Feb 12, 2014
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Synonym ► C. senna Linn. var. senna.

Family ► Caesalpiniaceae.

Habitat ► Native to Sudan and Arabia. Now cultivated mainly in Tirunelveli and Ramnathpuram districts and to a lesser extent in Madurai, Salem and Tiruchirapalli districts of Tamil Nadu. Also grown on a small scale in Cuddapah district of Andhra Pradesh and certain parts of Karnataka.

English ► Indian Senna, Tinnevelly Senna.

Ayurvedic ► Svarna-pattri, Maarkandikaa, Maarkandi.

Unani ► Sannaa, Sanaa-makki, Senaai, Sonaamukhi, Sanaa-Hindi.

Siddha/Tamil ► Nilaavaarai.

Folk ► Sanaai.

Action ► Purgative (free from astringent action of rhubark type herbs, but causes gripe), used in compounds for treating biliousness, distention of stomach, vomiting and hiccups. Also used as a febrifuge, in splenic enlargements, jaundice, amoebic dysentery. Contraindicated in inflammatory colon diseases.

Key application ► Leaf and dried fruit—in occasional constipation. (German Commission E.) As a stimulant laxative. (The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia.) 1,8- dihydoxy-anthracene derivatives have a laxative effect. This effect is due to the sennosides, specifically, due to their active metabolite in the colon, rheinanthrone. The effect is primarily caused by the influence on the motility of the colon by inhibiting stationary and stimulating propulsive contractions. (German Commission E, ESCOP, WHO.) Seena has been included in I.P. as a purgative.

Most of the Senna sp. contain rhein, aloe-emodin, kaempferol, isormam- netin, both free and as glucosides, together with mycricyl alcohol. The purgative principles are largely attributed to anthraquinone derivatives and their glucosides.

Senna is an Arabian name. The drug was brought into use by Arabian physicians for removing capillary congestion (pods were preferred to leaves).

The active purgative principle of senna was discovered in 1866.

Cassia acutifolia Delile is also equated with Maarkandikaa, Svarna-pattri, Sanaai.

Dosage ► Leaves—500 mg to 2 g (API Vol. I.)

Article Categories:
Indian Medicinal Plants

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