Senokot® was a plant-derived medicinal product prepared from the pericarp of senna follicles. Three galenic forms were proposed: tablets, granules and a powder titrated at 4.6% sennosides. The drug was mainly used to treat constipation in adults and children. This herbal product showed marked laxative and purgative properties. It derives from the follicles of the plant Cassia angustifolia Vahl. (Fabaceae) which contains sennosides, such as sennoside A (SA), a dimeric anthraquinone compound with a marked laxative effect through its capacity to regulate gut microbiota (notably Lactobacillus species). The powder contained essentially sennosides A and B; these compounds can be found also in rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum). Sennosides are natural stimulant laxatives that promote gastrointestinal motility and to relieve functional constipation. They have the capacity to stimulate intestinal contraction thus facilitating fecal elimination.
More than 50 years later, Senokot remains largely used to prevent or treat occasional constipation. It can be used also to empty the bowels before certain medical procedures or to clean out the intestines before a bowel examination/surgery (before colonoscopy for example). Senna leaves and powders remain used to help removal of undigested food, but in some cases Senna regimen can cause abdominal pain.