Common Name   :SENNA

Plant Parts Used  :Pods and Leaves

Description         :

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.
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.

Actions and Uses :

Maximum cathartic action was seen in rats with 80 mg/kg in eight hours - due to direct stimulant activity and water and electrolyte secretions. Senna extract introduced into the lumen of the bowel through colostomy had no effect on the motility, though the same extract introduced with faeces or a culture of Escherichia coli stimulated peristalsis. Sublaxative doses of standardised senna fruit showed spasmolytic activity. Effective dose of piperazine for the treatment of threadworms and roundworms was substantially reduced by the addition of extract of senna. Water extract was found effective against Trichophyton purpurceum. Leaves and pods are used traditionally as purgatives, Topical use of the leaves for dermatosis is also not uncommon. Laxative effect of standardized senna fruit granules was compared with liquid paraffin or a mixture of liquid paraffin and magnesium hydroxide in fifty nursing mothers. Senna was more effective than the control treatment in overcoming puerpural constipation while the bowel habits of infants were not affected. It is a safe laxative. It may cause griping for which the drug is to be used with ginger.

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