Senna occidentalis

scientific name: 
Senna occidentalis (L.) Link
Botanical family: 

Botanical description

Erect shrubby herb, up to 2 m high.  Leaves alternate, pinnately compound with 4-5 pairs of ovate to lanceolate leaflets, 10 cm long with a narrow red margin;  inflorescence, axillary racemes, few-flowered, sepals pinkish, petals yellow 10-14 mm long, subtended by bracts 10-15 mm long; pod linear, 5-12 cm x 6-8 mm, compressed, slightly curved; seeds broadly ovoid, punctate, dark olive colour, ca. 4 mm long.

Voucher(s)

Jiménez,29&116,JBSD

Lagos-Witte,16,HPMHV

Girón,249,CFEH

Rouzier,225,SOE

fever:

leaf and root, decoction, applied locally as cataplasm3

headhache:

leaf, cataplasm, applied on forehead2

fever:

leaf, decoctioon, orally1

jaundice:

leaf, decoction, orally2

body ache:

leaf, decoction, orally3

skin conditions:

leaf, crushed, applied locally1

stomach pain:

leaf, infusion, orally4

bad blood” (enmity; vindictiveness):

leaf, juice, rubbed on skin1

stomach pain:

root and leaf, mashed, decoction, orally3

sorethroat:

root and leaf, chewed5

injury, sore:

seed, mashed, applied locally as cataplasm4

tinea:

seed, mashed, applied locally as cataplasm4

body ache:

seed, mashed, bath3

For skin conditions:

Wash injury with boiled water and soap.  Thoroughly wash 30–50 grams of leaf (15-20 leaflets), mash and apply in sufficient quantity to affected area.  Cover injury with dressing or clean cloth and replace 3-4 times a day.

For stomach pain:

Prepare a decoction with 15 grams of leaf (7-10 leaflets) and 15 grams of root in 1 liter (4 cups) of water, and boil for at least 10 minutes in a covered pot.  Filter, allow to cool down and drink 1 cup 3 times a day36.

For headache, fever, jaundice, sorethroat and body ache:

There is no available information establishing a means of preparation and dosage other than that referred to by traditional use.

Any medicinal preparation must be preserved cold and used within the 24 hours.

Use for "bad blood" is part of the cultural tradition of our communities.  It has not been listed in the TRAMIL classification.

According to published and other information:

Use of the leaf for skin conditions, headache, body ache, sorethroat, fever and jaundice, and use of the seed for sore and tinea are classified as REC, based on the significant traditional use documented in the TRAMIL surveys, toxicity studies and available published scientific information.

For topical application, strict hygiene measures should be observed in order to avoid contamination or additional infection.

Use of the leaf for stomach pain, of the seed for body ache and of the root for stomach pain, sorethroat and fever is classified as REC, based on the significant traditional use documented in the TRAMIL surveys and toxicity studies.

Should there be a notable worsening of the patient’s condition, or should fever persist for more than 2 days, jaundice or stomach pain for more than 3 days, or skin conditions for more than 5 days, seek medical attention.

Due to the health risks involved with jaundice, an initial medical evaluation is recommended.  The use of this resource can be considered complementary to medical treatment, unless it is contraindicated.

Not for use during pregnancy, lactation, or by children under 3 years old.

TRAMIL Research26-27

The aqueous extracts (decoction) of the fresh leaf and root, lyophilized, by oral administration to 10 NGP mice (5 males and 5 females) at a dosage of 2 g/kg/day, 5 days a week for 35 days, with an additional seven-day observation period, presented neither fatal cases nor evident signs of toxicity.

TRAMIL Research28

The lyophilized juice from 500 g of leaf, applied to the shaved skin of 14 healthy New Zealand male albino rabbits (2-3 kg) and of 16 white Hantley male and female guinea pigs (450-500 g), at doses of 0.5 mL and 0.75 mL with sterile gauze patches, and evaluated 24 and 72 hours after application, showed a rate of primary irritation of < 5.  The histopathological analysis through biopsy did not evidence skin irritation.

TRAMIL Research29

The aqueous extract from the leaf (600 mg/mL) obtained from liquation of fresh material was topically applied (1 mL/day/5 days) to a skin area of 10 x 5 cm on the backs of 3 New Zealand rabbits, injured with knife cuts as per USP27 NF22, OECD404 protocol, as modified by LEBi.  The control vehicle was distilled and de-ionized water on the same rabbits, on the opposite side of their backs.  Treatment was followed by a twelve-day observation period.  No symptoms, erythema or edema, were observed either during the assay or during subsequent observation.

