Coffee senna

Botanical Name :Senna occidentalis
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Caesalpinioideae
Tribe: Cassieae
Genus: Senna
Species: S. occidentalis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales

Synonyms: Cassia occidentalis L.,Ditremexa occidentalis (L.) Britt. & Rose

Common Names:auaukoi in Hawaii, coffee senna, coffeeweed, Mogdad coffee, negro-coffee, senna coffee, Stephanie coffee, stinkingweed or styptic weed.

Habitat :Coffee senna grows throughout the tropics and subtropics (Liogier 1988, Stevens and others 2001) including the United States from Texas to Iowa eastward, Hawaii, the Pacific Island Territories, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands (Natural Resources Conservation Service 2002). It appears to be of South American or New World origin (Haselwood and Motter 1966, Henty and Pritchard 1975, Raintree 2002).

Description:
Senna occidentalis varies from a semi-woody annual herb in warm temperate areas to a woody annual shrub or sometimes a short-lived perennial shrub in frostfree areas (Haselwood and Motter 1966, Henty and Pritchard 1975, Holm and others 1997). It usually’ matures at from 0.5 to 2.0 m in height. In Brazil it is reported to reach 5 to 8 m in height (Raintree 2002). Coffee senna produces a hard, woody tap root with relatively few laterals. It usually has a single purplish stem and sparse branching. Young stems are four-angled, becoming rounded with age. The crushed foliage has an unpleasant odor. Compound alternate leaves have four to six pairs of glabrous leaflets and a gland near the base of the petiole. Leaflets are ovate to ovate-lanceolate, pointed at the tip and rounded at the base.

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Senna occidentalis are few-flowered axillary racemes with yellow-petaled flowers about 2 cm across. The legumes (pods) are brown, flat, slightly curved and 5 to 12 cm long. They contain 40 or more brown to dark-olive, ovoid seeds about 4 mm long. The species has 2n = 26, 28 chromosomes (Henty and Pritchard 1975, Liogier 1988, Long and Lakela 1976, Stevens and others 2001).

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Edible Uses:
Mogdad coffee seeds can be roasted and used as a substitute for coffee. They have also been used as an adulterant for coffee. There is apparently no caffeine in mogdad coffee.

Despite the claims of being poisonous, the leaves of this plant, Dhiguthiyara in Dhivehi, have been used in the diet of the Maldives for centuries in dishes such as mas huni and also as a medicinal plant.

Active Ingredients
Anthroquinones- dianthrone; Anthracene derivatives (2.5-3.5%): chief components sennosides A, A1, B, C and D. Naphthacene derivatives: including 6-hydroxymusizin glucoside, tinnevellin-6-glucosides. Laxative effect is due to the action of sennosides and their active metabolite, rhein anthrone in the colon. Effect occurs 8-12 hours after administration.

Medicinal Uses:
Laxative use, antifungal, decreases fever, cutaneous anti-infective, antispasmodic, antirheumatic, anti-inflammatory, Used for treatment of urinary infections and hemorroids. Purgative and cleansing. In Africa and Asia the leaves and seed pod were used to treat anemia, bronchitis, constipation, jaundice and skin problems.

Known Hazards:The plant is reported to be poisonous to cattle. The plant contains anthraquinones. The roots contain emodin and the seeds contain chrysarobin (1,8-dihydroxy-3-methyl-9-anthrone) and N-methylmorpholine.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://www.fs.fed.us/global/iitf/pdf/shrubs/Senna%20occidentalis.pdf
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cassia_occidentalis
http://www.bu.edu/bhlp/Clinical/cross-cultural/herbal_index/herbs/Senna%20Occidentalis.html

 

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