Botanical Name: Cassia angustifolia, C. senna, C. acutifolia | Family: Leguminosae

Common name(s): Senna


  • Subtropical shrub native to India and Africa | 6 1/2 feet tall  | Big yellow flowers followed by legume-like pods
  • Full sun | Alkaline soil (ph 7-8.5) with good drainage


Harvest leaves before or while plant is in flower. Harvest pods in autumn. Leaves are stronger medicine than pods and aren’t used as often.


Infusion: Steep the dried pods* in warm water for 6-12 hours. Take in the evening before bedtime.

Tincture: 2-7 ml, 3x/day

* Two types of pods are sold commercially. If using Alexandrian Senna, use 3-6 pods per cup of water. If using Tinnevelly Senna, use 4-13 pods.


Constituents: Anthraquinones, essential oil, flavones, mucin, salts, tartaric acid, traces of tannin and resin

Actions: Cathartic, laxative, purgative

Uses: Acute constipation

Combinations: combine with a smaller amount of ginger to help prevent griping pains in the intestines

Cautions: constipation is a symptom of a larger problem that needs to be dealt with. Too frequent usage can create a laxative dependency. Do not use during pregnancy.


  • Bitter, sweet, cold


Apparently senna is one of the most well-known herbs because it is used widely for constipation. It was not on my radar, so glad to know more about it, outside of prepared pills.