Senna leaf is an extremely strong bowel booster. It possesses antibacterial properties. It also works as a natural laxative and is primarily known for its purgative properties. Consuming Senna leaf powder or drinking Senna leaf tea encourages bowel movements. The leaf causes the walls of your large intestine to contract, which will push stools through your system. Therefore, it is helpful in relieving constipation, often leading to bowel movements within 6 – 12 hours after ingestion. It also purifies blood and restores the metabolic imbalance lost due to indigestion.
It is also a natural anti-inflammatory substance. Pain while defecating can be because of an obstruction in your rectum, also known as Hemorrhoid, and irritating the rectum can lead to inflammation. Senna leaf is useful in painful hemorrhoids, as it ensures soft and easy bowel movements. It is useful in relieving some symptoms associated with hemorrhoids. Finally, short-term use of Senna leaves may help to eliminate toxins and undigested food in the large intestine. Besides its use as a mild laxative, it’s other benefits include purification of the yellow and black bile and is also used in the in the treatment of angina of the heart (angina pectoris), black jaundice, hepatitis, herpes simplex, cracking of the skin, migraine headache, hair loss, lice ,scabies, skin pimples, itching and epilepsy and for relaxing muscle tension.
Dosage: 0.5 – 2 grams of the leaf in powder form with water.
How to make:
- Senna leaf tea is prepared by pouring hot (but not boiling) water over 0.5 to 2 grams (one-quarter teaspoon) of crushed Senna leaves. Steep it for about 10 minutes and strain. Alternatively, this tea can also be prepared by steeping crushed Senna leaves for 12 hours in cold water and then straining.
- Senna leaf powder is prepared by grinding the leaves to a fine powder. To reduce the likelihood of intestinal pain when taking this powder, mix it with equal quantities of powdered fennel seeds (Saunf).
Individuals using Senna leaves for constipation should consume enough fiber and water every day. Aim for a total dietary fiber intake of at least 25 grams daily for women and 38 grams per day for men. Increase your fiber intake gradually and drink at least eight glasses of water daily to avoid potential side effects of fiber, such as gas and bloating. The more fiber you consume, the more fluids you should drink, says the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Henceforth, you should consume enough fiber and enough water while using this herb in routine. People who cannot use Senna due to its side effects can also try the pods of the plant as they are considered less potent.
Senna leaves are considered generally safe, still some precautions are necessary while using it. Individuals suffering from a colon disorder or heart disease should consult with a doctor before taking this herb. They can cause certain side effects such as nausea, vomiting or an upset stomach. Frequent use of this herb should be avoided as it develops dependency and should never be used by people suffering from serious digestive disorders. Senna can cause cramping, nausea and diarrhea and the urine may take on reddish hue (which is harmless). Because of this action, Senna is usually used along with carminative herbs, such as ginger and fennel. It can also have an adverse effect on certain medications, including diuretics, blood thinners, and digoxin. It may interact with heart medications because it lowers your potassium levels. Potassium is needed for normal heart beats. Individuals taking any of these medications should speak with their doctor before taking Senna leaf in any form. It is not recommended for women who are menstruating, nursing or pregnant.