Senna Leaf & Cassia Seed Explained

Written by Dr. Nat Kringoudis, a TCM expert!

“Recently there has been a great amount of discussion around herbal detox tea formulations and their harsh laxative influence. The cause for concern comes from the ill effect the ingredients may have in upsetting digestion and affecting how medications can then be absorbed. The main offender (and common ingredient) in such teas is senna leaf, widely known for its laxative effect on the body. We wanted to take the opportunity to share a little more about the ingredients in Digestive Herbs and why our approach has always been about maximizing digestion rather than dangerously (and ineffectively) sending you to the bathroom more frequently than a bad case of Bali-belly.

Previously we’ve written about why laxatives don’t actually work and are an ineffective means to weight loss and healthy weight maintenance. Today, I want to help you understand a little better how specific ingredients can work together to create a wonderful outcome and in the instance of our Tiny Tea, just why it works so well without putting the body at risk.

We’ve made no secret of just how Digestive Herbs works. Its main action is to support healthy digestion via its special ingredients that synergistically work together to achieve this so nicely. If you’ve taken some time to look at the ingredients on the box, you may see the presence of cassia seeds (or Jue Ming Zi). These seeds are indeed from the same plant as the senna leaf in question, however, they have a considerably different effect on the body and the digestive system. Cassia seeds are useful for several reasons and are considered from a TCM perspective effective in detoxification rather than senna leaf, which falls directly in the category of purgative. Cassia seeds help to support healthy liver function. It is true that this ingredient in large quantities may moisten the intestines and unblock the bowels but it’s important to understand two things when it comes to its inclusion in Tiny Tea.

Firstly, the balance between the ingredients and the quantity of each is what makes this blend work. Including a small amount of cassia seed is a wonderful inclusion to assist in digestive support and ensure that the bowel is regularly moving. This is ever so different from various other teas that may use large quantities of specific ingredients like senna leaf that have a harsh and cathartic action. When each of the tea ingredients are able to support the body in various ways, the outcome is quite special and unique. In simple words, the inclusion of cassia seeds in this tea blend are substantially small and help the formula to work. The quantity of cassia seed in Tiny Tea isn’t enough to cause a laxative effect but rather, included for its wonderful ability to help smooth out the digestive process.

Senna leaf is famous for its ability to purge the body and can be successfully used for a very short time to relieve constipation. Its effect is quite rapid and pending bowel motion very urgent and most often very painful. It isn’t advised for senna to be consumed for a long period of time nor would I suggest it be used as an ongoing solution to weight management or constipation. It effectively speeds up the digestive process meaning you don’t properly get a chance to absorb the nutrients in your food, leaving your body robbed of the essentials. When it comes to medications (like the pill for example), the same goes – without them being absorbed into the blood stream, they can become ineffective. Not only can this be dangerous for those with serious health concerns but a reason why unwanted pregnancy may occur where laxatives and the contraceptive pill are involved. Furthermore, the long-term effects of purgatives can be damaging to your digestive system, gut health and bowels. It’s for these reasons that we have been very careful with how our blends have been created.

We’ve chosen the ingredients in Digestive Herbs very wisely. Each ingredient is there to support you and your beautiful body. To ensure you are able to utilize your nutrients from your food and for your digestive system to perform.

Bensky, D. et. Al. 1993. Materia Medica, Rev ed. Eastland Press.

With love,

TCM Dr. Nat Kringoudis

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Nat Kringoudis

Nat Kringoudis

Natalie Kringoudis is a Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncturist, Natural Fertility Educator, Author and owner of The Pagoda Tree.
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