Italian Cassia
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Italian Cassia
P Native Herb pinnate Photo: Tabish
Common name: Italian Cassia, Port Royal senna, Italian senna, Senegal senna • Hindi: Bhinda anwal, Goranwal, Medi anwal, सोनमुखी Sonamukhi, Chhotataroda, Hindi-sana • Kannada: ಅಡವಿತಂಗಡಿ Adavi tangadi, ಕಾಡುಸೋನಾಮುಖಿ Kadu sonamukhi, ನೆಲದಾವರಿಕೆ Neladaavarike • Malayalam: Cheruvanni, Nila-vaka, Seruvanni, Sunnamaki, Sunnamakki • Marathi: Bhonyataravad, Bhui-tarwad, Mendial • Sanskrit: Bhumyahuli, Bhutalapota • Tamil: Kattunilavirai, Nattu-nila-virai, Nattunila virai, Nelavarai • Telugu: Nelaponna, Nelathangedu, Sunamukhi, Nela ponna • Urdu: Sana-e hind ﺳﻨﺎﹺ ﮨﹻﻨﺪ
Botanical name: Senna italica    Family: Caesalpiniaceae (Gulmohar family)
Synonyms: Cassia italica, Cassia obtusa, Senna obovata

Italian Cassia is a spreading perennial herb, 30-90 cm tall, stem hairless, pale green, branches hairless except the young parts. Leaves are 5-12 cm long, axis hairless, eglandular, leaf-stalk 1-3.5 cm long, stipules 6-7 mm long, leaflet 3-7 pairs, 1.8-3.5 cm long, 0.7-2 cm broad; broadly oblong or obovate, blunt, with a short sharp point, hairless on both sides or sometimes finely velvet-hairy beneath. Flowers are borne in stalked racemes about 6-23 cm in lea axils, flower-stalk about 2 mm long. Sepal-cup is 8-13 mm long, divided to the base, sepals oblong, blunt. Petals are 1-2 cm long, obovate to oblong, short clawed, yellow, netveined with darker veins. Perfect stamens are 7, unequal, 2 or 3 lowest larger, about 8-14 mm long. Pods are 2.5-4.5 cm long, about 1.2-1.8 cm broad, flat, thin, papery, hairless, rounded at both the ends, much recurved with a line of prominent longitudinal crest in the middle of the pod. Seeds are 6-12, wedge shaped about 6 mm long, about 3 mm broad, finely reticulate, rugose, with a transverse ridge across the middle of each face, dark brown. Italian Cassia is native to Africa to Indian Subcontinent.
Medicinal uses: The leaves, pods and seeds of Senna italica are mostly used in traditional medicine. In Malawi, root infusion is used to treat diarrhea in infants. In India, the leaves are used as a hair treatment called neutral henna or “blonde henna”. This treatment coats the hair so that it looks glossy and thick for several weeks, but instead of being completely neutral, "neutral henna" appears to have a yellowish impact on hair rather than the reddish one produced by henna.

Identification credit: P. Samydurai Photographed in IIT Campus, Jodhpur, Rajasthan.

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