The leaves of Cassia officinalis.—Egypt.
Preparations.—The powdered leaves. Tincture of Senna.
Does—Of the powder, ʒss. to ʒij. Tincture of Senna in colic, gtt. j. to gtt. v.
Therapeutic Action.—Senna is a safe, prompt, and very efficient cathartic, and may be employed in all cases where an agent of this kind is required. It does not, however, act so efficiently on the secretions as many others, yet it produces copious alvine evacuations. It not unfrequently produces tormina, but this is readily counteracted by combining it with saccharine matter, as sugar; manna, etc.; or by the addition of bitartrate or bicarbonate of potash, or aromatics, as dill, fennel, peppermint, etc. The tendency which this agent has to irritate the gastro-intestinal mucous membrane, renders it objectionable in all cases where a predisposition to that state exists.
It is found to be beneficial in febrile and inflammatory diseases, but in these cases its beneficial effects are increased by combining it with more efficient hydragogues, as jalap, cream of tartar, etc. In bilious colic it often gives prompt and speedy relief, acting according to homoeopaths upon the principle of similia. It is recommended in cases of apoplexy, hemiplegia, coma, etc., owing to the strong impression which it makes upon the intestinal nerves, arousing their sensibility and exerting a derivative influence.
The purgative powers of Senna are said to be augmented by combining it with bitters; authors generally concur in this statement.
The Cansia Marylandica, or American Senna, is sometimes employed as a substitute for the imported article. It acts only when administered in large doses, and then not very efficiently. It may be used when a gentle cathartic is required. Dose of the powder, ʒj. to ℥iij.