TRAMIL Research30-31

The aqueous extracts from the fresh root (13.07 mg/mL) and from the fresh seed (30.5 mg/mL) obtained from liquation of fresh material were separately administered topically (100 µL/day/5 days) to the eyelids of 3 New Zealand rabbits, as per OECD405 protocol, as modified by LEBi.  The control vehicle was distilled and de-ionized water on the same rabbits, in the other eye, under the same conditions.  Treatment was followed by a twelve-day observation period.  No abnormal symptoms were observed either during the assay or during subsequent observation.

The ethanolic extract (95%) from the dried leaf did not show general toxicity by intraperitoneal administration to mice (100 mg/kg)23.

The hydroalcoholic extract (50%) from the dried leaf administered intraperitoneally to mice (1 g/kg) did not evidence general toxicity24.

The leaf administered orally to rabbits showed cardiotoxic activity32.

The feed of 70 pigs contaminated with the seed at variable doses caused ataxia and other signs of neuromuscular disfunction33.

The fresh pod administered orally to pigs showed toxic activity with signs of muscular degeneration, and toxicity to liver and kidneys34.

The fresh pod administered orally to bovine cattle redundant term? (21.5% of feed for 10 days) caused degenerative toxic multiphasic and multifocal myopathy35.

There is no available information documenting the safety of medicinal use in children or in pregnant or lactating women.

The leaf contains anthraquinones : chrysophanic acid, 1-1´-bis-(4,4´,5,5´-tetrahydroxy-2,2´dimethyl) anthraquinone6, emodin, physcion and its glycosides7, physcion dianthrone8; flavonoids : vitexin8, matteucinol and jaceidin rhamnosides9; the alkanes present in the leaf serum have been screened10.

The root contains flavonoids : quercetin11; anthraquinones: aloemodin7, chrysazin11, chrysophanic acid12, helminthosporin, islandicin, physcion, xanthorin13, rhein8;xanthones : pinselin, 1,7-dihydroxy-3-methylxanthone12; sterols : campesterol, ß-sitosterol14, stigmasterol13.

TRAMIL Research15

The aqueous extract (decoction), lyophilized, and the fresh root, administered orally to 10 NGP mice (5 males and 5 females) with a single dose of 2 g/kg increased intestinal motility with a significant difference (p £0.05).

The decoction from the dried leaf, root and seed in vitro (1 mL/plate) inhibited Epidermophyton floccosum, Microsporum gypseum, Trichophyton mentagrophytes and T. rubrum16.

The hydroalcoholic extract (50%) from the leafwas active in vitro against Trichophyton rubrum (CIM = 50 µg/mL); but not against Aspergillus flavus, Epidermophyton floccosum orMicrosporum gypseum16.

The hydroalcoholic extract (50%) from the leaf in vitro was inactive against Neisseria gonorrhoea at a concentration of 50 µL/disk17.

The aqueous extract from the dried root had effects in vitro against Candida albicans on agar plate at a concentration of 6%18.

The methanolic extracts from the dried leaf and seed (2 mg/mL) were inactive against Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Streptococcus spp, Staphylococcus aureus, Streptobacillus spp, Salmonella spp, Corynebacterium diphtheriae andNeisseria spp19.

The ethanolic extract (95%) from the dried leaf showed insecticidal activity against Rhodnius neglectus at a concentration of 50 µg20.

The ethanolic extract in vitro caused 60% inhibition of Plasmodium falciparum.  The dichloromethane extract from the leaf (6 mg/mL) in vitro on Plasmodium falciparum showed antiprotozoal activity, causing 81.7% inhibition of growth21.

The leaf extract in the in vivo tests of carrageenan-induced pedal edema and cotton pellet granuloma (1-2 g/kg) showed anti-inflammatory effects, a mechanism mediated by the inhibition of prostaglandine synthesis22.

The ethanolic extract (95%) from the dried leaf showed antihepatotoxic activity by oral administration to male rats (100 mg/kg/5 days)23.

The hydroalcoholic extract (50%) from the dried leaf showed antihepatotoxic activity by oral administration to rats (500 mg/kg)24.

The ethanolic extract (95%) from the leaf and stem (33 mL/L) showed smooth muscle relaxant activity on the isolated rabbit duodenum, and spasmogenic activity on isolated guinea pig ileum25.

