There are quite a few benefits derived from senna tea, such as aiding weight loss, reducing inflammation, detoxifying the body, improving digestion, reducing appetite, neutralizing parasites and lowering the risk of chronic disease. However, this powerful tea does not come without any side effect, and should only be consumed in moderate amount to avoid weakened bowels, low electrolyte levels, liver damage, heart conditions and dependency on the herb for your gut to function properly.
What is Senna Tea?
Senna tea is derived from the leaves of Cassia plants, which comprise more than 250 different species. The senna plants are small shrubs that bear yellow or green leaflets; these can be cultivated and dried to make senna tea. The two most popular senna leaf varieties are Cassia angustifolia and Cassia accutifolia, which are exported around the world due to their unique health effects.
Senna Tea Health Benefits
The health benefits of senna tea are particularly good for those suffering from constipation, high toxicity levels, parasitic infections, obesity, high cholesterol, joint disorders, arthritis, liver and kidney disease, and those with high oxidative stress in their body. The effects of this herbal tea are largely due to the presence of chemicals called sennosides, which have powerful laxative properties.
Senna tea is commonly recommended for weight loss, since it can help to flush out the body of excess toxins and residual waste matter in the colon and digestive tracts. This stimulation of peristaltic motion and general detoxification through the tea’s laxative effect can be rapid. However, much of the weight that is “lost” is water weight, so using senna tea should also be paired with dietary restrictions and exercise, to have a full effect.
Certain compounds found in senna tea, such as sennosides, are not only laxative in effect, but also anti-parasitic. By eradicating intestinal worms and other parasites in the gut, this tea can help ensure that you get as many nutrients as possible from your meals.
If you are struggling with constipation, bloating, cramping or indigestion, senna tea can often help by promoting the normal flow of food and waste matter through your bowels. While the rapid emptying of the gut can sometimes result in flatulence and temporary bloating, the general improvement to your digestive system is worth it.
Senna leaves do not only contain laxative chemicals, but also flavonoids and glycosides, among other active ingredients, that can function as antioxidants. This can help reduce the occurrence of chronic disease in the body by neutralizing free radicals before they can cause oxidative stress, chronic disease, and even cancer.
This specialty tea is also well known as a diuretic, meaning that it can help detoxify the body by stimulating urination; this can release excess salts, fats, toxins and water from the body. Again, senna can often result in dehydration, so pay attention to your body and make sure you are replacing all the water it may be causing you to lose.
Traditionally, senna tea has been used for a wide variety of inflammatory conditions, including headaches, fevers and inflammation of joints and tissues. Research on this for specific conditions is ongoing, but anecdotal evidence shows senna tea to be quite effective, when used appropriately.
How Do You Make Senna Tea?
Senna tea can easily be made at home and requires only a small amount of senna leaves for its preparation. Despite being native to the Middle East, Africa and Asia, the senna plant has also been cultivated in the US and other parts of the world. So you can grow your own senna shrub, as it is much easier to access the leaflets to make this tea. Once the leaflets are harvested and dried, they can be used to their full effect.
- 1/4 teaspoon of dried senna leaves
- 2 cups of water (filtered)
- 1/2 teaspoon of honey or sugar, to taste
Step 1 – Bring the water to a boil in a small pot.
Step 2 – Add the senna leaves, cover the pot and allow them to steep for 8-10 minutes.
Step 3 – Strain the mixture into a teacup, or larger pitcher if you’re making a bigger batch.
Step 4 – Add honey or sugar, if desired, and enjoy!
Side Effects of Senna Tea
While drinking senna tea can be beneficial, the side effects include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration, among others. This tea is very potent, and should only be consumed for a purpose. Also, one cup a day should be sufficient, if you want to avoid the other side effects.
- Dependency – Long-term use of senna tea can actually cause the bowels to stop functioning normally, because they have become dependent on the sennosides found in this tea. This type of dependence can be difficult to break, and will cause constipation and stomach discomfort when you don’t use the tea. Using this tea consistently for more than two weeks is not recommended.
- Electrolyte Complications – Studies have also shown that regular use of senna tea can cause changes to the chemical balance in the body, typically in the form of lower electrolyte levels, particularly potassium, which can be life-threatening at extremely low levels. Dehydration from excess urination and bowel movements can also result from extended use of this tea.
- Gastrointestinal Distress – When this tea is not consumed in moderation, the results on the gastrointestinal system can be intense, including violent diarrhea and uncontrolled bowels, due to the powerful laxative properties.
- Blood Thinner and Heart Health – Senna tea also has blood-thinning qualities, so if you are already taking anticoagulant medication, there could be complications if you also began drinking this tea.
How Long Does it Take for Senna Tea to Take Effect?
Senna tea should begin to take effect within 1-3 hours of ingesting the brew. Every individual is different, in terms of metabolism and other factors that may affect how quickly the tea will begin to work. However, provided you aren’t take many other medications, and you have a relatively empty stomach, it should take about two hours to feel the impact.
If you want to use this tea for your health, start with a mild brew, to see what effects it will have on your body. The laxative effect can be rather intense, and may affect people with sensitive stomach. Find a comfortable strength for senna tea based on your own body, and remember, this tea should not be taken for extended period of time.