Botanical name: Cassia angustifolia
Common name: Plants of the Cassia genus are often classified collectively as “Senna” (Henrich et al., 2012, p. 37). Cassia angustifolia refers to the genus native to China and India (Conquer, Costa, Hamilton, Higdon, Isaac, McCarthy, Rusie, Rychlik, Serrano, Tanguay-Colucci, Theeman & Varghese, 2013, p. 1), often referred to as ‘Tinnevelly senna’ (Henrich et al., 2012, p. 95).
Family: Caesalpiniaceae (Henrich, Barnes, Gibbons & Williamson, 2012, p. 36)
Parts used: Leaves and fruit (Conquer et al., 2013, p. 1)
Constituents: Characteristic of Caesalpiniaceae family are anthranoids, which are known for having strong laxative effects (Henrich et al., 2012, p. 37).
Laxative (Henrich et al., 2012, p. 37).
Chronic constipation, notably in constipation induced by pharmaceutical drugs, childbirth or cancer patients taking narcatic drugs (Conquer et al., 2013, p. 1).
Preparation & Dosage
Ideal for short term use (no longer that 7-10 days) (Conquer et al., 2013, p. 3)
A tea is traditionally prepared from the leaves or fruit and dose must be specified for each individual patient (Conquer et al., 2013, p. 4).
Most research surrounds two common non-percription laxatives Fletcher’s® and Senokot®, with which the herb is a constituent (Conquer et al., 2013, pp. 3-4).
Although generally well tolerated in adults, long term or high doses may cause adverse effects such as hypokalemia, metabolic alkalosis or renal tubular damage (Conquer et al., 2013, p. 1).
Not to be used in high doses or for long periods of time (Conquer et al., 2013, p. 1).
May exacerbate conditions such as hemorrhoids, stomach ulcers and inflammatory bowel conditions (Conquer et al., 2013, p. 3)
When taken with individuals on other laxatives or diuretics, Cassia may cause potassium deficiency (Conquer et al., 2013, p. 3).
Conquer, J., Costa, D., Hamilton, W., Higdon, E., Isaac, R., McCarthy, M., Rusie, E., Rychlik, I., Serrano, J., Tanguay-Colucci, S., Theeman, M., & Varghese, M. (2013). Senna (Cassia senna). Natural Standard Professional Monograph. Retrieved from: http://www.naturalstandard.com/databases/herbssupplements/senna.asp?#
Heinrich, M., Barnes, J., Gibbons, S., and Williamson, E. (2012). Fundamentals of Pharmacognosy and Phytotherapy (2nd ed.). Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier.
Image: Balaji, N. (2013). Epsilon Exports & Imports. Retrieved from: http://www.epsilonexports.com/cassia-angustifolia-1592440.html