The aqueous extract from the leaf and the stem administered intravenously to dogs (0.1 mL/kg) had hypotensive effects25.

References:  

1 GERMOSEN-ROBINEAU L, GERONIMO M, AMPARO C, 1984 Encuesta TRAMIL. enda-caribe, Santo Domingo, Rep. Dominicana.

2 CHARLES C, 1988 TRAMIL survey. Movement for Cultural Awareness MCA, Roseau, Dominica.

3 LAGOS-WITTE S, 1988-89, 1996 Encuesta TRAMIL. Laboratorio de Histología Vegetal y Etnobotánica, Departamento de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras UNAH, Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

4 GIRON L, 1988 Encuesta TRAMIL (Costa atlántica). Centro Mesoamericano de Tecnología CEMAT, Guatemala, Guatemala.

5 WENIGER B, ROUZIER M, 1986 Enquête TRAMIL. Service Oecuménique d'Entraide SOE, Port au Prince, Haïti.

6 TIWARI RD, SINGH J, 1977 Anthraquinone pigments from Cassia occidentalis. Planta Med Suppl 32(4):375-377.

7 RAI PP, SHOK M, 1983 Anthraquinone glycosides from plant parts of Cassia occidentalis. Indian J Pharm Sci 45(2):87-88.

8 ANTON R, DUQUENOIS P, 1968 Contribution à l'étude chimique duCassia occidentalis L. Annales Pharmaceutiques Françaises 26(2):673-680.

9 TIWARI RD, SINGH J, 1977 Flavonoids from the leaves of Cassia occidentalis. Phytochemistry16(7):1107-1108.

10 MAJUMDAR SG, BASAK B, LASKAR S, 1987 Surface hydrocarbons from the leaves of some Cassia species. J Indian Chem Soc 64(4):259-260.

11 ALVES AC, 1964 Pharmacological study of the root of Cassia occidentalis. An Fac Farm Porto 24:65-119.

12 WADER GR, KUDAV NA, 1987 Chemical investigation ofCassia occidentalis Linn. with special reference to isolation of xanthones fromCassia spp. Indian J of Chemisitry 26(B7):703.

13 KUDAV NA, KULKARNI A, 1974 Chemical investigation on Cassia occidentalis. II. Isolation of islandicin, helminthosporine, xanthonin and NMR spectral studies of cassiollin and its derivatives. Indian J Chem 12:1042-1044.

14 LAL-JAWAHAR, GUPTA-PURAN-CHANDRA, 1973 Physcion and phytosterol from the roots of Cassia occidentalis. Phytochemistry 12(5):1186.

15 GarcIa GM, Coto MT, GonzAlez CS, OCAMPO R, Pazos L, 2001 Tránsito intestinal en ratones, con extracto acuoso de raíz fresca de Senna occidentalis. Informe TRAMIL. Laboratorio de Ensayos Biológicos LEBI, Escuela de Medicina, Universidad de Costa Rica, San Pedro, Costa Rica.

16 CACERES A, LOPEZ BR, GIRON MA, LOGEMANN H, 1991 Plants used in Guatemala for the treatment of dermatophytic infections. 1. Screening for antimycotic activity of 44 plant extracts. J Ethnopharmacol 31(3):263-276.

17 CACERES A, MENENDEZ H, MENDEZ E, COHOBON E, SAMAYAO BE, JAUREGUI E, PERALTA E, CARRILLO G, 1995 Antigonorrhoeal activity of plants used in Guatemala for the treatment of sexually transmitted diseases. J Ethnopharmacol 48(2):85-88.

18 PEREZ C, SUAREZ C, 1997 Antifungal activity of plant extracts against Candida albicans. Amer J Chinese Med 25(2):181-184.

19 HUSSAIN HS, DEENI YY, 1991 Plants in Kano ethomedicine; screening for antimicrobial activity and alkaloids. Int J Pharmacog 29(1):51-56.

20 SCHMEDA-HIRSCHMANN G, ROJAS DE ARIAS A, 1992 A screening method for natural products on triatomine bugs. Phytother Res 6(2):68-73.

21 TONA L, NGIMBI NP, TSAKALA M, MESIA K, CIMANGA K, ASPERS S, DE BRUYNE T, PIETERS L, TOTTE J, VLIETINCK AJ, 1999 Antimalarial activity of 20 crude extracts from nine African medicinal plants used in Kinshasa, Congo. J Ethnopharmacol 68(1/3):193-203.

