Origin: Senna is a shrub native to Egypt, Sudan, Nigeria and Nubia in North Africa, as well as India,Pakistan and China, Sennas are herbaceous shrubs and both varieties used, Alexandrian and Tinnevelly, have desert origins.
Senna Leaf consists of the dried leaflets of the pinnate leaves of Cassia Senna L. (C. acutifolia Delile), known as Alexandrian Senna, and C. angustifolia Vahl, known as Tinnevelly Senna, or narrowleaf senna, a herbal undershrub, of the Leguminosae family. The latter is mainly produced in India, Egypt and Sudan, while the former in primarily produced in Egypt. It is also cultivated in Guangdong, Guangxi and Yunnan in China. In China, the herb is harvested in September, then the leaves are dried in the sun and used when raw.
Dosage and Preparation - Senna is taken orally using dosages that include 20 to 60 milligrams of pure senna extract or 1-2 teaspoons of the crushed herb or herb powder which is equal to approx. 20 grams of powder or 10 grams of actual herb. The strength of commercial preparations may vary, so follow the manufacturer's recommendations found on the packaging.
Senna is available as a crushed herb, as a liquid, or as a powdered extract. Senna tea can is prepared by pouring hot (but not boiling) water over 1/2 to 2 grams (one-quarter teaspoon) of crushed senna herb, steep for about 10 minutes and strain. Senna tea can also be prepared by steeping crushed senna for 12 hours in cold water and then straining. Many individuals claim that preparing senna as a cold tea produces less resin in the tea, whereby decreasing the likelihood of abdominal cramps.
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Senna is a very powerful laxative, so powerful many call it cathartic. Herbalist all support its laxative action; but warn of its disgusting taste. As with all herbal nutrition supplements, senna leaves should only be used in amounts typically recommended for medicinal purposes and you should always consult with a health professional first, especially if you are pregnant, nursing or taking prescription medications. If symptoms for which the herb is being used do not improve significantly in two weeks contact your physician.
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