Senna Supplements: What To Know About This Natural Approach To Constipation

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Along with providing information on whether senna supplements might be right for you, this article also links to Fullscript where you can buy senna supplements online through the secure healthcare formulary and get free shipping and 20% off the retail price of professional-grade supplements.

Senna supplements have been a go-to for many when it comes to relieving occasional constipation. Senna is derived from the leaves and fruit of the senna plant and work by stimulating your intestines to move stool through your system to offers quick relief from constipation.

What Is Senna?

Senna is a plant species belonging to the legume family Fabaceae, also known as Cassia. The leaves and fruit of the Senna plant are commonly used as a natural laxative and are found in many over-the-counter herbal remedies for constipation. Senna contains compounds called anthraquinones, which stimulate the muscles of the bowel to move stool through the intestines. It is available in various forms such as tea, capsules, tablets, and liquids, and is often used as a short-term solution for constipation relief.

Caution: Prolonged or excessive use of Senna may lead to dependency or other adverse effects such as abdominal cramps and electrolyte imbalances.

What Is Senna?

Senna is a plant-based herbal remedy commonly used as a laxative. It is derived from the leaves and pods of the senna plant (Cassia angustifolia or Cassia acutifolia) and has been used for centuries to relieve constipation and promote bowel movements. Senna works by irritating the colon’s lining, which stimulates bowel contractions and softens stool, ultimately aiding in the relief of constipation.

It is available in various forms, including senna tea, capsules, tablets, and liquid extracts. Senna is typically used for short-term relief of constipation. It is not recommended for long-term or frequent use without the guidance of a healthcare professional. It’s essential to follow dosing instructions and consult with a healthcare provider before using senna or any other laxative, especially if you have underlying health conditions or are taking medications, as senna may interact with certain drugs.

Are the Benefits of Senna?

  • Relieves Occasional Constipation: Senna contains compounds called sennosides, which irritate the lining of the bowel, causing a laxative effect. [PMID: 29885259]
  • Gastrointestinal Mobility: Senna is sometimes used to help with slow transit time in the digestive tract. [PMC1432874]

Is Senna Safe?

Caution: Prolonged or excessive use of Senna may lead to dependency or other adverse effects such as abdominal cramps and electrolyte imbalances.

Senna supplements are generally safe for short-term use. Most adults experience effective relief from constipation with minimal side effects when using Senna for brief periods. However, long-term use can raise concerns. Prolonged use can lead to a dependency on the laxative for regular bowel movements. Rare instances of liver damage have been reported, usually involving long-term use or extremely high doses of the supplement. The liver issues that have been reported tend to be reversible upon discontinuation of the product.

Medication Interactions with Senna

  • Diuretics: Taking senna with diuretics may increase the risk of dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.
  • Warfarin: Senna may affect how warfarin works, increasing the risk of bleeding.
  • Digoxin: Using senna with this heart medication may increase the risk of digoxin toxicity due to potential electrolyte imbalance.
  • Oral Contraceptives: Senna can decrease the effectiveness of birth control pills, requiring the use of an additional contraception method.
  • Antacids: Taking senna with antacids can lead to increased stomach cramps.

Supplement Interactions with Senna

  • Magnesium: Taking senna with magnesium supplements may increase the risk of dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.
  • Licorice Root: Can amplify the risk of electrolyte imbalance when taken with senna.
  • Psyllium: This fiber supplement may reduce the bowel-stimulating effects of senna, however, psyllium fiber is recommended for prevention of constipation.
  • Echinacea: Known for immune-boosting properties that can interact with senna.
  • St. John’s Wort: This supplement is known to interact with many drugs and may also impact the effectiveness of senna.
  • Aloe Vera: Both aloe and senna contain substances that act as natural laxatives, so combining the two could lead to dehydration or diarrhea.

