View
Although enough scientific evidence is not available, Senna might help manage Irritable bowel syndrome by allowing the easy passage of stools due to its laxative property[4].

What are the benefits of Senna for Weight loss?

ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
According to Ayurveda, unhealthy food habits and lifestyle lead to a weak digestive fire that increases the accumulation of Ama and causes constipation. This leads to an imbalance in meda Dhatu which results in obesity. Taking Senna powder helps to remove Ama due to its Deepan (appetizer) property by reducing the excessive fat in the body. It also removes waste material from the intestines and provides relief from constipation due to its Rechana (laxative) property, further contributing to Weight management.

Tip for using Senna powder to manage weight -
1. Take 0.5-2 gm (or as directed by a physician) of Senna powder.
2. Have it with lukewarm water before going to bed at night to help manage weight.

How effective is Senna?

Likely effective
Constipation, Intestine preparation before any surgery
Likely ineffective
Diagnostic agent
Insufficient evidence
Irritable bowel syndrome, Piles, Weight loss

Precautions when using Senna

Advice from Experts
Important
scientific
Modern Science View
Senna is a natural laxative. It is advisable to avoid long term use of Senna for managing bowel functions as it might alter normal bowel functions and lead to the development of dependence on using Senna to pass the bowel.
Breastfeeding
scientific
Modern Science View
Senna is safe to be taken in prescribed amounts during breastfeeding. It is advisable to avoid excessive consumption or consult a physician before taking Senna during pregnancy[3].
Moderate Medicine Interaction
scientific
Modern Science View
1. Senna might increase the effect of laxatives. So, it is generally advisable to consult a physician while taking Senna along with laxatives[3].
2. Senna might decrease the levels of potassium in the body when taken along with other diuretics. So, it is generally advisable to consult a physician while taking Senna along with diuretic drugs[3].
Patients with heart disease
scientific
Modern Science View
Senna might cause an electrolyte imbalance and affect the heart functions. So, it is advisable for patients with heart disease to avoid or consult a physician before using Senna[3].
Pregnancy
scientific
Modern Science View
Senna is safe to be taken in prescribed amounts during pregnancy. It is advisable to avoid excessive consumption or consult a physician before taking Senna during pregnancy[3].
Side Effects
Important
scientific
Modern Science View
1. Nausea
2. Excessive salivation
3. Increased thirst
4. Dehydration[4]
5. Laxative dependence
6. Liver damage[3].

Recommended Dosage of Senna

  • Senna Powder - 0.5-2 g a day or as directed by a physician[1].
  • Senna Capsule - 1 capsule twice a day or as directed by a physician.
  • Senna Tablet - 2 tablets at bedtime or as directed by a physician.

How to use Senna

1. Senna Powder
a. Take 0.5- 2 gm (or as directed by a physician) of Senna powder.
b. Swallow it with lukewarm water.
c. Take at night before sleeping.

2. Senna Capsules
a. Take 1 capsule of Senna or as directed by a physician.
b. Swallow it with lukewarm water.

3. Senna Tablets
a. Take 1-2 tablets of Senna or as directed by a physician.
b. Swallow them with warm water at bedtime.

Benefits of Senna

1. Skin Disease
Senna (Senna) helps to control the symptoms of Skin diseases like eczema including rough skin, blisters, inflammation, itchiness and bleeding. Applying Senna leaf paste on the skin reduces inflammation and stops bleeding because of its Ropan (healing) property.

Tip for using Senna to manage the symptoms of Skin disease -
a. Take 0.5-2 gm of Senna powder.
b. Add vinegar to it and make a paste.
c. Apply this paste evenly on the affected area twice or thrice a week to manage the symptoms of Skin disease.

2. Acne and Pimples
According to Ayurveda, people with Kapha-Pitta dosha skin type is more prone to Acne and Pimples. Aggravation of Kapha increases sebum production which clogs the pores of the skin. This results in the formation of both white and blackheads. An Aggravated Pitta dosha also causes red papules (bumps) and inflammation with pus. Senna (Senna) powder helps in balancing Kapha and Pitta which prevents clogging of pores and inflammation in spite of its Ushna (hot) nature.

