2724732012_16f5eb3bb9_bWhat’s in your herbal blend? With the growing popularity of slimming, diet, and detox teas, we still need to know what we are putting into our bodies. Even though the package says “All Natural” or “Organic” it is still beneficial to know the ingredients since many of these blends contain numerous herbs. As promised, this is the third and final mention of Senna.

Since this is usually one of the herbs in these ever-popular blends, it is important to note that Senna can be dangerous. First of all, Senna is known as a natural laxative. It has been approved by the FDA as a “nonprescription laxative” but if you do any research on it, you will find it comes with many cautionary warnings.

From Wikipedia:

“Senna (from Arabic – sanā), the sennas, is a large genus of flowering plants in the legume family, Fabaceae, and in the subfamily, Caesalpinioideae.”

sennaIt produces a large seed pod, but for the herbal teas it is the leaf that is used. The chemicals in the plant are called sennosides, and these cause an irritation to the lining of the colon and force the contractions commonly associated with diarrhea, therefore creating a possibility of violent and frequent bowel movements.

As I have previously declared, sometimes we do need to or choose to move things out of our bodies and with caution Senna will do this. There is not much out there that proves it detoxifies, suppresses the appetite, or causes weight loss as you will often see stated.

The National Institute of Health warns against using Senna for more than two weeks. They also state that long-term use can lead to dysfunction of the bowels, risk of muscle weakness, liver damage, and heart function disorders.

I am choosing to bring Senna to your attention because in my research I stumbled on something rather disturbing. There are numerous videos on the Internet about diet and detoxing teas and many scantily-clothed young girls are encouraging others to use these teas for significant weight loss. When reading many of the comments these young ladies post in response to these videos, Senna seems to be the herb of choice for quickly getting rid of what was just consumed. These are the behaviors that lead to eating disorders. Many suffering from bulimia and anorexia frequently use Senna to keep their weight down. They will use it so much that their bowels no longer function normally, and thus they become addicted to this laxative.

You can obtain Senna in a capsule or powder, but this is something I would not advise. When drinking only the infusion of the leaf it is much milder. I cannot imagine the results of taking a capsule. The infused beverage will take effect in 6 to 12 hours.

I am not against diet, slimming, or detox teas. I see the value in consuming them responsibly. What frightens me is that people will seldom do this. In our haste and excitement to shed 5 or 10 or 50 pounds, many will do bizarre things. If the recommended daily amount is 1 cup, people will frequently double, triple or even quadruple that amount – this is what concerns me.

I have personally encouraged tea shop owners to carry these herbal lines. Even in the die-hard, tea-only tea shops I have promoted the herbal blends for the financial benefit of the shop because I know the demand for them is increasing daily. In saying this, I now specify that there is a responsibility that comes with selling them.  I suggest that the labels contain a warning that states a safe daily consumption amount. What the customer does when they get the product home is not within our control, but I believe the cautionary warning is our responsibility.

Senna, a beautiful, yellow-flowering, and innocent plant, when used improperly, is dangerous and can be deadly when we jump foolishly on the bandwagon of what is trendy and selling like mad.  I know none of us want to see our products causing another harm.

That’s all I’m saying and I’m done talking about Senna!

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