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Senna extract is an FDA-approved over-the-counter treatment for occasional constipation. Because there is no controversy regarding senna's effectiveness for this purpose, we do not present the supporting evidence here. Rather, we address the concerns that have been raised regarding senna’s safety.
Senna contains chemicals in the anthranoid family, such as anthraquinones, anthrones, and dianthrones. Related substances are found in a variety of plants used for laxative purposes, such as cascara sagrada, common buckthorn , and turkey rhubarb. The mechanism of action of anthranoids, however, is somewhat worrisome: they seem to work primarily by damaging the cells lining the colon. 1 In general, cell damage can be a precursor to cancer, and on this basis, concerns have been...
Interactions You Should Know About
If you are taking:
- Thiazide diuretics
- or Loop diuretics
It is especially important not to overuse senna.