Senna or sanai is small, perennial, branched medicinal shrub that is used as common laxative for treating constipation. For the medicinal purpose leaves and pods of the plant are used. The pods are milder and slower in action in comparison to leaves. For the medicinal purpose leaves are taken orally in the form of powder (1-2 grams), tincture (5-20 ml), decoction (20-50 ml), and compound infusion (20-50 ml). The main producer and exporter of senna products is India. Senna, which is used as medicine is the leaves and pods of Cassia species. Various cassia species that are used as Senna are Cassia angustifolia, Cassia senna, Cassia acutifolia and Cassia obovata, belonging to sub-family Caesalpiniaceae; family fabaceae/Leguminosae.
Cassia angustifolia is known as Tinnevelly Senna (cultivated in eastern and southern India) and Cassia senna is known as Alexandrian senna (found along Egypt and Sudan). The vernacular names of senna are Sonamukhi (Hindi), Nilavaka (Malyalam), Mulkacha (Marathi), Nilavirai (Tamil) and Nilaponna (Telgu).
Using Sanai or Senna for curing constipation
- Take 1 teaspoon of senna leaves and 1 teaspoon of fennel. Boil in glass of water. Drink this infusion before going to bed.
- Prepare powder of senna leaves. Mix this with an equal amount of ginger powder and fennel seed powder. Take 1 teaspoon of this mixed powder with a glass of warm water at bed time.
- Take 100 grams of senna leaves and 25 grams of raisins. Grind well and roll into small balls of marble size. Take one at night with hot water.
- Prepare senna tea by boiling ½ to 1 teaspoon in a glass of boiling water. 4
Senna leaves must not be used for more than 1-2 weeks without medical supervision. Also it not be used in children below 12 years of age.