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Senna

(S) Rajavriksha (king of the trees)

(C) Fan xia ye

Part Used: leaves, pods (milder)

Energetics: bittter / cooling/ pungent PK- V+

Tissues: plasma, blood, fat

Systems: excretory, digestive, circulatory

Actions: purgative, anthelmintic, antipyretic, alterative

Indications: constipation, inflammatory skin conditions, hypertension, obesity

Precautions: hemorrhoids, inflammatory conditions of the g.i. tract, diarrhea, pregnancy

Preparation: infusion (hot or cold), powder (1 to 2 gms) as purgative

SENNA is a strong purgative that should be taken with care and in proper dosage. It has an irritant effect upon the intestinal membrane, and may cause griping, pain or nausea, along with liquid stools or diarrhea. It can be corrected by adding 1/4 amount of stomachic herbs, like ginger or fennel seeds, with its dosage.

Senna is mainly for severe constipation, the constipation following a fever, or for clearing Pitta from the small intestines (as in virechana purgative therapy). However, it cannot be used where there is inflammation in the g.i. tract itself; not because it is heating, but because it is irritating. Except in conditions where rhubarb is not available or does not work, rhubarb is generally preferable to it and has fewer side effects.

Repeated use of strong purgatives, even of an herbal nature, may aggravate constipation and weaken the tone of the colon. Chronic constipation may be dealt with better by a moistening therapy and by laxative oils.

   
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