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Why Professionals Choose the Fullscript Formulary

Your health is on the line. Health professionals know that many other online and retail options set a very low bar for quality–sometimes amazingly low. The Fullscript formulary is the most secure online source for the highest quality brands securely sourced to assure freshness and purity. Here’s what makes Fullscript the best:

  • Meticulous vetting of brand quality. Health professionals trust Fullscript to continuously monitor the quality of each item on the platform. Other retailers operate with profit as their highest or only motive when choosing brands. Fullscript cares only about quality and reliability. Unlike discount stores, large online marketplaces, and other retailers you won’t find ingredients sourced from China or other questionable locations or companies.
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  • How It Works:
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    • Search For What You Want: Once inside Fullscript, you can search for the exact brands and products you want from their wide selection of quality brands.

Senna Leaves by Nature’s Way

Senna is flowering herb that grows best in tropical regions. Its leaves have been traditionally used as a laxative for occasional constipation and are often made into beneficial teas for that purpose.* Keep Nature’s Way Senna Leaves on hand when it’s time to answer the call of nature.*

Suggested Use: Adults and children age 12 years and over: take 2-3 capsules at bedtime with a full glass (8 ounces) of water. Not recommended for children under 12 years of age. Do not take more than 2-3 capsules in a 24-hour period. Do not take more than 7 days as frequent or prolonged use may result in dependence. Do not exceed recommended dosage. Not for long term use.

Amount Per 3 Capsule Serving

Senna … 1.35g (leaf)


Senna Tea by Buddha Teas

Senna tea is made using the leaves of the senna plant, which are also known for having laxative properties. For this reason, this tea is usually only ingested sparingly when brewed.

Fresh water is essential for brewing a great cup of tea. We recommend using filtered spring water and a glass, ceramic or stainless steel pot. Use one tea bag per cup of boiling water. Cover and steep for 4-6 minutes.

Ingredients: Organic Senna Leaf


Food First!

Although this article discusses supplements in detail, don’t forget that we are absolutely committed to the “Food First” approach to nutrition. When it comes to your health, the totality of your eating habits far surpasses the impact of individual nutrients or any single supplement you consume. Even though this article doesn’t delve into the broader picture of your overall diet, it’s crucial to keep this element at the forefront of our minds. Your food needs to provide all the vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals to nourish your body systems down to the cellular level.

Food choices, rather than supplements, are the most critical factors for a healthy gut microbiome. These trillions of tiny inhabitants in your gut affect your brain waves; they orchestrate your immune system. They possess the power to create molecules that can switch genes on or off and are even capable of synthesizing neurotransmitters. Opting for organic foods and steering clear of plastic packaging (including those labeled BPA-free) is a smart move to limit toxin exposure. The sum of all these parts leads to a powerful conclusion: the ultimate key to your health lies in the quality and balance of the food you consume. Supplements are secondary.

To Sum It Up

Senna supplements can effectively relieve constipation, but they’re just part of a bigger picture. Maintaining a proper microbiome and including enough fiber in your diet are key steps to preventing constipation in the first place. If you’re dealing with chronic constipation, meeting with a registered dietitian nutritionist can offer valuable insights into more sustainable and long-term solutions. Senna can be useful for temporary relief, but it’s essential to address the root causes of bowel problems for lasting health.


This Article is Not a Substitute for Medical Advice

Dietary supplements are not designed to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The Supplement Sciences website seeks to provide comprehensive access to the most relevant supplement information along with convenient online ordering. We do not provide medical advice and cannot guarantee that every product suggested is completely without risk. Since each person is unique in their health history and medication use, it is important to discuss supplements with your personal physician. Specifically, pregnant women and individuals being treated for cancer or liver or kidney problems must consult their physician about every nutritional supplement they plan to take. People taking medications for the treatment of HIV or with a history of organ transplant must not take supplements without consulting with their physician.


About the Author

Stephanie Figon, MS, RDN, LD

Creator of Supplement Sciences and NutriScape.NET. As a dietitian since 1992, Steph has had experiences in consulting, 15 years in clinical, and has operated a private practice nutrition counseling office for since 2011. Log in to comment and save this article on your board or send your comments to reviews@supplement-sciences.com

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