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Senna Review - 15 Things You Need to Know

Senna is often used as a laxative to treat constipation. However, some experts claim that the laxative can also be used as a weight-loss aid to eliminate toxins and excess debris from the body. Senna might be proven for constipation, but healthy weight loss takes time, and many health practitioners insist that long-term laxative use is not wise.

Few studies are available for weight loss, which gave our research team concerns about this bold claim. The team explored the science and reasoning behind using senna to aid weight loss. Here’s what they found on the subject.

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What is Senna?

Senna can be found in many different forms, including herbs, shrubs, and trees. Its leaves and fruits can be used as a medicinal plant. It is approved by the U.S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and is used as an ingredient in many drugs approved by the FDA.

The American Herbal Product Association (AHPA) has declared senna fruits can be used for a long duration; however, the laxative cannot, as the fruits are gentler than senna leaves.

Senna is mainly used to treat constipation. The component can be found in several different forms, such as capsules, liquids, and tea.

The classification can be described in the following ways:

Senna classification based in Plantae kingdom:

  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Subkingdom: Tracheobionta (includes vascular plants)
  • Superdivision: Spermatophyte (includes seed plants)
  • Division: Magnoliophyte (includes flowering plants)
  • Class: Magnoliopsida (includes Dicotyledons plant category)
  • Subclass: Rosidae
  • Order: Fabales
  • Family: Fabaceae (includes pea family)

senna pods health benefits

Senna classification based on plant species:

  • Alexandrian
  • Cassia
  • Alata
  • Occidentalis
  • Auriculata
  • Siamea

Does Senna work?

  • Pharmacology — “Standardized senna is the most physiological of all the non-fiber laxatives and is safe when used in appropriate dosage avoiding loose stools.”
  • Journal of Pediatric Surgery — “Senna is a safe treatment option for constipation in children.”
  • National Library of Medicine — “Taking senna by mouth is effective for short-term treatment of constipation. Senna is an FDA-approved nonprescription drug for adults and children ages 2 years and older. However, in children ages 3-15 years, mineral oil and a medication called lactulose might be more effective than taking senna.”


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Senna History

Senna had a very complex history in taxonomy (the science of naming biological organisms based on similar characteristics). Until 1982, many authors not recognized the laxative, so they broadly mention it in Cassia.

A very long time ago, the people used Alexandria senna or Egyptian senna as a laxative. People used laxatives in the form of pods and the herb’s leaves for making herbal tea.

Some studies support the evidence that the laxative can treat constipation in children and older adults. However, some studies show limited evidence to support this theory.


Senna Claims

The senna plant can be used in various ways. It can be used for manufacturing makeups, hair-care, skin-care, health, and wellness products.

Some dieter’s teas contain the laxative and claim they can help reduce weight. However, they are not proven to be the fastest and the safest way to reduce weight. They come with potential risks.

Senna tea has been shown to affect the body’s water weight, not fat, as some tea manufacturers claim. Thus, after drinking the laxative tea, all the weight loss comes back as soon as a person rehydrates.

Senna claims


Senna Ingredients

Senna drug information can be found below.

Senna itself is an ingredient used in health and wellness products in the form of leaves and fruit. Tablets are also made using the laxative, which contains Sennosides as an ingredient.

Dieter’s tea uses senna leaves in its ingredients.


Does Senna Work?

Two species, Cassia occidentalis, and Ditremexa occidentalis are used to manufacture various herbal remedies. These species grow in temperate and subtropical areas all over the world. However, they are native to East Asia.

Senna is widely used in herbal medicines and comes in various forms of pills, powder, tea leaves, and capsules.

To reduce weight healthily, one must burn more calories than they consume.

This method burns their stored fat, which results in a healthy weight loss.

Senna benefits

Consuming dieter’s tea, which includes senna leaves, is another unhealthy way to reduce weight as it includes losing water weight from the body.

Using this method, all the water weight loss is easily recovered when a person shifts to a normal drinking water routine.

However, it should be noted that weight loss from the laxative is only short-term. For long-term results, a healthy diet and exercise should be used alongside it.

Senna tea is also used to cure constipation and has been used this way for many centuries. Constipation happens when the bowel movements are not happening regularly.

Senna tea has sennosides, which works on the intestine’s contractions, helping a person digest properly.

Benefits and Results

Senna Benefits and Results

Leaves, fruit extract, and laxatives are derived from the herb. Therefore, all the above derivatives have almost the same benefits and results as the herb.

Anti-inflammatory agent

Senna leaves are anti-inflammatory in nature.

Senna results

Anti-parasitical agent

In 2010, Pharmacognosy Research conducted research, which stated that in a cell-line study, the laxative helped stop the mobility of parasites.

