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Pancreatitis and Senna

September 27, 2013

Senna Leaf BFSenna Leaf Tea and Pancreatitis
By Shelley Moore, 2011

Senna is a common ingredient in over-the-counter laxative products, including teas. Like other stimulant laxatives, senna is associated with several possible side effects. Authoritative websites do not list a connection between senna leaf tea and pancreatitis. If you think you may have problems with your pancreas, consult your doctor, as pancreatitis can be a serious condition.

Senna Leaf Tea
To make senna leaf tea, add boiling water to 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of the leaves and steep. You also can buy senna leaf tea in commercial brands. A disadvantage of drinking the tea rather than using other senna products is the difficulty of controlling the concentration of active ingredients, according to This could cause a greater or weaker laxative effect or worse side effects. You shouldn’t consume senna in high doses or for long time frames.

Pancreatitis Causes
Acute pancreatitis and chronic pancreatitis have many possible causes, but senna leaf tea is not indicated as one of them. Some identified causes as listed by include abdominal injury, certain types of abdominal surgery, alcoholism, cigarette smoking, gallstones, high calcium blood levels, high parathyroid blood levels, high triglycerides, infections and pancreatic cancer. Medications such as corticosteroids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and certain types of antibiotics also can cause pancreatitis.

Pancreatitis Treatment
Senna leaf tea also is not indicated as a remedy for pancreatitis. If you think you may have pancreatitis, seek treatment immediately, as the condition can become life threatening. Your doctor can determine the best treatment for your case. Treatment might include intravenous fluids, pain medication, a short fast and a clear liquid diet, according to Some herbs can be helpful as complementary therapy with conventional medicine for pancreatitis, says the University of Maryland Medical Center. These include antioxidant boosters such as caffeine-free green tea, grape seed extract, holy basil and Indian gooseberry, and those that support the immune system and decrease inflammation, such as cat’s claw and Reishi mushroom.

Senna Side Effects
While senna leaf tea is not connected with pancreatitis, it may cause other side effects, such as upset stomach, nausea, stomach cramps and diarrhea. Diarrhea can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. Long-term use of senna can result in laxative dependency, in which you need to take a laxative to have a bowel movement.

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From → Digestion, Food, Health

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