Cassia occidentalis Linn

Family ► Calsalpiniaceae.

Habitat ► Throughout India, up to an altitude of 1,500 m.

English ► Coffee Senna, Foetid Cassia, Negro Coffee.

Ayurvedic ► Kaasamarda, Kaasaari.

Siddha/Tamil ► Paeyaavarai, Thagarai.

Action ► Purgative, diuretic, febrifugal, expectorant, stomachic. Leaves—used internally and externally in scabies, ringworm and other skin diseases. A hot decoction is given as an antiperiodic. Seeds— used for cough, whooping cough and convulsions. Roasted seeds (roasting destroys the purgative property) are mixed with coffee for strength.

The pods contain sennosides and anthraquinones; seeds polysacchari-des, galactomannan; leaves dianthron-ic hetroside; pericarp apigenin; roots emodol; plant xanthone—cassiolin; seeds phytosterolin; flowers physcion and its glucosides, emodin and beta-sitosterol.

The volatile oil obtained from the leaves, roots and seeds showed antibacterial and antifungal activity.

The seeds, when fed to animals, resulted in weight loss and also were found to be toxic to experimental animals. Leaves are preferred to quinine as a tonic, seeds are considered as a hae-mateinic toxic and root is used as a hepatic tonic.

Dosage ► Seed—3-6 g powder; leaf—10-20 ml juice; root bark— 50-100 ml decoction. (CCRAS.)

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