Tip for using Senna to manage Acne and Pimples -
a. Take 0.5-2 gm of Senna leaves or seeds powder.
b. Add vinegar or water to it and make a paste.
c. Apply this paste evenly on the affected area twice or thrice a week to get rid of Acne and Pimples.

Precautions when using Senna

Allergy
scientific
Modern Science View
It is advisable to avoid the use of Senna in people allergic to Senna or Senna preparations as it might induce certain allergic reactions[4].
Side Effects
Important
scientific
Modern Science View
1. Pruritus
2. Urticaria[4].

Recommended Dosage of Senna

  • Senna Powder - 0.5-2 g of powder or as per your requirement.

How to use Senna

Senna Powder
a. Take 0.5-2 gm (or as per your requirement) of Senna powder.
b. Add vinegar to it and make a paste.
c. Apply the paste evenly on the affected area.
d. Use this remedy 1-2 times a day to manage eczema and other skin infections.

Frequently asked questions

Q. What is the best time to take Senna (Senna)?

scientific
Modern Science View
Senna (Senna) should be taken preferably at night before going to bed.

Q. Do I need a prescription to buy Senna?

scientific
Modern Science View
No, Senna is a natural laxative and an over the counter (OTC) product. So, prescription is generally not needed for buying Senna but it is advisable to consult a physician before using Senna[3].

Q. What is the taste of Senna?

scientific
Modern Science View
Senna is pungent and bitter in taste[4].

Q. Is Senna a stool softener or laxative?

ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Senna is a laxative that helps clear the intestine by increasing the bowel moment. According to Ayurveda, Senna has Rechana (laxative) property which provides great aid in clearing constipation.

Q. What is Senna leaf good for?

scientific
Modern Science View
Senna is a quick-acting herbal laxative which is generally taken as a tea.

Q. Is Senna good for colon cleansing?

scientific
Modern Science View
Yes, Senna might be good for colon cleansing due to its laxative and purgative properties. It promotes bowel movements and helps in easy excretion of stool[4][8].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Senna is good for colon cleansing because of its Rechana (laxative) property. It helps to expel waste products from the intestines and promote colon cleansing.

Q. Is Senna tea good for you?

scientific
Modern Science View
Yes, Senna (Senna) can be added as an ingredient in tea and is good for health. Senna tea has many health benefits mainly due to its stimulant and laxative properties. It helps to reduce appetite, manage weight, clear intestines and prevent constipation[9].

Q. Is Senna good for diabetes?

scientific
Modern Science View
Yes, Senna might help in diabetes due to its anti-diabetic property. It contains certain constituents that reduce the breakdown as well as absorption of carbohydrates in the body. It helps to increase the secretion of insulin, thereby lowering the levels of blood glucose and managing diabetes[5].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Yes, Senna might be good for diabetes as it helps manage blood sugar levels. It improves the digestive fire which reduces Ama (toxic remains in the body due to improper digestion)and controls the blood sugar levels.

Q. How does Senna help in preventing worm infestation?

scientific
Modern Science View
Senna might help in preventing worm infestation due to its anthelmintic properties. It expels the parasitic worms from the body without causing any harm to the host[9].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Senna helps to control intestinal worm infestation. According to Ayurveda, worms are called Krimi. The growth of worms is encouraged by low Agni (weak digestive fire). Taking Senna helps to improve the digestive fire and destroys the ideal condition for the growth of worms due to its Ushna (hot) nature. It also removes the worms from the intestines because of its Rechana (laxative) property.

Q. Can Senna cause dependence?

scientific
Modern Science View
Yes, using Senna too frequently or for a long time might lead to abnormal bowel functioning and development of a dependence on it to be used as a laxative[3].

Q. How to reduce the side effects of Senna?

scientific
Modern Science View
Senna might produce certain side effects like nausea, excessive salivation, increased thirst, etc. These side effects can be minimised by taking Senna along with sugar, ginger powder and rock salt[4].

