What Is Fan Xie Ye (Folium Sennae or Senna Leaf)

Fan Xie Ye commonly known as Folium Sennae or Senna Leaf is the leaf of Cassia angustifolia or Cassia acutifolia, which is a dwarf shrub belonging to the family Leguminosae. It is a medication used to treat constipation and empty the large intestine before surgery, which first appeared in <Yin Pian Xin Can> (New Reference of Prepared Medicines) in the Republic of China (1935 AD).

Cassia angustifolia is native to India and mainly distributed in Pakistan, Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, and the Republic of Somalia. Cassia acutifolia is native to the Nile River basin in tropical Africa.

Although both species have been introduced in China, the yield is very low. 90% of the senna leaf used as a traditional Chinese medicine comes from India.

In autumn, people pick the leaves of Cassia angustifolia or Cassia acutifolia, remove their impurities, dry them in the sun, and make them into Chinese herbs.

The leaves of Cassia angustifolia contain sennoside A, sennoside B, sennoside C, sennoside D, rhein-8-glucoside, aloe-emodin, aloe-emodin-8-glucoside, rhein, free anthraquinones, anthraquinone glycosides, dianthrone glycosides, isorhamnetin and kaempferol. The leaves of Cassia acutifolia contain sennoside A, sennoside D, rhein glucoside, rhein-8-glucoside, rhein, aloe-emodin, kaempferol, and kaempferitrin.

According to <Yin Pian Xin Can> (New Reference of Prepared Medicines), the medicinal property of Fan Xie Ye is relatively cold, with a sweet and bitter taste. It has a certain therapeutic effect on the pathological changes of the large intestine meridian.

In traditional Chinese medicine, Fan Xie Ye is used to purge heat, relieve constipation, induce diuresis, treat edema, acute gastritis, intestinal obstruction, acute pancreatitis, cholecystitis, gallstones, chronic renal failure, biliary ascariasis, epidemic hemorrhagic fever, and promote early recovery of intestinal function after surgery.

Health benefits of Fan Xie Ye (Senna Leaf)

  • Eliminating edema caused by ascites.
  • Stimulating the pelvic ganglia causes contraction of the large intestine and inducing diarrhea.
  • Relieving habitual constipation, constipation in the elderly, and constipation caused by heat retention.
  • Blocking the transmission of acetylcholine, relaxing muscles, and relieving spasms.
  • Enhancing smooth muscle contraction and inhibiting the damage of indomethacin to the gastric mucosa.
  • Increasing the number of platelets and fibrinogen, enhancing the activity of thromboplastin, and accelerating blood clotting.
  • Inhibiting Escherichia coli, Proteus, Shigella, Streptococcus A, and Candida albicans.

Fan Xie Ye is used with other Chinese herbs

  • It with Chen Pi (Tangerine Peel), Shan Zha (Hawthorn Fruit), and Mu Xiang (Radix Aucklandiae) can improve appetite and alleviate dyspepsia.
  • It with Hou Po (Magnolia Bark) and Zhi Shi (Fructus Aurantii Immaturus) can treat habitual constipation and constipation caused by heat retention.
  • It with Qian Niu Zi (Morning Glory Seeds) and Da Fu Pi (Pericarpium Arecae) can treat edema caused by ascites.
  • It with San Qi (Panax Notoginseng), Bu Gu Zhi (Fructus psoraleae), and Da Huang (Radix et Rhizoma Rhei) can treat obesity.
  • It with Bing Lang (Semen Arecae), Gua Lou (Fructus Trichosanthis), Yin Chen (Capillary Wormwood), and Chen Pi (Tangerine Peel) can treat ascarid intestinal obstruction in children.

Side effects of Fan Xie Ye (Senna Leaf)

Taking it in large doses may cause nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, or irritability.

In severe cases, it may cause gastrointestinal bleeding, menorrhagia, uterine bleeding, headache, or shock.

Taking it for a long time may cause drug addiction.

Some patients with constipation stop taking it and may have constipation again.

Individual patients taking it may cause seizures and urinary retention.

Precautions of Fan Xie Ye

  • The dosage of Fan Xie Ye should be controlled at 1.5-6g.
  • It can be made into decoction or tea.
  • It is not suitable for long-term decocting.
  • Women should not take it during menstruation, pregnancy, or lactation.
  • People with weakness of spleen and stomach should not take it.
  • People with epilepsy should not take it.

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