Senna Leaves (Botanical Name: Cassia angustifolia) Family name: Caeslpinaceae Common name: Seena, Indian Seena, Tinnervelly Senna, Cassia Senna Part Used: Pods, Stems, Leaves Habitat: Cultivated in dry lands of Southern & Western India and indegenous to Arabia. Description and composition: The Cassia plant family has 300 - 600 species of trees, shrubs, vines and herbs with numerous species growing in the South American rainforests and tropics. Many species have been used medicinally and these tropical plants have a rich history in natural medicine. Various Cassia plants have been known since the 9th or 10th century as purgatives and laxatives including Cassia angustifolia and Cassia Senna which is known as Senna. Fedegoso or Cassia occidentalis, is a small tree growing 5 to 8 meters in height which is found in many tropical areas of South America including the Amazon. Indigenous to Brazil, it is also found in warmer climates and tropical areas of South, Central and North America. Seena is an Arabian name, and the drug was first brought into use by the Arabian physicians Serapion and Mesue, and Achiarius was the first of the Greeks to notice it. Cassia angustifolia is native to India and cultivated mainly in India and Pakistan. People in northern Africa and southwestern Asia have used senna as a laxative for centuries. It was considered a “cleansing” herb because of its cathartic effect. In addition, the leaves were sometimes made into a paste and applied to various skin diseases. Healing power and curative properties : Constipation : Senna is a powerful cathartic used in the treatment of constipation, working through a stimulation of intestinal peristalsis. Senna is mainly for severe constipation, the constipation following a fever or for clearing Pitta from the small intestines. Inflammatory skin conditions : The leaves were sometimes made into a paste and applied to various skin diseases. Ringworm and acne were both treated in this way. It is also used in hypertension and obesity. Senna leaf is a strong anthraquinone- containing purgative that is used in constipation. Though Senna is a laxative, which theoretically should be good for Vata, it is a peristalsis enhancer that will provoke Vata in the long run through its bitter taste and cold energy. Because of its substantial squeezing action, Senna is usually used along with carminative herbs, such as ginger and fennel.
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