Cassia Acutifolia

Senna, native to tropical Africa, pods and leaves have cathartic, purging quality. Has anthraquinone that stimulates the nerves of bowel wall encouraging parastolic action.Natural forces within us are the true healers of disease.

By Dr. Paul Blake, N.D.

Senna is a member of the pea family and a native plant of the areas of Africa, the Middle East and India.   The parts of Senna used as an herb are the leaf, seed and pod of Alexandria Senna and Tinnevelley Senna.   Many botanists collectively refer to them both as Senna Alexandrina.   Today it is cultivated commercially in the Middle East and the Tennevelly region of Southern India.


Traditionally Senna was used in love sachets in the Middle East.  In China they named senna Fan-Hsieh-Yeh, which means "foreign-country laxative herb."   Senna (Cassia Acutifolia) is one of the oldest known varieties of herbal medicines used in mankind's herbal medical history.    Senna is included in most pharmacopoeias of the world, and was first used by Arabian physicians in the ninth century.   Two Arabian physicians, Serapion and Sesue, are said to have given the herb its Arabic name 'Senna' and employed it as a purgative.  By 1640, Senna was cultivated and utilized in England for its cathartic properties  

Senna's Chemical Constituents and Actions

Senna is a purgative, similar to aloe and rhubarb in having as active ingredients anthraquinone derivatives and their glucosides.   Senna is cathartic and should be used in combination with other cathartic herbs of its kind to work best (see below Senna Works Best) for bowel elimination.  It should be used by itself only in cases of acute constipation.    Senna has an anthraquinone that stimulates the nerves of the bowel wall encouraging peristaltic action.   The primary chemical constituents of Senna include anthraquinone glycosides (sennosides aloe-emodin and rhein), betasitosterol, flavones, essential oil, mucilage, mucin, resin, tannin and tartaric acid.   The sennosides irritate the large intestinal lining, causing peristaltic action of the smooth muscles that push stool through the intestine causing bowel evacuation.   It also assists in the temporary retention of fluid in the large intestine, thus contributing to softer stools.

The pods are milder in their effects than the seeds of Senna as they contain less of the resin responsible for griping.     

Both the leaves and pods of Senna are used in many over-the-counter pharmaceutical preparations.   Senna is actually a common ingredient used to make some sore throat remedies. The herb is most often used in powder form, drank as a tea, or taken as a supplement.  Senna is one of the few herbal medicines approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).    Thus, Senna's over-the-counter use makes it one of the most commonly used herbal medicines in the United States (for added safety look for the words Certified Organic on the label).


Utilized to treat conditions like constipation, hemorrhoids, reduce fevers, biliousness, bad breath, colic, gallstones, gout, jaundice, menstruation, mouth sores, obesity, boils, pimples, rheumatism, treat skin diseases and kill parasites.

Why Cleanse and Detox the Colon?

Cancer Causing Poisons and Pollutants Found in a Toxic Colon:

Insecticides, lead, aluminum, selenium, mercury, cadmium, strontium, cesium, and many kinds of inorganic dust including traces of nerve gases.  Other Chemicals: Phenol, Cadaverin, Agamatine, Indol, Sulphurretted Hydrogen, Cresol, Butyric Acid, Botulin, Putrescin, Urrobilin, Histidine, Ammonia, Muscarine, Methylmercaptan, Indican, Methygandinine, Idoethylamine, Sulpherroglobine, Ptomarropine, Pentamethy Lendiamine, Neurin, Sepsin.

Health Problems Associated With a Toxic Colon

Alzheimer's, Headache (migraine and common), Lower back and Neck Pain, Skin Problems, Brain Fog, Chronic Fatigue, Cancer, Autoimmune Diseases, Allergies, Arthritis, Body Odor, Bad Breath, Brittle Nails & Hair, Blood Pressure (High or Lo), Depression, Fibroids, Endometriosis, Gas, Constipation, Hot Flashes, Menopause, Infertility, Insomnia, Irritability, Low Sex Drive, Menstrual Irregularities, Overweight - Obesity, Pot Belly, Swelling Legs & Feet, Skin Problems, Bloated, Diverticulitis/Diverticulosis, Hemorrhoids, Prostate Problems, Dementia, Hormonal Imbalance, Abdominal Cramps, Vision disturbances, Food Sensitivities, Leg Pains, Kidney and Liver Disorders, Skin Wrinkles, Fibrocystic Breasts, Acid Reflux, Parasites and worms

Senna's Influence on the Body

Bitter, pungent, cooling, or purging, cathartic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, cholagogue, cleansing, vermifuge and a blood purifier.

Senna Functions Optimally When Combined With Other Herbs

When used in combination with these other bowel herbs and assistant herbs that relax and increase the natural function of the bowel such as the bowel cleansing combination below.

Bowel Cleanse Formula with Senna

Senna, Cape Aloe leaf, Cascara Sagrada bark, Barberry root, Turkey Rhubarb root, Garlic bulb, Ginger root, Fennel seed, Black Walnut hull, Clove bud, Wormwood leaf, Habanera Cayenne pepper (for added health benefits look for the words Certified Organic on the label).


Senna additionally works as an effective vermifuge to destroy parasites and expel worms from the intestinal tract.   Many of the other herbs in the above combination are also known to kill parasites such as Black Walnut hull, Clove bud, Garlic bulb, Barberry root and Wormwood leaf, etc.


Senna can be used as a tea but should be served cold and combined with ginger, anise or fennel to avoid griping.  Suggested amount would be 2 oz 3 times a day.


Senna (Cassia Acutifolia) is not recommended if you are pregnant or menstruating.    People with Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, intestinal obstructions should not supplement with Senna.

Breast Feeding

No adverse effects have been seen in breastfed infants whose mothers were receiving Senna.   The American Academy of Pediatrics considers that Senna (Cassia Acutifolia) is therefore usually compatible with breast feeding.

Little Herb Encyclopedia, by Jack Ritchason; N.D., Woodland Publishing Incorporated, 1995
Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs, Rodale Press, Emmaus, Pennsylvania 1987
The Ultimate Healing System, Course Manual, Copyright 1985, Don Lepore
The Complete Medicinal Herbal, by Penelope Ody, Published by Dorling Kindersley
Breastfeeding Warnings, Drug Information on Line dot com
The Sam Biser Save Your Life User Manual: By Sam Biser and Dr. Richard Schulze, The University of Natural Healing, Inc.
The Ins and Outs of Non-Traditional Healing, E. Haymes Jr., Alternative Medicine: 2009
The Hidden Secret of Ayurveda, Robert F. Svoboda 1996
A life of Balance, Maya Tiwari, Ayurveda: 1994
Hippocrates Quotes ' Brainy Quotes dot com


Be sure you check all the medications that you are taking for what are called contraindications?   That is a list of things you do not want to take with your medication before anyone begins taking a supplement or herb.   If you are unsure then be sure you check with your attending physician.





Important Note:
The information presented herein by The Natural Path Botanicals is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

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