Botanical name: Senna alexandrina Family: Caesalpiniaceae (Gulmohar family)
Synonyms: Cassia acutifolia, Cassia senna, Senna angustifolia, Cassia angustifolia
Indian Senna is a woody perennial herb, up to 3 ft tall. Flowers are borne in raceme, up to 15 cm long, at branch ends or in leaf axils. Young flowers are covered with about 7-8 mm long cup-shaped bracts. Flower-stalks are 3-4 cm long, sepals 5, nearly equal, 1.0-1.3 cm long, about 6-8 mm broad, spoon shaped or cup shaped, light yellow in colour. Petals are 5, nearly equal, 1.4-1.7 cm long, 7-10 mm wide, obovate, shortly clawed, deep yellow, veins becoming prominent after drying. Stamens are 10, upper 3 reduced to staminodes, rest perfect, 2 lower largest. Ovary is densely hairy, stipitate. Branches are hairless to nearly so. Stipules are lateral, about 1.5 mm long, pointed. Leaves are compound, about 4.5-11.5 cm long, 5-9 pairs of narrow lanceshaped to ovate leaflets, about 1.2-4 cm long, 3.5-10 mm wide. Pods are about 4-5 cm long, about 1.6-2.2 cm broad, sparsely hairy, turning black at maturity, generally 4-10 seeded; stipe 2-3 mm. Indian Senna is found in Sahara & Sahel to the Indian Subcontinent. Flowering: All year.
Medicinal uses: Historically, Senna alexandrina was used in the form of senna pods, or as herbal tea made from the leaves, as a laxative. Modern medicine has used extracts since at least the 1950s as a laxative. If accidentally ingested by infants, it can cause side effects such as severe diaper rash. The active ingredients are several senna glycosides which interact with immune cells in the colon.
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The flower labeled Indian Senna is ...