Senna is known as an aid for constipation. Pharmaceutically, it can be in suppository form, in tablet (Senokot), in capsule (Laxen) and in liquid form (Castoria). It is categorized as a laxative and a purgative. Interestingly, senna is also known as a slimming tea. But, is it recommendable for such use?
While there are about 350 species of senna, only 50 species are known for cultivation. And among these cultivated species, the Tinnevelly senna (Cassia Angustifolia Vahl) and the Alexandria senna (Cassia acutifolia Delile) are the most recognized.
Senna is a cathartic – a type of agent that acts as a purgative. Similar to aloe vera, cascara sagrada and rhubarb, it contains antraquinone and some related glycosides which is responsible for its effect. These active constituents exert action by stimulating the colon activity, speeding the bowel movement and then increasing the fluid elimination.
Senna is an excellent treatment for functional constipation. But, while its tablet, syrup, capsule and suppository form is only indicated for use as a laxative, senna tea is also used for weight loss.
Senna – slimming herbal tea
When senna cleanses and eliminates the toxin through defecation, it also takes out the fatty and oily food from inside the body. Its laxative composition flushes the food out of the body, minimizing the absorption of calories.
While senna tea can be brewed at home, there are prepared branded types that can be bought in drugstore outlets and groceries. Some commercial brands of senna tea include Biguerlai, Biofit and Bija Gentle Senna.
One cup of senna tea is indicated once a day.
Senna tea is not to be given to an individual who has a heart disease, to someone who has intestinal obstruction or bowel disorders like ulcerative colitis. It is also to be used in precaution with pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. In addition, children under 12 years old are also not advised to take senna tea.
The common side effects of senna tea include stomach pains, nausea and diarrhea.
Senna tea can interfere with the effect of lanoxin, a heart medication and it should not be used with diuretics to avoid lessening of potassium.
Image by the author
So, is senna tea recommendable for weight loss?
Senna tea is not advisable for prolonged use. It is not recommended for more than two weeks. Not only that there is the risk for liver damage, a diet with senna tea may not be healthy since loss of water, nutrients and electrolytes are also involved. Long term use can affect the bowels to function properly. More to this, senna can also change the balance of electrolytes in the body that may result to heart disorders.
Fortunately, senna tea as a weight loss reducer may not be required for a straight seven or even a fourteen day use. As cited, one side effect of senna is frequent bowel evacuation. For someone who uses senna tea for constipation, it won’t be a discomfort but a relief. However, for an individual who has no problem in defecating, going to the bathroom two to three times early in the morning can be a distress.
Senna tea as a herbal slimming tea can be used two to three times a week. Its dose can also be skipped. While senna tea can detoxify the body from impurities and remove the excessive fats; drinking it from time to time can be helpful in reducing weight.
Although, one must bear in mind that drinking a diet tea is not enough. To have the desired result, dieters must also watch what they eat and they must learn how to control consumption. Finally, a regular exercise can also do wonders.
© Phoenix Montoya @ February 17, 2012
- Pharmacognosy 9th edition by Tyler, Brady and Robbers
- Biguerlai information box