Senna Herb - Beneficial Herb for Constipation
Cassia angustifolia (Senna alexandrina) Caesalpiniaceae
The laxative effects if senna were first discovered by Arab physicians in the 10th century. The shrub, which grows to about 1m in height, is native to hot, barren regions and is cultivated in India and Pakistan. Its yellow flowers are followed by flat papery pods containing six to eight seeds.
Senna's main laxative components are anthraquinones known as sennosides. The plant also contains flavonoids and mucilage.
Senna is a powerful laxative and the main active ingredient in many proprietary brands of constipation remedy. It works by stimulating rhythmic intestinal contractions known as peristalsis, and starts to work about 10 to 12 hours after ingestion. However, do not just rely on laxatives, deal with the cause of the constipation. This usually involves eating high-fibre foods such as fruit, vegetables and wholegrains (for example, wholemeal bread or brown rice), drinking plenty of fluids and taking exercise.
A clinical study conducted in the UK in 1993 found senna to be more effective than the commonly prescribed laxative, lactulose, in treating chronic constipation in elderly individuals.
PREPARATION AND DOSAGE
For internal use
TO TREAT constipation DECOCTION Steep 3-6 pods in 150ml of water for 6-12 hours. Drink one dose a day.
Senna can be grown from seeds, planted in well-drained soil. It will not tolerate frost, needing a warm location with plenty of sunshine.
IF SYMPTOMS PERSIST CONSULT A DOCTOR
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