The extract was further tested on rats. The scientists gave senna leaf extract to the rats daily, and after six days, they noticed a significant decrease in the rats’ parasite levels.


Senna Laxative Pills Benefits

Colon Health

The problem of constipation is related to colon health. Cassia Acutifolia or Alexandrian is the oldest herb used for medicinal purposes. This plant grows in China, India, and other parts of Asia.

The seeds and leaves are rich sources of anthraquinone glycosides. This helps in stimulating bowel contractions, which in turn creates a strong laxative effect.

Senna is used as an ingredient in Ex-lax (commercial laxative), which is widely used for relieving constipation. It is considered to be a powerful natural laxative by herbalists.


Senna leaves and the laxative has shown a result of curing constipation, as discussed above. Usually, a bowel movement occurs within six to 12 hours after ingesting the laxative. It can be ingested as a pill, tea, capsule, tablet, or a liquid extract.

Weight loss

Results of using senna as a weight loss product are not appealing enough because it is an ineffective and unhealthy way of losing fat.

Anti-inflammatory and anti-parasite

Any such results to use it as an anti-inflammatory or anti-parasite have been proven by testing on rats. There is no scientific proof to support the laxative being used as an anti-inflammatory and anti-parasite product for humans.

Details on Weight Loss

Details on Senna and Weight Loss

Senna tea has been marketed as a weight-loss product. It is an FDA approved drug ingredient for laxatives. As we discussed earlier, weight loss that occurred due to senna tea or other products is not a permanent solution.

It is also not a healthy or effective way to lose weight.

This is because the laxative tea helps reduce water weight rather than burning fat. The ideal and healthy way to reduce weight is to burn stored fat in the body.

The downside of using senna is that the water weight can easily be restored if the person moves onto their normal water drinking routine and all the lost water weight returns.

To lose weight effectively and efficiently, one needs to burn more calories than he or she consumes. They can do so by eating fewer calories in food and/or by exercising daily.


How to Use Senna

The dosage or laxative dosage is to be taken by mouth. The following are the recommended dosages for adults, children, pregnant and older adults. Senna is a non-prescription drug approved by the U.S. FDA.

Children below 12 years of age

It is recommended that children below 12 years of age should intake 8.5 mg only daily. This will be enough to cause one bowel movement.

Adults and Children over the age of 12

17.2 mg daily dose is recommended for adults and children above the age of 12 years. It is recommended to cure constipation. The dosage should not exceed 34.4 mg per day.

Senna results

Elderly people

For older adults, during constipation, 17 mg daily is recommended.

Constipation during pregnancy

If constipation occurs during the pregnancy period, it is recommended to have 28 mg in two divided doses.

Use During Pregnancy

Using Senna in Pregnancy

Senna herb use has been scientifically proven as a short-term treatment for constipation. The FDA has approved the leaves or fruit as a laxative to be used by anyone aged two years or older.

MedlinePlus says the laxative can be used for treating constipation occurring during pregnancy. However, more research is needed in this area, as the laxative also has its side effects.

It is said that the laxative pills are safe to be used during pregnancy when taken in small dosages. However, the herbs are unsafe when used in large dosages for longer durations.

The American Pregnancy Association does not encourage laxatives during pregnancy as they can cause a contraction in the uterus.

Side Effects

Potential Senna Side Effects

Following are the potential side effects of using the herb:

Senna Leaf tea side effects

The herb’s components, glycosides, and sennosides irritate the colon.

These components also create more fluid due to which fecal moves quickly through the intestines resulting in symptoms such as bloating, gas, cramps, and even diarrhea.

These are the most common side effects reported by those consuming the laxative for a long period of time.

Senna laxative side effects

The laxatives work by increasing the movement of the intestines. Many people do not face any problems consuming laxatives. However, this doesn’t mean that no side effects exist.

Prolonged usage of laxative pills is discouraged. Possible side effects include urine discoloration, although it is not considered to be harmful to human beings.

Gastrointestinal discomfort

The most common side effect faced by the people who intake the herbs in any form, gastrointestinal discomfort, mostly occurs when the dosage is taken in large quantity and for a longer duration. Stomach cramps, bloating, gas, and diarrhea can occur.

Electrolyte abnormality

If senna is used for a long time, it can cause an electrolyte imbalance, leading to low potassium in the body. And low potassium content in the body can lead to various serious health-related problems such as weakening of muscles, cardiac arrhythmia, confusion, and much more.

