A Haitian Treasure: Senna

Senna is a large genus of flowering plants native to the tropics. Senna is a low-branching shrub with oval-shaped dark green leaves and lovely yellow flowers which bloom in the spring and summer. The Senna domingensis species is specifically found in Haiti, where it unfortunately is a threatened species. Senna has many names in Haitian Kreyol and French, including Bentamaré, Café bâtard, Casse-puante, & Dartrier. Senna serves as a beautiful ornamental plant, but it also is used as a thickening agent, as neutral henna, and in traditional medicine.  The power is in the pods and the fruits of the senna plant, which have similar effects to that of aloe (also found in Haiti).

In Haiti, it is really common to take senna tea as an effective laxative. It is superb at relieving constipation. Senna is also known in Haiti for its excellent ability to expel stomach worms. Lastly, senna tea is often given to women right after childbirth as a way to relieve them of stress and tension.  Senna is commonly found in liquid, powder, and tea forms.

Again, Senna is a threatened species in Haiti, but that doesn't mean that we can't reverse the damage and protect the species. Senna is incredibly valuable in the modern health market today. What people may not know is that Senna is the main ingredient in many common laxatives sold all over the world, especially in all of those "dieter's teas".  It acts as a stimulant to reduce the dieter's appetite and its laxative properties cause food to move through the system quicker than the food from the calories can be absorbed.

Image Source: Verboga
Key Constituents:
  • Anthroquinones
  • Sennasides
  • Rhenins
Some benefits:
  • anti-fungal, anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory
  • decreases fever
  • natural purgative
  • natural laxative
  • cleanses the intestines
Suggested uses:
  • as a tea
  • as a hair treatment
In health,
Dr. Naika

The "Haitian Treasures" series was created by Dr. Naika in 2012. This series explores the magnificent benefits and uses of Haiti's natural resources, which Dr. Naika calls "Haitian Treasures". In this series, Dr. Naika explores the tie between Haiti's natural resources and natural, traditional, and holistic healing.

This blog post was originally posted on Dr. Naika's lifestyle blog, Naika in Balance. Dr. Naika's work is copyrighted. Please do not copy or repost Dr. Naika's work without citing her content as the original source.