Senna is a herb used to treat constipation due to its natural laxative effects. The leaves and the pods of senna are used to make alternative medicine remedies and can be found as liquid extracts, capsules and tablets. Other effective part of the plant are the roots, so the medicine is also found in the form of dried root .
Powerful natural laxatives
Senna is a popular cure for constipation because it contains anthraquinones. This ingredient produces bowel movements after six to twelve hours after is being administered. Senna can be used against occasional constipation, but it is not intended for daily use. It can also be used to clean the bowls before a colonoscopy. There are diets and supplements which contain senna to help detoxify the body before a new diet.
How does senna work?
Senna acts by irritating the intestinal walls, which, in turn respond by throwing out all the waste. This is why it should not be used on daily basis. The plants’ fruits are considered to be more gentle than the leaves, but they should not be used excessively either.
What are the side effects?
As any herb, senna’s qualities come at a price. Side effects like cramps, stomach pains caused by the intestine’s contractions or diarrhea are common, but there are also a few severe side effects. If you use senna too often or more than two weeks you may experience general weakness, dehydration, heart distress or liver damage. Long use of this laxative can also cause nausea and dizziness because you lose electrolytes.
Some people experience rashes and swelling of the fingertips while using senna.
Senna can cause the urine to discolor, but this is not a severe side effect.
Who can use it?
Senna can be used effectively by adults and children older than 2 years. Pregnant or nursing women should ask their doctor’s advice before using senna as large doses or long use will cause it to pass into the milk and on to the baby.
People who suffer from irritable bowls, electrolyte imbalance, liver issues, diarrhea or dehydration should not use senna as it can make all these worst. Conditions like kidney diseases, Crohn’s disease, hemorrhoids, heart failure, anemia, different types of interventions on the colon or gastrointestinal cancer are not advised to use senna.
Interactions with other medicines
Senna can be purchased without prescription, but it can interact in bad ways with some medicines, so if you are on a chronic disease treatment, ask your doctor’s approval before using senna.
If you experience any other type of side effect, like watery stools or bloody stools, stop using senna and call your doctor.