OMWITANJOKA Runyankole, IMINDI, MWENGAJINI, STINKING WEED, SEGUSSE, CASSLA OCCIDENTAIUS
The senna is well known drug in Unani, Ayurvedic and Allopathic systems of medicines and is also a house hold medicine. The drug from India is known as Tinnevelly senna. The dried leaves and pods comprise the drug, the former known as Senna leaf and later Senna fruit as pod. The commercial drug consists of dried green leaves and shells of nearly dried and ripe pods. The flowers are reported to contain considerable quantity of sennoside (2.6%). The commercial samples of pod (shells) contain sennosides 3 to 5% and the foliage 2.5 to 4
The Senna leaves and pods contain sennasoides A, B, C, D, G, rhein, aloe-amine, Kaempferein and iso-rhein in the free and compound glycoside forms. The leaves, pods and roots of Cassia senna contains rhein, chrysophenol, imodin and aloe-imodin
The leaves and pods (shells) are usually administered in the Ayurvedic and Unani systems of medicine as infusion, and considered a great tonic. The milk of nursing women acquires purgative properties after the use of senna. The drug is contra indicated in spastic constipation and colitis. The senna is an efficient purgative either for occasional use or for habitual constipation. It is free from astringent action of rhubarb (Rheum sp.) type but has a tendency to cause gripe ; hence it is combined with carminatives, aromatics and other saline laxatives ; the pods, however, cause less gripe. The disagreeable odour is masked by the addition of ginger or cloves. In India several household preparations such as decoction, powder, syrup, infusion and confection are made with senna. It enters into a compound Nilaavarai Churnam used for treating distention of stomach, hiccups, vomiting and biliousness Besides being an excellent laxative, the senna is used as a febrifuge, in splenic enlargements, anemia, typhoid, cholera, biliousness, jaundice, gout, rheumatism, tumours, foul breath and bronchitis and probably in leprosy. It is employed in the treatment of amoebic dysentery, as an anthelmintic and as a mild liver stimulant. The leaf is one of the constituents of a patented drug reported to have protective effects on the liver. The leaves in the form of confection of senna are used in treating hemorrhoids. They are externally used for certain skin diseases and the powdered leaves in the vinegar are applied to wounds and burns, and to remove pimples. However, it has been known to cause a severe and painful dermatitis in sensitized persons. The leaves along with those of hina are used to dye the hair black (Chopra et al. 1958).
Botanical name:- Cassia occidentalis Linn.
It is known by different names. In Hindi ; Badikanodi, Chakunda, Kasonda, in English ; Coffee-senna, Foetid Cassia, Negro coffee, Rubbish Cassia, Stinking-weed, in Sanskrit:- Kasamarda and in Rajasthan, Chakundra Talka.
An erect, foetid, annual herb or under shrub, 60-150 cm. in height found throughout in India up to an altitude of 1500 m. Leaves, 15-20 cm. long, lanceolate or ovate-lanceolate, leaflets 3 pairs, membranous, glucose, ovate or lancelet ; flowers yellow, in short racemes ; pods recurved,
glabrous, compressed 10-13 cms x 0.8 cm. ; seeds dark olive green, ovoid, compressed 6 mm. x 4 mm., hard and smooth shining.
The herb is reported to be used as condiment and in perfumery. The young leaves are eaten aloned as potherb or cooked along with unripe pods and eaten with rice; the leaf when eaten is reported to act as a prophylactic against leucorrhoea.
The herb can be utilized as cattle-feed and can from maintenance ration for bullocks although suspected poisoning of stock in Northern Queensland and scouring in heifers have been reported. The herb can be used for reclamation of land and also as green manure to restore fertility in exhausted fields. It is often cultivated as a shade plant.
All parts of the plant have almost similar properties. They possess purgative, tonic, febrifugal, expectorant and diuretic properties. The plant is used to cure sore eyes, haematuria, rheumatism, typhoid, asthma and disorders of haemoglobin, is also reported to cure leprosy. A decoction of the plant is used in hysteria, in dysentery and other stomach troubles, and also as an application to sores, itch and inflammation of the rectum. The plant is employed in dropsy, and as a vermifuge. Along with other plant as, it is made into an ointment used for skin diseases. The herb forms an ingredient of the patented indigenous herbal drug “Liv-52”, which shows marked effect in the early cases of hepatic cirrhosis having steatorrhoea ; Liv-52 reduced the toxicity of cadmium and beryllium in experimentally infected rats with SFV (Semiliki forest encephalitis virus). As an ingredient effect in rats; excellent response was recorded in senile pruritus cases. An infusion of the bark is given in diabetes. The volatile oil obtained from the leaves, roots and seeds showed anti-bacterial and anti-fungal activity. The leaves have purgative, febrifugal, tonic, sudorific, diuretic and stomachic properties. They are given in cough and hysteria. A lotion of the leaves is used as an eye-wash in tetanus. The leaves are used internally and externally in skin-diseases, such as itches, yaws, scabies and ring-worm. A decoction of the leaves is given to children as a mild vermifuge; the hot decoction is given as an antipatriotic and is reported to be preferred to quinine for its tonic properties. The fresh leaves, pounded with salt and onions, are applied as a poultice to guinea worm sores to extruse the worms. They are used in the inflammatory swelling, rheumatism, wounds, sprains and wrenches and also given in jaundice, pleurisy, headache and toothache. A paste of the leaves with calcium hydroxide is applied on abscesses for quick opening and pus clearance. The leaf paste is also applied externally for bone fracture. The leaves are used in foot and mouth disease of cattle. Their extract exhibits activity against earthworms.
The seed is bitter and has tonic, febrifugal and purgative properties. It is considered to be a blood tonic and excellent diuretic. Seeds are useful in cough and whooping cough, convulsions and in heart diseases. Their powder is externally applied in coetaneous diseases and eruptions. The extracts showed positive response on guinea pig-ileum, rat-uterus, rabbit-heart, and depressor-effect on blood-pressure of dogs, and also activity against earthworms. Like all systems of Indian sciences, the science of medicine has taken origin from the gods. According to Indian mythology, Ayurveda was first