Herbs have both formal terms and common terms. Cassia spp. is the formal name for the Senna plant.
What does Senna do? It is absorbed by the stomach and the small intestine and leaves behind a compound called rhein anthrone. The bacteria in the small intestine degrade the rhein anthrone into sennidin. This second compound, sennidin, stimulates peristalsis, or movement throughout the intestines. Because of the increased transit time or movement, the stool has less time to loose fluid and becomes easier to move through the intestines.
Another group of compounds found in Senna, are called the hydroxyanthracene glycosides, which are converted into aglycones which have a laxative effect on the colon.
Amazing how big these words are, isn’t it? Big words for big results. One group of compounds provokes movement in the intestine,s and another group of compounds provokes a laxative effect.
So what do you think Senna is used for? Constipation, hemorrhoids, and of course, weight loss.
Here’s to your health!
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Dr. Holly is a naturopathic doctor that holds a PhD in Psychology and Biochemistry, specializing in balancing mind, body and energy of the system.
Disclaimer: This article provides general information only and is not a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or other health care practitioner.