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 :

Capsaicin is shown to be a potent stressor agent and produces a rise in corticosterone level. When applied to human skin, capsaicin produces erythema and burning without blistering. Intragastrically, capsaicin promotes ulceration. Capsaicin at a dilution of 1 : 1,000 showed bacteriostatic activity against several organisms. Oleoresin red pepper - obtained from the longer, moderately pungent chillies chiefly used for flavouring. Since its introduction, the chilli has become the most popular spice and replaced black pepper to a very large extent. Capsicum wool, prepared by dissolving the oleoresin in ether and pouring it on absorbent cotton wool, is useful in rheumatoid affections. Capsicum tincture has been employed externally in the treatment of chilblains. Chilli, in small doses, is a powerful stimulant and carminative. It stimulates the secretion of saliva and gastric juice, and increases peristaltic movements and motility of stomach. It is an excellent remedy in atonic and flatulent dyspepsia and dipsomania.

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