Sennai is medicinal herb native to Sudan and Arabia. In India, it is cultivated mainly in Southern India, especially in districts of Madurai, Tiruchirapally, and Tinnevelly. Senna is also known as Tinnevelly senna. Senna leaves are collected by hands. Then these fresh bluish leaves are shade dries, till leaves change to yellowish-green colour which is than graded and stored.
Senna is strong purgative that is useful in treating occasional constipation. It works by acting on motility of the colon by inhibiting stationary and stimulating propulsive contractions.
Botanical name: Cassia angustifolia Vahl,
Synonym: Cassia senna Linn. var. senna
Cassia acutifolia and Cassia obovata is also used as Senna/Sanaai.
Sanskrit: Markandika, Swarnapattri,
Hindi: sana, Sanaya, Hindi sana, sanai
English: Indian senna, Tinnevelly senna
Gujrati: Mindhiaval, Sonamukhi
Unani: Sannaa, Sanaa-makki,
Senaai, Sonaamukhi, Sanaa-Hindi
Punjab: Sannamakhi, Sanapati, Sarnapatta
Tamil: Nilapponnai, Avarai
Urd : Sena, Barg-e-Sana
Parts used: Leaves and pods
Properties and action of Senna leaves, as per Ayurveda:
Guna: Laghu, Ruksha, Ushna
Kannada: Nelavarika, Sonamukhi, Nelaavare, Nelavarike, Nela Aanriake
Malayalam: Sunnamukhi, Nilavaka, Chinnukki, Adapatiyan
Senna Uses in Ayurvedic Medicines
Senna leaves are used in Ayurveda for preparing medicine. Senna is useful in treatment of deranged vata and kapha dosha. It is sure and safe purgative that is useful in abdominal diseases and occasional constipation. It is useful for treating splenic enlargements, jaundice, amoebic dysentery, biliousness, distention of stomach, vomiting, hiccups gout, and rheumatism. The important formulation are Panchasakara churna and Sarivadysava.
Sanai or senna leaves can be taken in dosage of 0.5 to 2 grams in powder form. Senna pods have also purgative properties but they are milder and slower in action than the leaves. Senna should not be used in inflammatory colon diseases.