Senna consists of the dried leaflets of Cassia acutifolia (Fam. Leguminosce), an African shrub, and Cassia angustifolia, a plant growing in India. It owes its medicinal action to the presence of an amorphous glucoside termed Cathartic acid.

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Senna is used as a laxative, and is of especial utility with infants and children. The griping tendency may be considerably minimized by the addition of coriander. Like rhubarb, Senna is eliminated in part by the mammary glands of a nursing mother, and will in such a case cause purgation of the suckling child.