Cassia Acutifolia

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Senna alexandrina (Alexandrian senna, in Arabic and see below) is an ornamental plant in the genus Senna. It is used in herbal-ism. It grows natively in upper Egypt, especially in the Nubian region, and near Khartoum (Sudan), where it is cultivated commercially. It is also grown elsewhere, notably in India and Somalia.

Alexandrian Senna is a shrubby plant that reaches 0.5–1, rarely two, meters in height with a branched, pale-green erect stem and long spreading branches bearing four or five pairs of leaves. These leaves form complex, feathery, mutual pairs. The leaflets vary from 4 to 6 pairs, fully edged, with a sharp top. The midribs are equally divided at the base of the leaflets. The flowers are in a raceme interior blossoms, big in size, colored yellow that tends to brown. Its legume fruit are horned, broadly oblong, compressed and flat and contain about six seeds.

When cultivated, the plants are cut down semi-annually, dried in the sun, stripped and packed in palm-leaf bags. They are then sent on camels to Essouan and Davao, then down the Nile to Cairo or else to Red Sea ports. For the nomadic Abated, for example, trade in senna provides a significant source of income.

Senna is an herb. The leaves and the fruit of the plant are used to make medicine.

Senna is an FDA-approved over-the-counter (OTC) laxative. A prescription is not required to purchase senna. It is used to treat constipation and also to clear the bowel before diagnostic tests such as colonoscopy.

Senna is also used for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), anal or rectal surgery, tears in the lining of the anus (anal fissures), hemorrhoids, and weight loss.

Senna fruit seems to be gentler than senna leaf. This has led the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) to warn against long-term use of senna leaf, but not senna fruit. The AHPA recommends that senna leaf products be labeled, “Do not use this product if you have abdominal pain or diarrhea. Consult a healthcare provider prior to use if you are pregnant or nursing. Discontinue use in the event of diarrhea or watery stools. Do not exceed recommended dose. Not for long-term use.”

Cassia angustifolia (Senna), used as a laxative, is a plant from the Fabaceae family. It includes hydroxyanthracene glycosides, also known as Senna Sennoside. These glycosides stimulate the peristalsis of the colon and alter colonic absorption and secretion resulting in fluid accumulation and expulsion. In the literature, there are reports illustrating the hepatocyte effects of Cassia angustifolia but there is no report of portal vein thrombosis caused by Cassia Angustifolia.

A 42-year-old woman was admitted to the emergency department with a five-day history of worsening epigastric pain, anorexia, episodic vomiting, and intermittent fever. She reported that she had boiled dried senna leaves she had bought from herbalists and drank approximately 200 ml daily for two years. Color Doppler screening found an echo gen thrombus obliterating portal vein bifurcation and the right branch. The lumen was obstructed at this level and there was no blood flow through it. Treatment with thrombolytic was unsuccessful.

Severe hepatocyte senna use is unusual. The cause of senna-related hepatocyte is unclear but could be explained by the exposure of the liver to unusual amounts of toxic metabolites of antineutrino glycosides

The Health Benefits of Senna Tea

Senna tea is a popular herbal treatment made from the leaves of the senna plant (typically Cassia acutifolia or Cassia angustifolia). The active ingredients are compounds called anthraquinones, which are powerful laxatives.

Senna tea is also used for other indications, including weight loss. There is some evidence linking senna to certain laxative benefits, but investigations involving the tea are lacking.

Health Benefits

While a number of studies have tested the effects of senna in powder or capsule form, very few studies have looked at the potential health benefits of drinking senna tea.

Some proponents suggest that drinking the tea can promote detoxification and weight loss. To date, there is no evidence that senna tea can provide those benefits. Additionally, the use of laxatives isn’t considered a safe way to lose weight or reduce body fat.

Most scientific studies investigating the health benefits of senna focus on its potential for use in the treatment of constipation and other gastrointestinal disorders.


Senna tea is most commonly used for occasional constipation. Researchers have found that the active compounds in senna have a strong laxative effect. They work by irritating the lining of the colon, promoting colon contractions and bowel movements. Senna also prevents water and electrolytes from being reabsorbed from the colon, which increases fluids in the intestines and softens stool.1

However, a large research review published in the Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology did not identify senna as a first course of action in the treatment of constipation. Study authors said that the quality of evidence supporting the use of senna is low. They also cited concerns regarding the fact that doses vary depending on preparation and not enough is known about the safety or efficacy of long-term use.