Q. Under what conditions should Senna be avoided?

scientific
Modern Science View
Senna should be avoided by patients having hypersensitivity to Senna (Senna) or its preparations. People with problems such as Crohn’s Disease, ulcerative colitis, abdominal pain, dehydration and electrolyte imbalance should also avoid Senna. Senna is also not recommended for use in children under 12 years of age[4].

Q. Does Senna raise blood pressure?

scientific
Modern Science View
Although enough scientific evidence is not available, Senna might cause a rise in blood pressure[10].

Q. What are the major side effects of Senna overdose?

scientific
Modern Science View
Senna is laxative in nature. Excessive consumption of Senna might result in certain side effects like griping pain and severe diarrhea along with loss of fluid and electrolyte[4].

Q. Is Senna safe for children?

scientific
Modern Science View
Senna is considered to be safe for children above 2 years of age when taken by mouth on a short term basis. However, Senna is not safe when taken in high doses. So, it is advisable to take Senna as recommended by a physician.

Q. Can Senna be used daily?

scientific
Modern Science View
Senna is not advised to be taken regularly. It is considered appropriate for use in acute cases[11]. Regular use of Seena may cause dependence on its use as a laxative.

Q. Can Senna cause interaction with any medicine?

scientific
Modern Science View
Supplements of Senna can interact with diuretics, blood thinners, and medications for heart problems and diabetes. Inform your doctor if you take any medications regularly before starting any senna supplement[3].

Q. Why do you have to take Senna at night?

ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Senna has Rechana (laxative) property that helps in constipation. It works by increasing the bowel moment which helps clean the intestine. It usually takes 6-8 hours, so taking it at bedtime would help in better bowel movement the next morning.

Q. How to use Senna leaves?

ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
You can take Senna leaves in the following ways to get rid of constipation:
Take few fresh Senna leaves
Keep these leaves in sunlight until they are dry
Grind these dried Senna leaves and make powder
Have this powder with warm water before sleeping

Q. What is the dose of Senna powder for constipation?

ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Take Senna powder 0.5-2gms before sleeping at night or as directed by the physician to get rid of constipation.

Q. Is Senna good for skin?

scientific
Modern Science View
Although enough scientific evidence is not available, applying a paste of Senna powder along with vinegar might help manage certain skin problems[4][9].

References

  1. The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia Of India.Part 1 Volume 1.
  2. Srivastava M, Srivastava S, Rawat AKS.Chemical standardization of Cassia angustifolia vahl seed.PHCOG J. 2(13):554-560.External Link
  3. WebMD.Senna: Uses, Side effects, Doses, Interactions [Internet].Atlanta [last updated in 2016].External Link
  4. Ramchander, Jalwal P, Middha A.Recent advances on senna as a laxative: A comprehensive review.Journal of pharmacognosy and phytochemistry.2017;6(2):349-353.External Link
  5. Nanumala SK, Tulasi P, Sujitha E.In vitro anti-diabetic activity of seed extracts of Cassia auriculata and Cassia Angustifolia.European journal of experimental biology.2015;5(5):12-17.External Link
  6. Khorasanynejad R, Norouzi A, Roshandel, et al.Bowel preparation for a better colonoscopy using polyethylene glycol or C-lax: A double-blind randomized clinical trial.Middle east journal of digestive diseases.2017;9(4):212-217.External Link
  7. Tripathi RK, Bolegave SS, Shetty PA, et al.Efficacy and safety of a polyherbal formulation in hemorrhoids.J-AIM.2015;6(4):225-232.External Link
  8. Assessment report on Senna Alexandrina Mill. (Cassia Senna L.; Cassia Angustifolia Vahl), folium and fructus.European medicines agency.2017.External Link
  9. Balasankar D, Vanilarasu K, Selva Preetha P, et al. Senna – A Medical Miracle Plant.Journal of Medicinal Plants Studies.2013;1(3):41-47. External Link
  10. Jalili J, Askereglu U, et al. Herbal products that may contribute to hypertension.Plast Reconstr Surg. 2013 Jan:131(1):168-73. External Link
Disclaimer
The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.

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