Senna tea is a popular herbal tea used for a variety of health conditions. Typically made from the leaves of the senna plant, senna tea is often used to treat constipation. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration have approved senna as a non-prescription laxative.
Senna tea comes in teabags and can be found in health food stores, but some people like to use the loose leaves of senna and brew the tea themselves. Steep the leaves in a pot of boiling water for approximately ten minutes. The leaves can also be put in cold water and steeped for 10 to 12 hours.
Using cold water to steep the leaves will leave less resin in the tea, so the chances of abdominal cramping will be reduced.
Regardless of the method used, once the tea is ready, strain and drink. When relieving constipation with senna tea, it will take up to 12 hours to get relief. It is recommended to take before bedtime, so that relief can occur in the morning. It is also a fast acting weight loss laxative.
When using senna tea, never drink it for more than seven consecutive days. Also, it should not be used by pregnant women or if the women are nursing. Do not give senna tea to children under 12 years of age. Senna can cause diarrhoea, which may lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.
You may experience nausea or vomiting, although these issues are less common. Some people may be allergic to senna leaves. The colour of your urine may change while you are taking senna laxatives, but should go back to normal when you stop.
Caution must be taken when using senna as it must not be overused. Some side effects include dependency, low potassium levels and dehydration. Also, it can lead to reduced potassium levels in the body.
Low potassium levels can result in muscle weakness and potentially dangerous changes in heart rhythm. It may also result in aching joints, weakened bones or muscles, loss of weight and decreased appetite. Cases of clubbing that occurs at the ends of the fingers have also been reported from taking senna for long periods of time.