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    The SENNA (Cassia sena Linn )is a well-known drug in the Unani system
    By Ashwani Kumar | September 11th 2009 10:45 AM | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Ashwani

    Professor Emeritus ,Former Head of the Department of Botany, and Director Life Sciences, University of Rajasthan, Jaipur. 302004, India At present...

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    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    



     



    Distribution Area



     



    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