Product Warnings

Senna Product Warnings

  • Before taking these products or ingredients, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to herbs or not. Tell them about all of your allergies, reactions, or other problems.
  • Discuss your medical history with the doctor. Tell them if you have any previous problems related to nausea or vomiting, unexplained abdominal pain, intestinal blockage, or if you have experienced any sudden changes in bowel habits and bleeding from the rectum.
  • Before having any surgery or any medical operation, tell your doctor about all past prescribed and non-prescribed drugs you have used.
  • Tell the doctor about your pregnancy before using the herb products.
  • Senna leaves are not recommended for consumption for a long time; however, the fruit extract can be consumed for a longer time as they are gentler than the leaves.
  • If you are using the laxative, you need to consult your doctor before breastfeeding as this medication passes into breast milk.

Senna warnings



Senna Alternatives

Bulking agents

Foods like chia, flax, fiber, etc., are known as bulking agents, which help absorb more water content in the intestine, making stool bigger and letting it pass through easily. This is an alternative for curing constipation.

Stool softeners

These products soften up the stool present inside the intestine, which helps with the stool’s easy passing.

What Users Are Saying

What Users Are Saying

“If you need a laxative, then senna is the best and most gentle option without a prescription.”

“Senna works like clock work. If we miss a pill or two, our bowels tend to back up. Bowels backing up isn’t a scenario we desire. We’ve taken senna forever and a day without any problems whatsoever.”

“Produced terrible acid reflux within minutes after taking, and didn’t even work. Found out senna is dangerous to take for long term use anyway, so don’t buy.”

Bottom Line

The Bottom Line on Senna

Well, we appreciate Senna’s been around forever and there are some positive comments online. Then again, we have some doubts about it because it’s not backed by science as a weight-loss aid. Plus, we’re leery about the potential for effects and dieter complaints we found on the web.

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What are the side effects of senna?

Senna side effects, as reported by customers, include stomach pain, cramping, nausea and irregular bowel movement.

What are the ingredients in senna?

Senna ingredients include cassia acutifolia. If you purchase a supplement that contains senna, there could possibly be additives and fillers included.

Does senna work?

There are some studies showing senna work. The research we found centered on the effectiveness as a laxative, but not specifically for weight-loss.

How much does senna cost?

The cost of senna depends of the retailer selling the supplement. You can purchase the supplement for less than $5.

How should I take senna?

You’ll take senna based on the directions on the label. Typically, you use the supplement twice per day.

What type of laxative is senna?

Senna is a stimulant laxative.

Is senna FDA-approved?

Yes, senna is FDA-approved as a non-prescription laxative.

Is senna only available as a tablet?

No, senna isn’t only available as a tablet; it’s also available as a suppository, disintegrating strip, compounding powder and oral liquid.

Does senna come with a guarantee?

Senna doesn’t come with a guarantee, considering multiple companies sell the supplement. Contact the manufacturer of the supplement for additional details.

What is Senna used for?

Senna is used as a nonprescription laxative.

How does the laxative Senna work?

Senna works by increasing intestinal activity, resulting in a bowel movement.

What is Senna 8.6 mg used for?

Senna is a laxative that is used to relieve constipation. Before surgery and medical testing, it is used to empty the bowels.

What are the benefits of Senna tea?

Senna leaves are an FDA-approved nonprescriptive laxative used in detox tea. The tea works to treat constipation and to clear the bowels before diagnostic tests.

How often can you take Senna laxative?

You should only use a Senna laxative when you need relief from constipation or to clear bowels before diagnostic test or surgery. Using a Senna laxative for more than two weeks can cause bowels to stop functioning normally, leading to laxative dependence.

Can Senna cause diarrhea?

The possible side effects of Senna are stomach discomfort, cramps, and diarrhea.

Is Senna good for weight loss?

Senna is used to bring balance to your lifestyle and help with occasional constipation.

Why do you have to take Senna at night?

Senna should be taken at bedtime to produce relief from constipation by morning.

5 Senna Reviews

  • Wasim

    Hello..I want to know if taking senna for long term can increase SGOT and SGPT and GGT blood result..

    • Anna (Editor)

      Hello. All users are different and can experience different side effects; please make sure to consult with your physician before taking this product.

  • lerato

    I thought senna will help me to weight. Yes it cause me a running stomach

  • Judy Browne

    I have read your report on senna because I wanted to know how it helps with weight lost. I am a 52yrs old lady going through menopause and I have gained 3 stones. I am doing everything I can to lose the weight so I eat right and go to the gym 4-5 times a week. I have lost 15lbs. I do take dr lee senna diet tea. I thought I should lose more weight after nearly six months of going to the gym etc. however that is not the case, so the report was helpful. I have good bowel movement every day and I thought that fat in my body is being getting raid off from my body. If that is not the case then I have to use other diet tea to accelerate my weight lost programme. cheers Judy

    • Adrian (Editor)

      Hi! Please make sure to consult with your physician before starting a new weight-loss program or product.