Senna italica Mill.
Botanical name: Senna italica Mill.
Synonym: Cassia obovata Linn.
Sindhi name: Dadh walh, son makai
Local name: Sana Makkah
English name: Sudan senna
Part used: Fruits, pods, seeds, root and leaves
Senna italica Mill. is a small shrub which grows up to 65-90 cm in height. Taproots are present in this plant. Stem is solid, usually less than 2 m tall. These stems or young twigs are glabrous or sparsely glabrous and densely hairy. Leaves are paripinnate; leaflets are in 7-8 pairs, glabrous and yellowish-green. Flowers are yellow pods, fruits are greenish-brown to dark brown in color. Seeds are 5-7 in number, obovate, smooth and dark brown. The leaflets are elliptical and shortly hairy on both sides. Leaves are 5-7cm long.2, 3
Senna italica Mill. is native to African countries from Cape Verde, east to Somalia and south to South Africa. It is also native to Asia, from the Middle East to Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka.1, 2, 4 This plant has been introduced to Caribbean and Venezuela also.5
Ethnomedicinal Uses in Skin Diseases:
Sonh makai (Senna italica Mill.) water extract is applied topically for three days to cure scabies.
The major constituents of Senna italica Mill. are anthracene derivatives, sennoside A, B, C and D, rhein, alol- emodin and aloe emodin.7 Leaves and pods contain anthrone glycosides
which, after drying, are transformed into sennosides and contain 6-hydroxymusizin glycoside, while seeds contain pipecolic acid. Flavonoids isolated from the aerial parts are tamarixetin (3-rutinoside-7rhamnoside) besides, ß-sitosterol, stigmasterol, α-amyrin, 1, 5-dihydroxy-3-methyl anthraquinone and anthraquinone.9
Medicinal Uses and Pharmacology/ Scientific studies:
Leaves, pods and seeds of Senna italica are mostly used in traditional medicine. They are taken, usually as a decoction or maceration, to cure stomach complaints, fever, jaundice, venereal diseases and biliousness. Leaves and seeds of Senna italica Mill. are purgative and anthelmintic.1 A powder of its leaves is mixed with vinegar and applied externally to cure skin diseases.2 Senna is useful in constipation, anemia and leprosy diseases.4 Its leaves are also used to prepare tinctures.4 In Malawi, root infusion is used to treat diarrhea in infants.5 Root infusion is also used as eye drops for sore eyes and in treatment of indigestion, liver complaints, gall bladder disorders, nausea, vomiting and dysmenorrhoea.6
Senna italica Mill. exhibits potent antimicrobial, insecticidal, antifouling, larvicidal and anti plasmodial activities.8, 10
- Khare, C. P. (2007), Indian Medicinal plants, p. 128-129, Springer Publishers, New Delhi-110058, India.
- Dhiman, A. K. (2006), Ayurvedic Drug Plants, p. 254-255, Daya Publishers, Delhi-110 035, India.
- ALI, S. I. (2008). Flora of Karachi, p. 967-971, Pak. J. Bot., 40(3)
- Joshi, S. G. (2000), Medicinal Plants, p. 118, Mohan Primlani Oxford & IBH Publishers Co. Pvt.Ltd.66 Janpath, New Delhi 110001, India.
- “Senna italica Mill.”. Retrieved 2011-07-08.
- Lardinois, P., Duez, P., Chamart, S., Lejoly, J., Hanocq, M., Zeba, B., Sawadogo, M. & Molle, L., (1987). Etude des conditions d’optimalisation d’une culture de Cassia italica Mill. au Burkina Faso destinée a la production de sennosides. Médecine Traditionnelle et Pharmacopée 1(1): 5–27.
- Bruneton,J (1999) PharmacognosyPhytochemistry Medicinal Plants,2nd, Intercept Ltd., Paris, London,PP. 427-430
- Obeng-Ofori, C. H. Reichmuth, J. Bekele, A. Hassanali, J. (1997), Appl. Entomology121237-243.
- Rizk, A. M. (1986). “The Phytochemistry of the Flora of Qater”, Richmond, U.K.
- Cowan, M. M. (1999): Plant Product as Antimicrobial Agent. Clin. Microbiol., 12:564-582.