Senna leaf

Senna Pod

Uncover Hidden Herbs meanings

Senna is a general term that includes flowers that have been classified into genus flowering plants under Fabaceae family and Caesalpinioideae sub family.

The genus is common in all tropics and quite a small number grow in the temperate regions. The total number of the species is approximately 260. However, some botanists have argued that they are nearly 350.

The senna are shrubs or subshrubs which may become scadent if they grow where other vegetation grows. There are quite a number of this species that grow into small trees with extrafloral nectaries. They have compound leaves paripinnate and have leaflets that take an opposite pattern. The leaves inflorescence is racemes while their pedicel do not have bracteoles.

Senna flowers don’t produce nectar, they are pollinated by buzzes in exchange for pollen. The flowers are asymmetrical and identical with five petals. They are mostly yellow but can be white in rare occasions.  On maturity, the senna flower produces legumes that are either of indehiscent and tardily dehiscent.

Senna leaves will help to

  • Relax the muscles.
  • Alleviate constipation.
  • Enhance movement of food in the colon.

Medical uses

For many centuries, sennas have been relied on by medicine men and herbalists in the cure of several diseases and relieve from various conditions. It was also a common tool of trade in some previous centuries, for example, senna Alexandria was very common among the people who were living along the nile river.

Senna leaves can as well act as purgatives, they are comparable to aloe Vera and rhubarb in terms of active ingredients anthraquinone and the corresponding glucosides. When derived from the senna, glycosides earn the name senna glycosides or sennosides. Up to date, Senna Alexandria has a profound use as a laxative in medicine, it is also used to lower bowels more so in relieving the patient of constipation. This is enhanced by the herb’s ability to irritate the colon’s mucus glands leading to increased peristaltic movements. The herb is made into an infusion prior to use by the patients.

Senna contains anti-inflammatory compounds that are used in to treat food poisoning cases. These days,, the use of senna seed is in wide practice where the Alexandrian senna is the most used of the senna species. It has various uses but the most common ones are in tonics and remedies.

Note that the use of senna seed is associated with various side effects which are quite negative to the human body, with regard to this; there is caution to use limited amounts of the herb. In fact, senna contains several toxins as well as the curative compounds.

By Florance Saul
Aug 29, 2012