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Black Draught

Generic name: sennaSEN-nah ]
Brand names: Ex-Lax Chocolated, Ex-Lax Maximum Strength, Ex-Lax Regular Strength Pills, Fletchers Castoria, Geri-kot, ... show all 17 brands
Drug class: Laxatives

Medically reviewed by on Oct 24, 2023. Written by Cerner Multum.

What is senna?

Senna is an herb also known as Alexandrian Senna, Casse, Fan Xie Ye, Indian Senna, Khatoum Senna, Sen, Sena Alejandrina, Sennae Folium, Sennae Fructus, Sennosides, Tinnevelly Senna, True Senna, and other names.

Senna is likely effective in alternative medicine as an aid in treating occasional constipation in adults and children at least 2 years old.

Senna has been used in alternative medicine as a possibly effective aid in emptying the bowel before a colonoscopy.

Other uses not proven with research have included weight loss, irritable bowel syndrome, hemorrhoids, and other conditions.

It is not certain whether senna is effective in treating any medical condition. Medicinal use of this product has not been approved by the FDA. Senna should not be used in place of medication prescribed for you by your doctor.

Senna is often sold as an herbal supplement. There are no regulated manufacturing standards in place for many herbal compounds and some marketed supplements have been found to be contaminated with toxic metals or other drugs. Herbal/health supplements should be purchased from a reliable source to minimize the risk of contamination.

Senna may also be used for purposes not listed in this product guide.

Senna side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives, difficult breathing, swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Senna may cause serious side effects. Stop using senna and call your doctor at once if you have:

Common side effects of Black Draught may include:

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.


Follow all directions on the product label and package. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all your medical conditions, allergies, and all medicines you use.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use senna if you are allergic to it, or if you have:

Ask a doctor, pharmacist, or other healthcare provider if it is safe for you to use this product if you have ever had:

Ask a doctor before using this product if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Do not give any herbal/health supplement to a child without medical advice.

How should I take senna?

When considering the use of senna, seek the advice of your doctor. You may also consider consulting a practitioner who is trained in the use of herbal/health supplements.

If you choose to use senna, use it as directed on the package or as directed by your doctor, pharmacist, or other healthcare provider. Do not use more of this product than is recommended on the label.

Swallow the tablet whole with a full glass of water and do not crush, chew, or break it.

You must chew the chewable tablet before you swallow it.

Measure liquid product with the supplied measuring device (not a kitchen spoon).

Taking more than your recommended dose will not make this product more effective, and may cause serious side effects.

Senna should produce a bowel movement within 6 to 12 hours after you take it.

Do not use different forms of senna (tablets, liquids, and others) at the same time or you could have an overdose.

Call your healthcare provider if your constipation does not improve after 1 week of using senna, or if constipation gets worse. Do not take senna for longer than 1 week, unless your healthcare provider has told you to.

Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Skip the missed dose and take the next regularly scheduled dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

Overdose symptoms may include electrolyte imbalance (muscle spasms, changes in the shape of your fingers), muscle weakness, heart problems, liver damage, and other side effects.

What should I avoid while taking senna?

Avoid taking this product within 2 hours before or after you take other medicines. Senna can make it harder for your body to absorb certain medicines you take by mouth.

Avoid using senna together with other herbal/health supplements that can lower potassium level. This includes horsetail, licorice, aloe, buckthorn, gossypol, rhubarb, and other stimulant laxative herbs.

Do not use other laxatives while taking senna unless your doctor has told you to.

What other drugs will affect senna?

Do not take senna without medical advice if you are using the following medications:

This list is not complete. Other drugs may affect senna, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.

Popular FAQ

Any drug that is classified as an "opioid" can cause constipation. Examples of commonly prescribed opioids that may cause this side effect include morphine, tramadol, fentanyl, methadone, hydrocodone, codeine and oxycodone. Continue reading

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.