The senna plant exists in different varieties and basically belongs to the genus Cassia of the legume or pea family. These plants are usually found in the tropical and subtropical areas such as India and Africa. Some wild forms of this plant can also be seen growing on the eastern side of the United States.
The fruit leaves and pods of the senna plant are utilized for making several medicinal products. These include senna supplements and senna tea.
Senna tea is usually derived from two subtypes of senna plants including Cassia angustifolia and Cassia acutifolia.
Does senna have stool softening properties? Is it a laxative?
Yes, senna is actually a laxative which means that it can help relieve constipation. At the same time, it can also stimulate the emptying of bowels.
As a laxative, senna can help in the stimulation of the intestinal contractions that ultimately lead to the bowel movements. These contractions are normally caused by different chemicals in senna known as anthraquinone glycosides or sennosides.
The laxative properties of senna are only helpful if the sennosides present in its composition are converted into rheinanthrones with the help of bacteria present in your colon.
What are the benefits of senna tea? What are its side effects? There is a lot to know about this extremely beneficial herbal tea so, keep reading.
Benefits and Uses of Senna Tea
Some of the most important benefits to obtain from senna are explained below.
- Relief from Constipation
Constipation is an extremely common health concern and is one of the top reasons why you would be interested in using senna. Senna tea has been approved by the FDA as a safe non-prescription laxative.
How can senna help? Senna has been proven to soften the stools in constipated people and can also increase the weight and frequency of the stool.
How long will it take for senna to work as a laxative?
In general, Senna takes eight hours to start working. However, the duration may vary between 6 to 12 hours.
It is advised to take senna tea before going to bed so that it may relieve you of constipation the next day. As a part of the natural constipation remedies, it can provide temporary relief but is not a permanent solution.
- Hemorrhoids Treatment
Hemorrhoids refer to a condition in which the veins of the lower rectum and anus swell. They can occur as a result of repeated attacks of constipation or straining for passing the bowel movement.
Hemorrhoids can become quite painful and unpleasant to deal with. Therefore, it is common to search for home remedies to get rid of hemorrhoids.
Since senna tea can relieve constipation, it makes sense why some of you may choose this tea to treat hemorrhoids. The sennosides present in senna tea can irritate the bowel lining causing a laxative effect.
- The cure for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Some of the most common symptoms of IBS include diarrhea and constipation. If constipation is what’s triggering IBS in you, senna tea can help.
Senna is also prescribed by the conventional doctors when lactulose fails to treat the patients.
However, the more scientific evidence is required to support the use of senna for relieving IBS symptoms. Do speak to your doctor first before using senna for IBS.
- Colonoscopy Preparation
Senna tea is sometimes indicated for cleaning the colon before undergoing a colonoscopy.
What is colonoscopy?
It is a medical procedure used to examine the colon from inside. Before subjecting a patient to this procedure, the colon is required to be cleaned properly to get rid of the accumulated waste.
Taking senna orally can be as effective as castor oil and other conventional items like bisacodyl for preparation of bowel prior to colonoscopy.
Where to Find Senna and How to Make Senna Tea
If you are thinking where you can buy senna tea from, it is easily available at any local health food store. It can also be purchased online. Senna laxatives are available in a variety of forms such as powder, liquid, tea, or tablet.
You can purchase senna in the form of tea bags or you can even make senna tea yourself.
All you need to do is to purchase senna leaves or pods for making a laxative tea. Senna pods are usually said to have milder effects as compared to its leaves.
Making senna tea is extremely easy and only requires you to get dried unprocessed senna. Simply add one to two teaspoons of senna in one cup of boiled water.
Let it steep for ten minutes. Remember that the longer it sits, the stronger it will get.
You may also add other teas such as peppermint or chamomile in order to improve the taste and decrease the possibility of cramping or gas.
Senna Tea versus Supplements
How long will it take senna tea to work?
The effects of senna tea can usually be felt between six to twelve hours after consuming it in the form of tea or a supplement. The time can vary according to the product.
The strength of senna tea is usually affected by the brew time so it may be quite difficult to control its dosage for a lot of people. Therefore, a supplement is a preferred choice.
Senna tea can also provide different effects according to its maker so the total amount of senna in the tea bags of different brands may vary. In some cases, the brands have also mixed some other herbal laxatives like cascara in their tea bags which may alter the dosage.
The accurate dosage for senna if you want to take it orally is mentioned below:
- For constipation: the usual dose in adults and kids over 12 years of age is 17.2 milligrams per day. The dose must never exceed 34.4 milligrams per day
- For constipation in children under 12 but over 2 years: 8.5 milligrams every day, increased up to an amount sufficient to cause one bowel movement daily
- For constipation in aged people: 17 milligrams per day
- For constipation in pregnancy: 28 milligrams in two doses
The dosage of senna tea involves taking one cup of it per day for alleviating constipation. However, be careful not to take it for more than one week unless a doctor has recommended it.
Is there any difference between Senna and Senokot?
Yes, Senokot is actually a senna medication that also contains docusate in addition to the sennosides.
Is senoskot a stool softener or a laxative? It has both properties because the sennosides derived from senna has laxative effective whereas the docusate is a stool softener.
Dangers of Senna Tea
It is important to consider that the laxative effect of senna can cause dependency and may even damage your liver if not used properly.
The improper use of senna tea includes using it in extremely high doses or using it for an extended period of time.
A lot of detox drinks and teas present in the market today contain senna as their basic ingredient. Therefore, it is important not to abuse on senna by excessively using these drinks and teas.
Senna must also not be used by anyone who experiences dehydration, electrolyte imbalance such as potassium deficiency, or diarrhea.
If you are a heart patient or suffer from a gastrointestinal problem, talk to your doctor before you start using senna.