Senna: The Natural Laxative

Many people often feel constipated and it seems like this issue tends to happen more frequently during travel times. Constipation can be very inconvenient but herbal products can help you minimize and eliminate this uncomfortable condition. It’s the case of Senna supplements, a traditional herbal laxative that has been used to relieve constipation for centuries.

Senna (cassia senna) is a shrub found in India, Pakistan, and China. The leaves and pods have been used medicinally to treat and relieve constipation. Considered a “cleansing” herb because of its cathartic effect, Senna acts on the lower bowel increasing the movements of the colon. This herbcontains hydroxyanthracene glycosides known as sennosides. These glycosides stimulate colon activity and thus increase fluid secretion by the colon, with the effect of softening the stool and increasing its bulk.

Some people may develop a dependency on Senna for normal bowel movements and therefore, it must not be used for more than ten consecutive days. If constipation is not alleviated within ten days, seek the help of a healthcare professional. Senna is not recommended for children under the age of ten years and certain medicines may interact with Senna.

Some Senna species can be eaten as a vegetable. In some Southeast Asian cuisines, particularly Thailand and Laos, Siamese Senna is used in cooking, particularly in curry. Another type of Senna, often called “neutral henna”, is used as a hair treatment with effects similar to henna but without the red color.

Senna is also the primary ingredient found in most “dieter’s teas“. The combination of acting as an appetite suppressant and its laxative properties may cause food to move through their system before calories can be absorbed, leading to rapid and even dangerous weight loss.

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