Senna alexandrina

Plant family: Leguminosae (Pea family)

Part used: leaf

Taste: bitter

Historical commentary: The herb was originally brought to medicinal use in Egypt long ago, and from there it entered Greek medicine at the time of Hippocrates.


Aperient: mild laxative; in high doses, it can be a strong laxative.

Modern findings: The herb has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory actions, mainly due to its anthracene glycosides, commonly called senosides.

Dosage: 0.5 to 2.0 grams; varies according to desired strength of laxative action.

Active constituents: The anthracene glycosides are responsible for the laxative effect; they are absorbed at the small intestine into the blood stream and exert their effect mainly on the lower part of the colon.

Cautions: Intestinal cramping may occur, especially at higher doses; this can be counteracted with antispasmodic carminative herbs, such as anise and fennel. It is not recommended for use during pregnancy and lactation, but a laxative effect has not been observed in nursing infants.

Künzle Formula: Laxative Tea.