Senna is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as an over-the-counter (OTC) laxative in the United States. A prescription is not required to purchase senna.

Colonoscopy Prep

Senna has been used in conjunction with other agents for colon cleansing prior to undergoing colonoscopy.Colonoscopy is a type of medical procedure widely used in screening for colon cancer. Some evidence supports this use, although much of it dates back to the 1980s and 1990s.2

Other Gastrointestinal Disorders

Senna tea is sometimes used for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and bloating. But there is not enough scientific evidence to support the use of senna tea or other senna preparations to treat these conditions.

Possible Side Effects

Side effects are generally mild and limited when used for the short-term treatment of constipation. Stomach discomfort, cramps, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting are the most common side effects.3

If you have Croon’s disease, ulcerative colitis, appendicitis, senna allergy, diarrhea, dehydration, abdominal pain, or a condition that causes intestinal obstruction, you shouldn’t take senna tea. If you have any type of heart, liver, or kidney condition, it’s crucial that you consult your doctor before using senna.

Senna may interact with certain drugs and supplements. Taking senna with diuretics, for instance, may cause potassium levels in the body to become too low.

Although in some cases, senna tea may be used for a longer period of time when under medical supervision, longer-term use of senna tea and higher doses have been linked to serious health problems such as liver injury, electrolyte disturbances, and changes in heart rhythms.

In a 2005 report from the Annals of Pharmacotherapy, a 52-year-old woman reported to have ingested one liter of senna tea every day for more than three years and suffered acute liver failure. The report’s authors determined that the patient’s liver damage was likely the result of her excessive intake of senna tea.4

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, consult your health care provider before using senna tea. Some studies have suggested that the use of senna does not increase the incidence of congenital abnormalities, but more studies are needed to know for sure.5

Are there other natural treatments for constipation?

If you or someone you know is experiencing constipation, it’s a good idea to talk with your healthcare provider if you haven’t already. There are many causes of constipation, and some can be effectively treated with other measures like adding certain high fiber foods to your diet. In some cases, constipation may signal an underlying condition such as a thyroid disorder. Treating the underlying condition may provide relief from constipation.

Is Cassia Acutifolia Tea Good for Losing Weight?

Cassia acutifolia tea is a powerful laxative that can produce side effects including diarrhea, nausea and dehydration when improperly used. Any weight loss that results from drinking this tea will be temporary and will not involve loss of body fat. Consumption of the tea for more than 10 days may endanger the user’s health.

Cassia Acutifolia Plant

Cassia acutifolia and Cassia senna are two closely related shrubs often referred to as senna. Cassia acutifolia grows in India and northeastern Africa, while Cassia senna grows along the Nile in northern Africa, according to “The American Pharmaceutical Association Practical Guide to Natural Medicines.” People have used the dried leaves and sometimes the pods of the plant as a laxative since before written records were kept.

Cassia Acutifolia Tea

“A Modern Herbal” recommends making senna tea as follows: Add 100 g of senna leaves and 5 g of sliced ginger or coriander seeds to one liter of distilled water and boil, covered, for 15 minutes. Strain it while it’s still hot. People usually add aromatic herbs when preparing senna in order to mask the herb’s nauseating smell and taste, advises “The American Pharmaceutical Association Practical Guide to Natural Medicines.”

Side Effects

A very powerful medicine, senna can cause serious reactions if not used properly. Side effects may include diarrhea, nausea, severe cramps and dehydration. Take stimulant laxatives such as this for no longer than 10 days, as longer use may cause chronic diarrhea and cramps, laxative dependence, and loss of critical fluids and salts such as potassium that can lead to other complications. Do not take senna if you have any kind of intestinal obstruction or abdominal pain of unknown origin, and take it only after consulting a medical professional if you suffer from inflammatory bowel disease or are pregnant or nursing, states “The American Pharmaceutical Association Practical Guide to Natural Medicines.”

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