Senna is an FDA-approved nonprescription laxative. It is used to treat constipation and also to clear the bowel before diagnostic tests such as colonoscopy. Senna is also used for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), hemorrhoids, and weight loss.
Senna contains anthraquinones, including dianthrone glycosides (1.5% to 3%), sennosides A and B (rhein dianthrones), and sennosides C and D (rhein aloe-emodin heterodianthrones). Numerous minor sennosides have been identified, and all appear to contribute to the laxative effect.
Always check with your doctor before you use a natural product. Some products may not mix well with drugs or other natural products.
Senna leaves and pods have been used as a stimulant laxative at dosages of 0.6 to 2 g/day, with a daily dose of sennoside B from 20 to 30 mg. A bitter tea can be made containing senna 0.5 to 2 g (0.5 to 1 teaspoon). Senna should not be used at high doses or for extended periods of time.