Senega. Polygala senega.

Botanical name: 

Synonym—Seneca Snakeroot.

Polygalic acid, polygalin, fixed oil, resin, volatile oil, sugar, malates.


Extractum Senegae Fluidum, Fluid Extract of Senega. Dose, from ten to twenty minims.
Specific Senega. Dose, from one to twenty minims.

Physiological ActionSenega has sustained a reputation in the past, as an antidote to the poison of venomous reptiles. It is an alterative of much power, exercising a marked influence upon both the skin and mucous membranes, notably the latter. In large doses it produces nausea, vomiting and catharsis.

It causes a sensation of acridity in the throat when a moderate dose is swallowed, and may be employed in chronic pharyngitis, as a local stimulant, where the mucous membrane is relaxed and the secretion abundant.

Specific Symptomatology—The agent is indicated in typhoid pneumonitis, capillary bronchitis, in aged and debilitated subjects, chronic bronchitis with profuse secretion, in the declining stages of pneumonitis, bronchitis and croup, when the inflammatory condition has passed off, chronic bronchitis with pain and soreness in the chest and asthma.

Therapy—The agent is in use in the treatment of dropsy from obstruction and glandular enlargement, also in rheumatism, syphilis, squamous skin diseases and in amenorrhea. In inflammation of the eyelids, and iritis it is beneficial.

Senega has been employed as a stimulating expectorant in chronic bronchitis, in aged and debilitated subjects, where a stimulating medicine is demanded and in the later stages of pneumonia and catarrhal inflammations.

In these cases, given in small doses, it improves secretion, removes abnormal deposits and restores the strength.

It is an energetic stimulant to the mucous membranes of the air passages: and, when given before the inflammation has subsided, aggravates the cough and does harm. Given in small doses, it also acts as an alterative, and may thus be given in dropsy from obstruction, in syphilis, and in squamous skin diseases.

In the treatment of chronic asthma this is an efficient remedy.

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.