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Jamaican Herb
The Jamaican Senna


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Jamaican Senna Herb | (Photo Credit: Jamaica Gleaner Online)Jamaican Herb - Senna | (Photo Credit: Jamaica Gleaner Online)

by Venesha Johnson | Associate Writer

Jamaica is known to be the home of many herbs and herbal remedies. Most can be used for everyday treatments of illnesses and ailments. One such plant is the Jamaican herb is the Senna.

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There are actually, quite a few different senna plants found here in Jamaica, they are mostly similar in appearance but are used for different purposes. One of the most common ones is the Senna alexandrina, which is used not just here in Jamaica, but worldwide for its laxative benefits.

Sennosides are a group of compounds found in senna. These sennosides irritate the intestinal lining, resulting in a laxative action. It can be found over the counter. Often times it's used to relieve constipation and to empty the bowels before procedures like colonoscopies.

This Jamaican herb is also used to treat irritable bowel syndrome, haemorrhoids, weight loss, and a variety of other ailments, but there is no scientific proof to back up these claims.

What Is Jamaican Senna Herb Good For?

If you typically find yourself having trouble with bowel movements, the senna herb comes highly recommended. Probably Effective in the Treatment of Constipation. Senna is a nonprescription (OTC) medicine approved by the FDA for adults and children aged 2 and up.

It should be taken before going to bed and takes 6-12 hours to work. It has the potential to produce stomach pains and diarrhoea. Without the guidance of a healthcare expert, senna should not be used for longer than one week.

Emptying the colon before a colonoscopy may be beneficial. Senna taken orally may assist clear the colon before a colonoscopy. Your doctor will recommend a precise routine to follow before a colonoscopy to guarantee that your colon is empty.

There is some interest in using Jamaican Senna herb for other reasons, but there isn't enough trustworthy data to say whether it will work.

Senna leaf paste can also be used to treat skin disorders like acne, ringworm, and wounds. Chewing the leaves can help fight infections and gingivitis in the mouth.

Special Precautions, Warnings And Side Effects

Even though the senna herb is FDA approved and can be found over the counter, you must still be cautious when using this herb. It is shown to be able to cause stomach discomfort, cramps, and diarrhoea, among other things. When used for more than a week or at quantities greater than 34.4 mg sennosides twice daily, senna may be dangerous.

Long-term usage of laxatives can cause the bowels to cease working normally and lead to a dependency on them. Long-term use can injure the liver and have other negative consequences.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

If you are pregnant it is okay for you to take Jamaican Senna herb for up to a week. You may even take Senna safely by mouth for up to one week while breastfeeding. Senna crosses into breast milk in small doses, however, it does not appear to be harmful to nursing newborns.

Senna does not affect the faeces of babies when given in recommended dosages.  When taken by oral for more than a week or in excessive amounts, it may be dangerous. This has been related to major negative effects such as laxative addiction and liver damage.


Jamaican Senna herb is relatively safe for children over the age of two when taken by mouth for up to one week. Children between the ages of 2 and 5 should not take more than 8.6 mg of sennosides twice a day.

Children between the ages of 6 and 11 should not take more than 17.2 mg sennosides twice a day. Children aged 12 and up should not exceed 34.4 mg sennosides twice a day.

Who should not use Jamaican Senna Herb?

Senna should not be used by anyone suffering from stomach pain, intestinal blockage, inflammatory bowel disease, diarrhoea, appendicitis, stomach inflammation, or haemorrhoids.

What Are The Side Effects of the Jamaica Senna Herb?

  • Abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Cramps
  • Diarrhoea
  • Electrolyte abnormalities, including low potassium (hypokalemia)
  • Excessive bowel activity
  • Finger clubbing (long-term use)
  • Melanosis Coli
  • Nausea
  • Kidney inflammation
  • Yellow-brown urine discolouration
  • Dosage

Senna is most commonly taken by adults in doses of 17.2 mg sennosides orally once or twice daily. Children's doses are different depending on their age. To find out what dose is best for a certain disease, speak with a healthcare provider.

Is it ok to drink senna tea every day?

No, because of its laxative properties it is not recommended for anyone to drink senna tea for more than 7 consecutive days in recommended doses.

Does senna tea get rid of parasites?

Yes. Senna can also be used as a vermifuge to kill parasites and remove worms from the intestine. It works best when paired with other anthelmintic herbs like ginger or fennel, which are used to cure roundworms.

This Jamaican herb can be found in various forms. You can buy the leaves and brew them to make your tea or purchase them in capsule or liquid extract form.

Always remember to not exceed the recommended dosage.

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Return to Jamaican Herbs from Jamaican Herb - Senna
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References & Sources For Jamaican Herb - Senna

  1. SENNA: Overview, Uses, Side Effects, Precautions, Interactions, Dosing and Reviews,  
  2. Herbs for life | Senna is a great cleanser | Health | Jamaica Gleaner,  
  3. Senna: Generic, Uses, Side Effects, Dosages, Interactions, Warnings,
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