Senna leaves come from the senna plant, whose scientific name is senna and has more than 250 different species, which can be easily appreciated in tropical and temperate regions  The senna plant has quite varied forms, as these can be climbing shrubs, herbs, lianas or small trees; with abundant leaves and some yellow flowers.

The medicinal utility of senna leaves is quite varied, as it serves as a laxative, detoxifier and natural cleanser, which allows it to contribute to the treatment of some pathologies, constipation being one of these. In addition, it also improves the health of the kidneys and liver, fighting diseases such as hypertension, kidney failure, among others.

Senna leaf benefits

The benefits that are obtained thanks to these leaves are quite relevant, so it is advisable to know what they are for and what are the advantages that are acquired when consuming the preparations, based on senna leaves. Among the benefits offered by senna leaves, the following stand out:

Promotes weight loss

As well mentioned, senna leaves have a laxative effect on the human body, which can greatly help people who are slightly overweight, since evacuating regularly could promote weight loss. However, when resorting to senna leaves to lose weight, it is necessary to do so in a moderate way, since the excessive use of laxatives can seriously affect the health of the individual. That is why it is advisable to seek advice from a medical specialist before starting to consume senna leaves.

Helps with constipation

Constipation, also known as constipation of the belly, is one of the most common problems in people, as it can occur at least once in a lifetime. It consists of an alteration in the large intestine, which causes water retention and this causes the stool to harden, which makes the stool difficult to expel. That is why, to treat this type of problem, doctors recommend the use of laxatives, such as senna leaves,  since it facilitates the evacuation process .

Improves liver health

Improving liver health is possible, thanks to the detoxifying and purifying properties of senna leaves, because when consuming the tea of ​​this plant, its components are responsible for cleaning the liver, which significantly improves its functioning, making it possible to avoid diseases such as liver failure. Therefore, it is advisable to use senna leaves, periodically, to avoid the appearance of liver problems. However, if you already suffer from these problems, it is better to avoid the consumption of senna leaves, unless approved by a specialist.

Fight kidney problems

The kidneys are extremely important organs for the functioning of the body, as they are responsible for eliminating waste from the blood, so that the body can expel them through the urine. Therefore, it is necessary to keep them in good condition, which is possible with balanced diets and the consumption of cleansing infusions, being the infusion of senna leaves, one of the most recommended. All this because, the senna plant, contains in its leaves, cleansing properties help to clean the kidneys, in order to avoid problems such as kidney failure, hypertension, among others.

Properties of senna leaves

When talking about the properties of senna leaves, it is important to bear in mind that they have a large share of the benefits offered by senna leaves, so it is necessary to know them. Among the properties of senna leaves, the following should be mentioned:

  • Laxatives
  • Diureticas.
  • Purifying.

How to prepare senna leaves?

When preparing senna leaves, it is necessary to know that these should not be combined with food, therefore, they must be prepared as an infusion. That is why, it is advisable to be guided by this recipe:


  • ½ teaspoon of senna leaves.
  • 1 liter of water.
  • Honey.


  1. First, it is necessary to place the water in a pot or saucepan, which must be over medium heat.
  2. Then, you need to add the senna leaves to the water.
  3. As soon as the water begins to boil, it will be necessary to turn off the heat and let the infusion rest for 5 minutes.
  4. Then, the senna leaves should be removed from the infusion, with the help of a strainer.
  5. It is proceeded to serve in a cup and add the honey.

The consumption of this infusion should not be longer than 2 weeks, since it can generate dependence on laxatives, as well as other side effects.

Presentations of senna leaves

The presentations of senna leaves are usually two, the first is in the form of tablets (pills), which are purchased in pharmacies and are usually assigned to individuals who must undergo medical tests such as colonoscopy, as well as treatment for patients with diagnosed constipation. While the second presentation is the dried leaves, which can be found in herbal stores.

Senna Leaves: Dosage

The dose of senna leaves can vary with certain factors, among them is the type of presentation and the age of the patient, taking this into account it is possible to summarize that:

  • Dosage in adults : In the case of tablets, the dose should be 34 mg per day. While with infusions, it is advisable to consume only 1 cup.
  • The dose in pregnant women: In case the doctor has approved the consumption of senna leaves, or any type of medicine based on sennosides, then it should be known that the maximum dose of tablets is 28 mg per day. While the dose of infusions is 1 cup a day.
  • The dose for colonoscopy patients: In these cases, the dose should be 75 mg the day before the colonoscopy. However, you should consult with the specialist and wait for their indications.
  • Dosage in the elderly: In these cases, it is only possible to administer 17 mg of sennoside tablets per day, always under medical recommendation. Regarding the consumption of infusions, this should be ½ cup a day.
  • The dose in children:  The use of sennosides in children is not recommended, however, if it is a medical indication then, the dose should be 8.6 mg, twice a day.

Side effects of senna leaves

Senna leaves, despite being an excellent means of purifying, detoxifying and relieving constipation, if not consumed in moderation, they can cause serious side effects. That is why it is recommended to consult a medical specialist, in order to avoid reactions such as:

  • Rectal irritation:  The regular consumption of laxatives can cause the tissues of the large intestine to become irritated, this due to the constant transit of fecal matter.
  • Dependence:  It has been shown that senna leaves can generate dependence, because its excessive consumption causes damage to the colon, therefore, sensitivity is lost to the need to evacuate.
  • Interaction with medications:  Senna leaves interact with a large number of medications, including milk of magnesia, vitamin C or D, aspirin, diuretics, antidepressants, gastric protectants, acetaminophen, among others
  • Miscarriage: Different records show that the consumption of senna leaves can cause contractions and miscarriage.
  • Digestive disorders:  Regular consumption of laxatives can trigger different digestive disorders, with chronic diarrhea, nausea and stomach cramps being part of them.
  • Malnutrition:  The excessive use of laxatives generates malnutrition, which is due to the fact that the body stops absorbing nutrients, to proceed to eliminate them.

Contraindications of senna leaves

There are a large number of contraindications with regard to senna leaves, this is because this product, despite being able to help prevent health problems, is counterproductive in cases such as:

  • Children under 12 years of age.
  • Pregnant or lactating women.
  • Allergic people.
  • People with potassium deficiency.
  • Patients diagnosed with liver failure, colitis, intestinal obstruction, or heart failure.

Conclusion: Is it advisable to use senna leaves?

Certainly, senna leaves are a product that can help treat constipation, as well as purify the body. However, due to the risks that it can pose to health, it is necessary to avoid its consumption, if it has not been recommended by a doctor, this in order to avoid serious complications in the functioning of the organism.

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Dr. Samantha Robson ( CRN: 0510146-5) is a nutritionist and website content reviewer related to her area of ​​expertise. With a postgraduate degree in Nutrition from The University of Arizona, she is a specialist in Sports Nutrition from Oxford University and is also a member of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

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