Senna tea is a popular herbal remedy that is often marketed as a laxative, weight loss aid, and detox method.
However, there’s little scientific evidence to support the efficacy of senna tea for most of these uses — aside from treating constipation.
Still, you may want to know about this drink’s benefits and safety.
This article explains everything you need to know about senna tea.
What is senna?
Senna is an herbal medicine made from the leaves, flowers, and fruit of a large group of flowering plants in the legume family (1Trusted Source).
Extracts and teas made from senna plants have long been used as laxatives and stimulants in traditional herbal medicine (1Trusted Source).
Originally from Egypt, senna is now grown worldwide, including countries like India and Somalia.
Most commercial products are derived from Cassia acutifolia or Cassia angustifolio, commonly known as Alexandrian and Indian senna, respectively (1Trusted Source).
Today, senna is most often sold as a tea or over-the-counter constipation supplement, but it’s also occasionally used in weight loss pills and drinks.
Senna tea should not be used for weight loss
Senna is increasingly included in herbal teas and supplements that claim to boost metabolism and promote weight loss. These products are often referred to as “skinny teas” or “teatoxes.”
Yet, no scientific evidence supports using senna tea for any detox, cleanse, or weight loss routine.
In fact, using senna tea in this manner may be very dangerous.
Senna is not recommended for frequent or long-term use, as it may alter normal bowel tissue function and cause laxative dependence (2).
What is more, a recent study in over 10,000 women found that those who used laxatives for weight loss were 6 times likelier to develop an eating disorder (5Trusted Source).
If you are trying to lose weight, dietary and lifestyle modifications are your best bet — not supplements or laxatives.
A typical dose of a senna-based supplement is 15–30 mg per day for no longer than 1 week.
However, there is no clear dosing recommendation for senna tea. It is considerably more difficult to determine a precise dose because the concentration of sennosides varies dramatically depending on how long your tea steeps.
What is more, many commercial senna teas, especially those that contain a blend of herbs, don’t state the exact amount of senna leaves used. In this case, the safest approach is to follow the package instructions for preparation and consumption. Never take more than directed on the label.
How to prepare senna tea at home
Senna tea is often described as having a mild, sweet, and slightly bitter flavor. Unlike many other herbal teas, it is not particularly aromatic on its own.
However, many commercial teas combine senna with other herbs that can alter the final aroma and flavor. If you are using tea bags or a blend, follow the package instructions.
If you are preparing senna tea from scratch, steep 1–2 grams of dried senna leaves in hot water for 10 minutes. Avoid drinking more than 2 servings per day (7). You can also add a touch of sweetener like honey or stevia.