Herbs & Plants

Senna (Cassia angustifolia Vahl)

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Botanical Name:Cassia Senna(Cassia angustifolia or Cassia acutifolia)
Family: Fabaceae
Tribe: Cassieae
Genus: Senna
Species: S. alexandrina
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales
Latin Name : Cassia Angustifolia or Cassia acutifolia.
Latin: Folium Cassiae
Common Names: Alexandrian Senna, Cassia lenitiva, Cassia lanceolata, Cassia officinalis, East Indian Senna, Nubian Senna, Tinnevelly Senna,Cassia senna, Senna, Rajavriksha, Fan xia ye,American senna,locust plant
Trade Name: Senna
Parts Used : Leaves and pods
Habitat :  Senna is a shrub native to Egypt, Sudan, Nigeria and Nubia in North Africa, as well as India,Pakistan and China,Sennas are herbaceous subshrubs and both varieties used, Alexandrian and Tinnevelly, have desert origins.

A small shrub, about 1 m in height with pale subterete or obtusely angled erect or ascending branches. Leaves usually 5-8 jugate, leaflets oval, lanceolate, glabrous. Racemes axillary erect, waxy many-flowered, usually considerably exceeding the subtending leaf. Bracts membranous, ovate or obovate, caducous. Sepals obtuse, cuncate compressed,cotyledons plane. The pods are 1.4 to 2.8 in long, about 0.8 in wide, greenish brown to dark brown in colour and contain 5-7 obovate dark brown and nearly smooth seeds.

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A shrub with winged leaves, each being made up of six pairs of smaller leaves. The yellow flowers, produced in longish spikes at the tops of the branches, are moderately large and are striped with red.

Cultivation : The crop can thrive on a variety of soils, but is largely grown on red loams and on alluvial loams. The texture of the soil, which account for the major hectarage under senna varies from sandy loam to loam, while the black cotton soils are heavier and more fertile. The average pH ranges from 7 to 8.5. It is very sensitive to water logging. Hence, it is grown only in well-drained soils. Senna requires sunlight for its proper growth. It can be growth in early summer(February-March) or in winter(October-November). North Indian states like Delhi and Gujarat where there is moderate rainfall is reported to be ideal for the luxuriant growth of the plant. Heavy rains and cloudy weather during growth are harmful to the crop. An average rainfall of 25-40 cm. distributed from June to October is sufficient to produce good crop.

Propagation : Seeds

Characteristics and Constituents :
Leaves contain glycosides, sennoside A, sennoside B, sennoside C and sennoside D. Two naphthalene glycosides have been isolated frofn leaves and pods. Senna also contains the yellow flavonol colouring matter kaempferol, its glucoside kaempferin and isorhamnetin.

Medicinal Uses :

It cleanses and purifies the blood and causes a fresh and lively habit of the body. It is used in  constipation,abdominal disorders,leprosy,skin diseases, leucoderma, splenomegaly, hepatopathy, jaundice, helminthiasis, dyspepsia, cough, bronchitis, typhoid fever, anaemia & tumours.

Senna is the most widely used anthranoid drug today and has been used for centuries in Western and Eastern systems of medicine as a laxative, usually taken as a tea or swallowed in powdered form.Its medical use was first described in the writings of Arabian physicians Serapion and Mesue as early as the 9th century A.D. The name senna itself is Arabian.
Besides its wide use in conventional Western medicine, senna leaf remains an important drug used in traditional Chinese medicine and traditional Indian Ayurvedic and Unani medicine

You may click to see & learn more uses of senna in medicines:

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.


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