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Plant Information

Common Name: SENNA
Scientific Name: Senna alexandrina
Alternative Names: Alexandrian Senna

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Senna alexandrina
Senna alexandrina


  • Perennial
  • Senna is native to Arabia, Djibouti and Somalia.
  • It is a shrubby plant with pale green, pinnate leaves that are divided into pointed lanceolate leaflets - and it can grow up to 1m tall.
  • Senna bears yellow flowers in spring and summer, followed by straight pods.
  • It needs well-drained soil in sun.
  • Prune to shape and remove dead or badly placed growths in early spring.

Parts Used

  • The leaves and pods.
  • Pick the leaves before or while the plant is in flower.
  • Pods are collected when they are ripe in autumn.

Medicinal Uses. It is said that

  • Senna is a good short term laxative herb with a tea-like aroma - not be used for chronic constipation.
  • It was first used medicinally as a laxative to treat acute (occasional) constipation by the Arabs in the 9 th century AD.
  • Senna ensures a soft stool after anal-rectal surgery, or when painful haemorrhoids are present.
  • It acts as a stimulant and irritant laxative by promoting the active secretion of water into the colon and by preventing its re-absorption.
  • It should not be taken for more than 10 days as it will then leads to weakening of the large bowel muscles.
  • Decoction for constipation:
  • Steep 3-6 pods and 1 gram of fresh ginger in one cup of freshly boiled water for 6-12 hours. Strain and drink.
The information contained within this website is for educational purposes only. This site merely recounts the traditional uses of specific plants as recorded through history. Always seek advice from a medical practitioner.

Mountain Herb Estate, and its representatives will not be held responsible for the improper use of any plants or documentation provided. By use of this site and the information contained herein you agree to hold harmless Mountain Herb Estate, its affiliates and staff

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