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Senna

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Feb 28, 2019.

What are other common names?

  • Cassia acutifolia
  • Cassia angustifolia
  • Cassia lanceolata
  • Cassia senna
  • Senna alexandrina
  • Alexandrian Senna
  • Alexandrinische Senna
  • Casse
  • Cassia Senna
  • Fan Xie Ye
  • Indian Senna
  • Khartoum Senna
  • Sen
  • Sena Alejandrina
  • Senna Alexandrina
  • Sennae Folium
  • Sennae Fructus
  • Sennosides
  • Séne d’Inde
  • Séné
  • Séné d'Alexandrie
  • Séné d'Egypte
  • Séné de Tinnevelly
  • Tinnevelly Senna
  • True Senna

What is this product used for?

Senna is used by some people as a laxative. It may also be used as a treatment for hard stools. Some people will take senna before having diagnostic tests on the bowels. Others will take it to help with weight loss.

What are the precautions when taking this product?

  • Always check with your doctor before you use a natural product. Some products may not mix well with drugs or other natural products.

  • This product may interfere with some lab tests. Be sure to talk with your doctor about this and all drugs you are taking.

  • Take extra care if you are taking drugs to thin your blood. These are drugs like warfarin (Coumadin), heparin, or enoxaparin (Lovenox).

  • Take extra care if you are taking drugs to dissolve blood clots. These are drugs like alteplase (Activase), reteplase (Retavase), or streptokinase.

  • Take extra care if you are taking drugs to help with swelling or inflammation. These are drugs like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil), or naproxen (Naprosyn).

  • Take extra care if you are taking birth control pills or estrogen replacement therapy. Senna can make these less effective.

  • Take extra care if you are taking a diuretic or other drug that may cause electrolyte changes. These are drugs like chlorothiazide (Diuril), chlorthalidone (Thalitone), furosemide (Lasix), hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ, Microzide), and others. Senna can make the electrolyte changes worse.

  • Take extra care and check with your doctor if you have:

    • Heart problems

    • Liver problems

    • Bowel problems like appendicitis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, or an obstruction

    • Low levels of potassium

  • Do not use this product if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant soon. Use birth control you can trust while taking this product.

  • Do not use this product if you are breastfeeding.

  • Avoid taking senna for longer than 2 weeks.

What should I watch for?

  • Upset stomach

  • Stomach pain or cramps

  • Increased gas

When do I need to call the doctor?

  • Signs of a very bad reaction. These include wheezing; chest tightness; fever; itching; bad cough; blue skin color; seizures; or swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat. Go to the ER right away.

  • Signs of fluid loss. These include dark-colored urine or no urine for more than 8 hours, dry mouth, cracked lips, dry skin, sunken eyes, lack of energy, feeling faint, or passing out.

  • Extreme weight loss and lack of appetite

  • Very bad throwing up

  • Very bad belly pain

  • Very bad loose stools

  • Bruising or bleeding that is not normal.

  • Changes in your menstrual periods like lots of bleeding, spotting, or bleeding between cycles.

Last Reviewed Date

2017-09-25

Consumer information use

This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your healthcare provider. Only your healthcare provider has the knowledge and training to provide advice that is right for you. You should not rely on this information in deciding whether or not to use, or accept your healthcare provider’s advice regarding use of, any natural products or similar treatments, therapies, or life-style choices. This information does not endorse any natural products or similar treatments, therapies, or life-style choices as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information. It does NOT include all information about natural products, possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to you. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about your health and treatment options.

Copyright

Copyright © 2018 Wolters Kluwer Clinical Drug Information, Inc. and its affiliates and/or licensors. All rights reserved.

Further information

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

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