Scientific Name Cassia sena Linn <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
( C. senna Linn. var. senna syn. C. acutifolia Delile; C. angustifolia Vahl; C. obovata Baker
Family Fabaceae (Caesalpiniaceae)
Used Part Leaves
Common Uses . The SENNA is a well-known drug in the Unani system
of medicine and has been included in the I.P., U.S.P., B.P., J.P., etc. as a purgative. The drug from India is known as TINNEVELLY SENNA and that from Arabian countries is known as ALExANDRIAN SENNA. Presently, it is used both in the Ayurvedic and Allopathic systems of medicine and is also a house-hold medicine. The dried leaves and pods (shells) comprise the drug, the former known as SENNA-LEAF and the latter SENNA-FRUIT or POD. The commercial drug consists of dried, green leaves and shells of
nearly dried and ripe pods. The shells are milder and slower in action than the leaves and cause less griping. The flowers are reported to contain considerable quantity of sennosides (2.6%). The demand for leaves and shells is because of the easy utility as a herbal tea, in bakery products, etc., besides for higher concentration of sennosides and other anthraquinones. The commercial samples of pods (shells) contain sennosides 3-5 per cent and the foliage 2.5-4.0 per cent. The drug collected from the wetlands is reported to be more valued.
The leaves and pods (shells) are usually administered in the Ayurvedic and Unani systems of medicine as infusion, and considered a great tonic. The milk of nursing women acquires purgative properties after use of senna. The drug is contra- indicated in spastic constipation and colitis. The senna is an efficient purgative either for occasional use or for habitual constipation. It is free from astringent action of rhubarb (Rheum spp.) type but has a tendency to cause gripe; hence it is combined with carminatives, aromatics and other saline laxatives; the pods, however, cause less gripe. The disagreeable odour is masked by the addition of ginger or cloves. In India, several household preparations, such as decoction, powder, syrup, infusion and confection are made with senna. It enters into a compound Nilaavarai churnam used for treating distention of stomach, hiccups, vomiting and biliousness
The water-soluble extracts of leaves and pods constituting Senna Fluid Extract, N.F., Senna Fruit, N.F., Compound Senna Powder, N.F. (Compound Licorice Powder) and Senna Syrup, N.F., and Senna Tablets containing the powdered pericarp are official in I.P. Besides this, sennosides and their tablets are official in U.S.P. The leaves are sold as Senna tea in Europe. Recently, a technique has been developed to prepare granules without using any solvent. The product is stable even after prolonged storage.
Besides being an excellent laxative, the senna is used as a febrifuge, in splenic enlargements, anaemia, typhoid, cholera, biliousness, jaundice, gout, rheumatism, tumours, foul breath and bronchitis, and probably in leprosy. It is employed in the treatment of amoebic dysentery, as an anthelmintic and as a mild liver stimulant. The leaf is one of the constituents of a patented drug reported to have protective effects on the liver. The leaves in the form of Confection of Senna are used in treating haemorrhoids. They are externally used for certain skin diseases, and the powdered leaves in vinegar are applied to wounds and burns, and to remove pimples. However, it has been known to have caused a severe and painful dermatitis in sensitized persons.
Similar crude drugs(1) Used as adulterant is C. auriculata (Palthe senna )
Chemical Constituent The concentration of sennosides as follows: in
leaves from different stages, 1.68-2.18; rachis, 1.94; flowers, 2.60; handpicked pods, 3.68; and black pods, 2.59%; the seeds present in the handpicked pods form 6.44% and contain 0.22% sennosides, and the seeds present in the black pods form 12.05% having 0.39% sennosides.
The occurrence of glucosides of chrysophanol, rhein, aloe-emodin and 6-hydroxymusizin is reported in the pods. Presence of physcion, physcionin, chrysophanein and sennidin C is reported in the roots