An essential herb, Senna is the base of senna tea, which gets prepared from the beneficial leaves of the Cassia Senna plant. Although some senna plants grow in moderate temperature, it is typically a native of tropical regions and thrives well there.
Senna tea is widely marketed as a potent treatment for constipation herb and as a “detox” tea. Though not scientifically recommended, it is often used to aid in weight loss.
Even, physicians in Arab are said to have discussed the medicinal qualities of senna back in the 9th century A.D. The United States Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) has approved senna herb as a non-prescription medicine for the treatment of constipation.
Senna herb is often used as a potent short-term treatment for hemorrhoids, thanks to its immense potential in treating treat constipation. However, there’s insufficient evidence to back the use of senna herb for weight loss or hemorrhoids.
What is Senna Tea: An Overview
Senna is typically a flowering plant that belongs to North Africa and is currently cultivated extensively in parts of India and China.
As per the “Magic and Medicine of Plants,” Caliph Harun al-Rashid, in the 9th century, sent for a Christian Arab physician, well-known to history by the name ‘Mesue the Elder.’
Mesue came with Senna leaves, a native to East and North Africa, and effectively treated the Caliph’s constipation symptoms! After the visit of Mesue the Elder’s, Senna got extensively used as a laxative in Baghdad.
Native Americans also recognized Senna as a laxative but used it more for relieving the symptoms of fever. As per a rare medical papyrus in Egypt, dating back to the 16th century BC, the herb Senna was prescribed by leading physicians to their distinguished patients.
Moreover, native tribes in North America used the seeds as a mucilaginous medication to treat sore throat. In general, the Cherokees utilized the bruised root, well moistened with water, to dress open sore throat. Senna was also widely used in tea for getting relief from fever characterized by paralysis and black spots.
Senna’s health benefits include providing relief from constipation, combating hair loss, treating indigestion, eliminating intestinal worms, treating skin conditions, promoting weight loss, cleansing the colon, treating hemorrhoids, helping fluid balance, boosting immunity, promoting respiratory health, preventing bacteria multiplication, and preventing bad breath.
Benefits of Senna Tea
While senna tea is known for its numerous health benefits(1), the following ten stands out:
1. Fights Hair Loss
Senna plant helps in improving scalp condition by aiding the treatment of dandruff along with prevention of hair fall and giving volume to your hair.
2. Treats Constipation
One of the significant advantages of Senna tea is its laxative action that helps relieve constipation. Typically, the Senna plant stimulates the muscles of your large intestine to facilitate quick expulsion of the fecal matter(2).
3. Combats Intestinal Worms
Intestinal worms flush out vital nutrients from your body, and if not destroyed, they can multiply and lead to severe health complications. Typically, intestinal worms can be removed using natural remedies such as the Senna herb that helps counter the impact of the worms by not just removing the adult worms, but the immature worm larvae leftover, too.
4. Cures Indigestion
Senna leaf’s purgative properties can come handy in treating a wide range of symptoms associated with indigestion. As such, this herbal plant can aid in improving the digestion Also, it soothes the intestinal tract.
5. Promotes Weight Loss
Senna plant contains phyto-compounds that aid in losing weight naturally. The Senna herb is also a low-calorie intake and, therefore, doesn’t add more calories to your body, thus acting as an ideal constituent of any weight-loss plans.
6. Treats Skin Conditions
Senna is a natural and safe way to manage skin conditions like acne and eczema along with its tremendous potential to enhance skin texture. Besides, the Senna plant comes handy in reducing the production of sebum along with increased collagen production and cell regeneration.
7. Treats Hemorrhoids
Senna is known for its effectiveness in treating inflammation of the veins along your anal passage that causes a painful condition known as hemorrhoids. By reducing the inflammation, senna speeds up the healing process and facilitates the smooth passage of stool.
8. Cleanses Colon
As such, colon cleansing may be extremely vital for supporting the overall health of your colon, particularly when there is an increased risk of developing colon cancer because of delayed stools or prolonged exposure to toxins and waste. Senna exhibits tremendous laxative properties and, therefore, aids in colon cleansing.
9. Boosts Immunity
Senna helps to enhance the defense system of your body to help in effective detection of foreign pathogens that tends to cause most chronic illnesses and infections. Also, Senna stimulates your white blood cells, helping them to fight critical ailments more efficiently.
10. Promotes Fluid Balance
Senna helps detoxify your body by flushing out the toxins via urine. Excess water and salt also get removed from your body when senna is used regularly, which helps in the regulation of fluid balance.
How to Make Senna Tea at Home?
You can easily make senna tea at home with just a few senna leaves.
- Two cups of filtered water
- 1/4 teaspoon of senna leaves, dried
- 1/2 teaspoon of sugar or honey
- Boil water in a small pot
- Add senna leaves and properly cover the pot, and let it steep for some 8 to 10 minutes
- Strain the content in a pitcher or teacup
- Add sugar or honey, and enjoy!
How Does Senna Work?
Senna tea starts taking effect within 1 to 3 hours of ingesting the beverage. Every person has different metabolism, and several other factors tend to affect how quickly the senna tea starts showing its beneficial effects.
Typically, senna tea normally it takes around a couple of hours to work if had on an empty stomach. However, the laxative effects of senna tea can be intense enough to affect individuals having a sensitive stomach.
What Are the Risks Associated with Senna Tea?
There’ve been several case reports of individuals suffering from nerve damage, coma, or liver damage after using the senna tea. In these cases, individuals were using senna tea in an extremely higher dose than recommended and for an extended time.
Individuals with certain health conditions should not consume senna, such as:
- Crohn’s disease
- Intestinal obstruction
- Ulcerative colitis
- Heart disease
Besides, anyone suffering from stomach pain or children under two years of age should refrain from using senna tea. Also, Senna may not be safe to consume during pregnancy or by breastfeeding women.
Senna Tea Side-Effects
Senna tea can cause certain uncomfortable and even severe side effects, such as:
- Electrolyte disturbances
- Fluid loss
- Abdominal pain
- Feeling faint
Also, using senna for an extended time can cause dependency to have a bowel movement, rectal bleeding, and finger clubbing (typically reversible).
If you face these problems, consult a registered medical practitioner. Also, it is essential to consume plenty of fluids such as water or juice, or an electrolyte replacement solution like Gatorade when consuming the senna tea. It is to safeguard against losing too many electrolytes or fluid, particularly if they are suffering from diarrhea.
For effectively dealing with the symptoms of abdominal pain or cramps, people must consider reducing the dose until they get substantial relief from the discomfort.
Senna tea has been approved by the US FDA as a non-prescription laxative, hence making it a worthwhile and relatively safe treatment for people suffering from acute constipation. However, it’s not recommended to use senna tea as a weight-loss treatment.
Instead, you should aim to cut down on those extra pounds with other relatively safer weight-loss measures such as exercises, consuming a diet packed with lean protein, fibrous carbohydrates, vegetables, and fruits.
It is not recommended to consume the senna tea for more than two weeks. It is best when consumed on an occasional basis. If consuming the senna tea fails to relieve your symptoms of constipation, consult your health physician.