This section is from the book "A Text-Book Of Pharmacology, Therapeutics And Materia Medica", by T. Lauder Brunton. Also available from Amazon: A text-book of pharmacology, therapeutics and materia medica.
Senna, 16 oz.; oil of coriander, 3 min.; refined sugar, 24 oz.; distilled water, 5 pints, or a sufficiency; rectified spirit, 3 fl. oz.; distilled water, up to 2 lb. 10 oz. (B.P.). Senna, 33; sugar, 60; alcohol, 4; oil of coriander, 1; water up to 100 (U.S.P.).
Action and Uses. - Senna acts as a laxative or brisk purgative, according to the dose. It acts chiefly on the small intestines, and increases both peristalsis and the secretion. It is frequently combined with other purgatives. A useful remedy in constipation is Mistura Sennae Co., where we have senna combined with sulphate of magnesium. In habitual constipation, the most convenient preparation, perhaps, is Pulvis Glycyr-rhizae Co., which contains sulphur and fennel-seeds as well as senna and liquorice root. One drachm taken every day at bedtime will generally keep the bowels regularly open without acting too violently. The sulphur in this preparation is in such small quantity that it might seem useless; but in a number of experiments which I made on small quantities (about 1/4 grain) of sulphur many years ago, I found that they caused an increase of flatus in the intestine which appeared to facilitate the expulsion of its contents.