22 SADIQUE J, CHANDRA T, THENMOZHI V, ELANGO V, 1987 Biochemical modes of action ofCassia occidentalis and Cardiospermum halicacabum in inflammation. J Ethnopharmacol 19(2):201-212.

23 SARAF S, DIXIT VK, TRIPATHI SC, PATNAIK GK, 1994 Antihepatotoxic activity of Cassia occidentalis. Int J Pharmacog 32(2):178-183.

24 JAFRI MA, JALIS SUBHANI M, JAVED K, SINGH S, 1999 Hepatoprotective activity of leaves of Cassia occidentalis against paracetamol and ethyl alcohol intoxication in rats. J Ethnopharmacol 66(3):355-361.

25 FENG PC, HAYNES LJ, MAGNUS KE, PLIMMER JR, SHERRAT HS, 1962 Pharmacological screening of some West Indian medicinal plants. J Pharm Pharmacol 14:556-561.

26 Garcia GM, Coto MT, Gonzalez CS, Pazos L, 1998 Toxicidad sub-crónica en ratones, del extracto acuoso de hojas frescas de Senna occidentalis. Informe TRAMIL. Laboratorio de Ensayos Biológicos, Escuela de Medicina, Universidad de Costa Rica, San Pedro, Costa Rica.

27 Garcia GM, Coto MT, Gonzalez CS, Pazos L, 1998 Toxicidad sub-crónica en ratones, del extracto acuoso de raíz frescas de Senna occidentalis. Informe TRAMIL. Laboratorio de Ensayos Biológicos, Escuela de Medicina, Universidad de Costa Rica, San Pedro, Costa Rica.

28 GONZALEZ A, ALFONSO H, 1990 Evaluación de la toxicidad dérmica deMomordica charantia L. yCassia occidentalis L. en conejo y cobayo. Informe TRAMIL. Centro Nacional de Salud Animal, La Habana, Cuba.

29 PAZOS L, COTO T, GONZALEZ S, 2003 Estudio de irritabilidad dérmica, en piel lesionada de conejo, de hoja fresca de Senna occidentalis. Informe TRAMIL. Laboratorio de Ensayos Biológicos, Universidad de Costa Rica, San Pedro, Costa Rica.

30 PAZOS L, COTO T, GONZALEZ S, 2003 Irritabilidad de la mucosa en conejo, de raíz fresca de Senna occidentalis. Informe TRAMIL. Laboratorio de Ensayos Biológicos, Universidad de Costa Rica, San Pedro, Costa Rica.

31 PAZOS L, COTO T, GONZALEZ S, 2003 Irritabilidad de la mucosa en conejo, de semillas frescas de Senna occidentalis. Informe TRAMIL. Laboratorio de Ensayos Biológicos, Universidad de Costa Rica, San Pedro, Costa Rica.

32 O'HARA P, PIERCE K, 1974 A toxic cardiomyopathy caused byCassia occidentalis. II Biochemical studies in poisoned rabbits. Vet Pathol 11(2):110-124.

33 COLVIN BM, HARRISON LR, SANGSTER LT, GOSSER HS, 1986 Cassia occidentalis toxicosis in growing pigs. J Am Vet Med Assoc 189(4):423-426.

34 MARTINS E, MARTINS VM, RIET-CORREA F, SONCINI RA, PARABONI SV, 1986 Intoxicação por Cassia occidentalis (Leguminosae) em suínos. Pesq Vet Bras 6(2):35-38.

35BARTH AT, KOMMERS GO, SALLES MS, WOUTERS F, DE BARROS CS, 1994 Coffee senna (Senna occidentalis) poisoning in cattle in Brazil. Vet Hum Toxicol 36(6):541-545.

36 ALBORNOZ A, 1993 Medicina Tradicional Herbaria. Caracas, Venezuela: Editorial Instituto Farmacoterápico Latino S.A. p174.

DISCLAIMER

The information provided is for educational purposes only for the benefit of the general public and health professionals. It is not intended to take the place of either the written law or regulations. Since some parts of plants could be toxic, might induce side effects, or might have interactions with certain drugs, anyone intending to use them or their products must first consult with a physician or another qualified health care professional. TRAMIL has no responsibility whatsoever towards the user for any decision, action or omission made in relation to the information contained in this Pharmacopoeia.