Cassia acutifolia, Delile, angustifolia, Vahl.

The dried leaflets, with not more than 10 p. c. of stem tissues, pods, seeds, foreign matter.

Habitat. E. and C. Africa, India.

Syn. Senn.; Br. Sennae Folia, Senna Leaves: 1. Senna Alexandrina, Alexandrian (Nubian, Tripoli) Senna; Fr. Sene - d'Alexandrie; Ger. Alexandrinische Senna. 2. Senna Indica, East Indian (Arabian, Bombay, Mecca, Mocha, Tin-nevelly) Senna; Fr. Sene de l'Inde - de Tinnevelly, Feuilles de Sene; Ger. Folia Sennae, Sennesblatter, Indische Senna.

A-cu-ti-fo'li-a. L. acutus, sharp, + folium, leaf - i. e., leaves sharp pointed.

An-gus-ti-fo'li-a. L. angustus, narrow, + folium, leaf - i. e., leaves narrow.

Sen'na. L. fr. Ar. sana, sena. Hind, sena - i. e., native Arabian plant name; this is the subgenus of Cassia, but should have held full generic rank.

Plants. - Cassia acutifolia, small shrub, .6-1 M. (2-3°) high; stem erect, woody, branching, whitish; flowers large, yellow, axillary raceme; fruit few, legume, 5 Cm. (2') long, 18 Mm. (JO broad, thin, broadly elliptical, reniform, dark green, membranous, smooth, indehis-cent, 6-7-celled, each with a cordate, ash-colored seed; leaves alternate, 4-5 pairs, paripinnate, footstalks glandless, 2 small-pointed stipules at base; Cassia angustifolia, small shrub similar to preceding, except fruit a trifle longer and narrower, 8-seeded; leaves sessile, 5-8 pairs. Leaflets (C. acutifolia): Alexandria, 2-3.5 Cm. (4/5-1 2/5') long, 6-10 Mm. (1/4-2/5') broad, inequilaterally lanceolate, lance-ovate, short, stout petiolule, acutely cuspidate, entire, subcoriaceous, brittle, pale green, sparsely and obscurely hairy, especially beneath, hairs appressed; usually unbroken, occasionally in fragments; odor characteristic; taste somewhat mucilaginous, bitter; (C. angustifolia): India, 2-5 Cm. (4/5-2') long, 6-14 Mm. (1/4-3/5') broad, yellowish-green, smooth above, paler beneath, more abruptly pointed than, but odor and taste resembling closely, the preceding. Powder, light green; microscopically - conical, 1-celled, non-glandular, hairs, rosette aggregates of calcium oxalate, 4-6-sided prisms, stomata broadly elliptical (C. angustifolia slightly darker green and fewer hairs). Tests: 1. Boil for 2 minutes

Fig. 177.   Cassia acutifolia: half natural size; A, leaflets; B, legumes.

Fig. 177. - Cassia acutifolia: half natural size; A, leaflets; B, legumes.

.5 Gm. with alcoholic solution of potassium hydroxide (1 in 10) 10 Ml. (Cc.), add water 10 Ml. (Cc.), acidify filtrate with hydrochloric acid, shake with ether, and the ethereal layer with ammonia water 5 Ml. (Cc.) - latter pinkish-, bluish-red color. Solvents: water or diluted alcohol extracts the active constituents (emodin, chrysophanic acid); water-soluble constituents 28 p. c; a decoction made by long boiling is inert, being rendered more so by the addition of an alkali or acid; leaves by percolation with alcohol are deprived of their griping

(resinous) content, odor, taste, and color, but still retain their pleasant cathartic power, this, however, being slightly lessened. Dose, 3ss-3 (2-12 Gm.).

Adulterations. - Alexandria: 1. C. obovata, leaflets, called by Arabs Senna Baladi (Wild Senna), and considered in Egypt less valuable than Senna Jebeli (Mountain Senna, C. acutifolia). 2. Soleno-stemma Argel, leaves which have lateral veins indistinct, leathery, wrinkled, bitter; flower buds present; fruit pear-shaped. 3. Crac'ca (Tcphro'sia) Apollin'ea, leaflets, S. Europe, uneven base, obovate, emarginate (poisonous). 4. Coria'ria myrtifo'lia, leaves (poisonous), and Colu'tea arbores'cens, leaflets formerly used. 5. Leaves of Allan'thus glandulo'sa, Tree of Heaven, easily recognized, even in the powder. 6. Pods, leaf-stalks, branches. All these now are garbled out carefully. The Arabians preferred the pods, as they contain 25 p. c. more cathartic principle than the leaflets, and no resin or volatile oil, hence do not gripe. Six or eight pods infused in ij (60 Ml. (Cc.)) of water will purge an adult.

Senna Senna 401


Senna Senna 402


Fig. 178. - Cassia acutifolia: a, legume; b, leaflet, about natural size.

Commercial. - Plants yield two annual crops of leaflets, the larger (best) in September, at the end of the rains, the smaller in April, during the dry season; the entire plants are cut down (by natives), exposed on rocks to the hot sun until dry, stripped of leaflets, which are packed in palm-leaf bags for transportation on camels to the market ports, where, after being garbled, the drug is put into large bales for exportation. There are several varieties: 1, Alexandrian (Nubian), chiefly from Nubia (Sennaar, Kordofan), some from Tim-buctoo, being forwarded usually via Assouan, Darao, thence by the Nile to Cairo and Alexandria; its botanic source has received various synonyms: Cassia acutifolia, C. lanceola'ta, C. leniti'va, C. officinalis, C. aethio'pica, C. orientalis, etc.; Tripoli senna, from Tripoli (interior Africa), having no doubt the same botanic origin, is conveyed to market ports by caravans, being, as a rule, much broken, discolored, and mixed with legumes, stalks, and earthy matter, but no foreign leaves, and seldom reaches our country; it is restricted by some to C. aethiopica (C. obovata, C. ova'ta), and is not grown in Arabia or India. 2, Indian (Arabian, Mocha, Tinnevelly), originally indigenous to S. Arabia and interior of Africa, but entered market via India (Bombay, Calcutta); its botanic source has received several synonyms: Cassia angustifolia,

C. elonga'ta, C. med'ica; now cultivated extensively, from Arabian seeds, at Tinnevelly, S. India, where it becomes most luxuriant; and owing to freedom from legumes, stalks, etc., furnishes the finest and purest leaflets; it is exported mostly from Tuticorin, and Madras; Bombay (E. India) Senna, sold frequently as Tinnevelly, has the same source, but is dried less carefully, often containing small and discolored leaflets; Arabian {Mecca) Senna, sold often as Bombay, is collected