Senna is an inexpensive but effective herbal remedy for curing constipation. It is a strong purgative that helps to evacuate bowel. Senna is also known by many other names such as Alexandrina senna, Tinnevelly Senna or Indian Senna, Sanai, Sanay, Sana Ka Patt, Sonamukhi and Swarnpatri. For medicinal use shade dried leaves and pods of senna plant is used. Few ayurvedic preparation that contains senna leaves are Pancha Sakar Churna, Madhu Yastyadi Churna, Madhur virechan Churna, Sukh virechan Churna, Saral Virechan Churna and Kayam Churna. Unani medicines containing senna are Itrifal Mulayyin, Jawarish Ood Mulayyin, Hab Shabyar, Sufuf Mulliyin, Sharbat Ahmad Shahi.
While using senna, or senna containing products one must be careful and must know how it interacts with other medicine and what are its side-effects. It is a strong purgative that can cause laxative dependency syndrome. If used continuously for long duration it can pose many health risks. It should be used only for occasional constipation only. For curing constipation the best way is to make lifestyle changes and have fibre rich diet.
Here are side-effects and warning about uses of senna herb
- Senna is strong purgative and can cause diarrhoea, nausea and cramp.
- Senna is a habit-forming laxative. Regular daily use will make your body seena-dependent for normal motion.
- Do not use senna leaves, pods or medicine containing it during pregnancy.
- Do not use senna if you suffers from any type of intestinal disease, inflammation of alimentary canal, intestinal obstruction, ulcerative colitis, appendicitis, and Crohn disease.
- Avoid using senna, if you are taking diuretics and steroids as senna can interfere with their intestinal absorption.
- Avoid using senna without consulting doctor if you are taking cardiac glycosides, antiarrhythmic medicinal products, medicinal products inducing QT-prolongation, diuretics, adrenocorticosteroids or liquorice root.
- Do not use it for more than 1-2 weeks for constipation cure as its use for a long duration can cause various side-effects such as potassium loss, water loss from body and severe electrolyte imbalance.
- Senna or herbal products containing senna should not be used during loose motion and abdominal pain.
- Senna leaves may cause abdominal pain and other gastro-intestinal symptoms. It may also cause diarrhoea, especially in patients suffering from irritable colon.
- Intake of senna should be avoided in case of undiagnosed, acute/persistent gastro-intestinal complaints, such as pain in abdomen, nausea and vomiting. As these symptoms can be signs of a potential or existing intestinal blockage.