Senna. Cassia acutifolia.

Botanical name: 

Synonym—Alexandria Senna.

Cathartic acid, Sennacrol, sennapicrin, chrysophan, phaeoretin, cathartomannit, mucilage.


Confectio Sennae, Confection of Senna. Dose, one to two drams.
Extractum Sennae Fluidum, Fluid Extract of Senna. Dose, half to one dram.
Infusum Sennae Compositum, Compound Infusion of Senna. Dose, one to three ounces.
Pulvis Glycyrrhizae Compositus, Powder of Liquorice. Dose, twenty to sixty grains.
Pulvis Jalapae Compositus, Compound Powder of Jalap. ( A. D.) Beach's Antibilious Physic. Dose, one dram.
Specific Medicine Senna. Dose, from one to thirty minims.

TherapySenna is an efficient remedy, mild, kindly, certain and uniform in its action. It is a constituent of the larger number of the proprietary laxative or cathartic compounds, syrups, cordials or elixirs.

It is used in all cases of temporary constipation, however induced. An infusion of the leaves is not unpalatable and is promptly active. It produces normal evacuations of the bowels and if used carefully there is but little griping. It is used after surgical operations, after confinement, in the constipation of the feeble, and. in many cases of inactive bowels, among infants and children. It is not used where a powerful derivative is needed, or where active cholagogue or hydragogue influence is demanded. It has a narrow but important sphere.

Co-operatives—In combination with ginger, capsicum or black pepper, it is useful in atonic conditions with inactivity of the bowels. With magnesium sulphate, or potassium bitartrate, it will induce more of a hydragogue effect. In combination with leptandra it acts more specifically upon the liver; with jalap, and ginger it was long known as antibilious physic and was given whenever "biliousness" was diagnosed; with rhubarb and peppermint it is a tonic, laxative and carminative of greatly improved value. It is the active constituent of the well known and popular, Compound liquorice powder.

The composition of this powder is, as follows:

Senna and liquorice in fine powder, of each two ounces;
fennel fruit, sublimed sulphur, of each one ounce;
refined sugar, six ounces.

Mix thoroughly. Dose, from one-fourth to one dram in water.

The following is an excellent, simple laxative:

A strong, infusion of senna leaves is made and strained. In the clear liquid good French prunes are stewed until thoroughly cooked. One of these three or four times daily will overcome many cases of constipation, especially when the tendency is only temporary, or due perhaps to other conditions, temporary in their character, as during tedious convalescence. Especially useful in pregnancy.

Figs and senna leaves, chopped together, finely, have been long in use for laxative purposes.

The American Materia Medica, Therapeutics and Pharmacognosy, 1919, was written by Finley Ellingwood, M.D.
It was scanned by Michael Moore for the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine.