Cassia occidentalis Linn, usually grows in the southern part of I ndia which is known as Kasmard in Sanskrit, Kasondi in Hindi and Coffee Senna in English. The plant belongs to Caesalpiniaceae family. The common name is Ponnavarai in Tamil. The roots, leaves and seeds are the parts of the plant used. It is an erect herb, commonly found by road sides, ditches and waste dumping sites. Cassia occidentalis has been widely used as tr aditional medicine. Entire parts of the plant hav e medicinal values
HISTORICAL AND MYTHOLOGICAL REVIEW:Coffee senna is a plant that is naturalized in most parts of tropical South America and Amazon. It is also indigenous to Brazil and areas with warmer climates like south, north and Central America. Coffee senna has a long history when it was used for various things. But specifically it is used as medicinal herb in many parts of world.
Kingdom: Plantae - Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta - Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta - Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida - Dicotyledons
Species: Cassia occidentalis
Cassia caroliniana, C. ciliata Raf.
C. falcata L.
C. foetida Pers.
C. laevigata sensu auct. non Prain non Willd.
C. macradenia, C. obliquifolia, C. occidentalis, C. occidentalis L. var. arista sensu Hassk.
C. occidentalis L. var. aristata Collad.
C. torosa Cav.
Ditrimexa occidentalis (L.) Britt.& Rose
Kasamarda, Vimarda, Arimarda English:
Negro coffee , Coffee Senna, coffeeweed Hindi:
Kasunda, Bari kasondi Urdu:
ran-takda, kasivda, kasoda, rankasvinda Oriya:
Nattam takarai, PayaveraiMalayalam:
ਕੌਫੀ ਸਿੰਨੇ Kauphī sinēSindhi:
سينا القهوة sina alqahuaSpanish:
Bicho, Brusca, Frijolillo, Guanina.Assamese:
Wang Jiang Nan, Wang jiang nan jue ming.French:
Bentamar, Bonne casseGerman:
Ka.sau.poap, Sham:ka.sau., Sham:ka.zau, Tan.kywè:kri:Nepal:
καφέ senna kafé senna
- Susrutha , Vagbhata - Sarasadi Gana
- aiyadeva nighantu - Oshadhi Varga
- Dhanvantiri nighantu - Karaveeradi varga , mishraka varga
- Bhavaprakasha Nighantu - Shaka varga
कासमर्दोऽरिमर्दश्च कासारिः कर्कशस्तथा |
कासमर्ददलं रुच्यं वृष्यं कासविषास्रनुत् |
मधुरं कफवातघ्नं पाचनं कण्ठशोधनम् |
विशेषतः कासहरं पित्तघ्नं ग्राहकं लघु ||३६||
Synonyms in Ayurveda:
kashamarda, rajavriksha, kasaghna, pitapushpaka, dipana, kanak, jaranakala, kartakasaghna, anjan
The seeds of tree are roasted, and powdered to prepare strong coffee due to which it is also known as Coffee Senna or Negro Coffee.
Rasa: Madhura Tikta
Guna: Laghu Ruksha
Coffee Senna seeds are attributed with blood purifying and diuretic properties. The herb has been traditionally used to normalize bowel movements. It is a related species of Senna, a much stronger purgative. The seeds are also beneficial in treating whooping cough, convulsions and heart disease. Despite its name, which comes from its occasional use as a coffee substitute, Coffee Senna is absolutely unrelated to coffee!
Cultivation:Coffee senna has a wide native range from the subtropics of S. America through to southern N. America and the Caribbean. It grows mainly at lower elevations. It favours moister areas in the tropics, in Puerto Rico it grows in areas where the mean annual rainfall is within the range 1,000 - 2,200mm.Prefers a deep, well-drained, moderately fertile sandy loam and a position in full sun.Originally native of the Americas, the plant is widely cultivated through the tropics and subtropics and is commonly naturalized in many areas. While coffee senna can be a weed of cultivated fields and plantations, it is principally a problem because it accumulates in heavily grazed pastures.The plant flowers throughout the year in non-seasonal climates.The plant has a disagreeable odour when crushed.There are conflicting reports on whether or not this tree has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, so it is unclear as to whether this tree fixes atmospheric nitrogen.
Propogation:Like many species within the family Fabaceae, once they have been dried for storage the seeds of this species may benefit from scarification before sowing in order to speed up and improve germination. This can usually be done by pouring a small amount of nearly boiling water on the seeds (being careful not to cook them!) and then soaking them for 12 - 24 hours in warm water. By this time they should have imbibed moisture and swollen - if they have not, then carefully make a nick in the seedcoat (being careful not to damage the embryo) and soak for a further 12 hours before sowing. Some 95% of scarified seeds sown in potting mix germinated between 5 and 36 days after sowing
The chief constituents in this herb are achrosine, aloe-emodin, anthraquinones, anthrones, apigenin, aurantiobtusin, campesterol, cassiollin, chryso-obtusin, chrysophanic acid, chrysarobin, chrysophanol, chrysoeriol, emodin, essential oils, funiculosin, galactopyranosyl, helminthosporin, islandicin, kaempferol, lignoceric acid, linoleic acid, linolenic acid, mannitol, mannopyranosyl, matteucinol, obtusifolin, obtusin, oleic acid, physcion, quercetin, rhamnosides, rhein, rubrofusarin, sitosterols, tannins, and xanthorin.
Few medicines containing Cassia occidentalis
- Himalaya Liv.52 for Liver care
- Himalaya Bonnisan
- Himalaya Herbolax Tab for Constipation
- Himalaya Geriforte
- Pancha Jeeraka Gudam
Parts used for medicinal purpose
- Leaves are used in a dose of 5-10 grams, and the seeds in 1-3 grams.
- Fresh leaf juice can be taken in a dose of 10-20 ml.
- The root bark decoction is taken in a dose of 50-100 ml.
- Contraindications, Interactions, Side-effects, and Warnings Cassia occidentalis
- Do not take in diarrhea.
Root is an antidote for snakebite (Husain et al, 1992).
Mogdad coffee seeds can be roasted and used as a substitute for coffee.
Mogdad coffee seeds have also been used as an adulterant for coffee. There is apparently no caffeine in mogdad coffee.
Controversy:Though it is named Coffee Senna, but it has no relation to coffee.
Senna occidentalis can be used as a coffee substitute in spite of the fact that the seeds are reported to be toxic to cattle. It has medicinal and insect antifeedant properties.
Cassia occidentalis, is a much branched, smooth, half woody herb or shrub about 0.8 to 1.8 m tall.
- Stem is erect, and without hairs.
- Leaves are lanceolate or ovate-lanceolate, bipinnately compound, and about 20 to 25 cm in length. Each pinna has four to seven pairs of leaflets, which are 3 to 9 cm in length, and 2 to 4 cm in width, and arranged oppositely. Leaflets are ovate or ovate lanceolate in shape with a long, fine pointed tip. Each leaf has a distinct spherical shaped gland, which is located about 0.3 to 0.5 cm from the base of the petiole.
- Inflorescence is a terminal or axillary raceme. Flowers are yellow colored, and about 2 cm long, and 3 to 4 cm wide.
- Fruit is a pod / legume, compressed, 8 to 12 cm long, 0.7 to 1 cm wide, and curved slightly upwards. Each pod contains 20 to 30 seeds, which are ovoid in shape, smooth, shiny, and dull brown to dark olive-green in colour.
Transverse section of the leaf containing midrib region.
Epidermis :- Both the surfaces are covered by upper and lower epidermal layers. Both the upper and lower epidermis possesses a prominent cuticle and sunken stomatas (Pandey, 1969). Both the upper and lower epidermis possesses trichomes and hairs. The hairs are non-glandular, unicellular, conical, often curved (Pandey, 1970). Trichomes are glandular, multiseriate slatk, multi cellular and with capitate head Shah and Gopal (1971). Stomatas in cassia occidentalis are intermed between diacytic and paracytic type. According to Metcalfe and chalk, 1950 the family Caesalpiniaceae have paracytic and anomocytic stomatas.
Mesophyll :- The tissue of the leaf that lies between the upper and the lower epidermis and between the vein consists of typically thin walled parenchymatous cells called mesophyll. This mesophyll consist of palisade and spongy parenchyma. The mesophyll cells are loosely arranged, parenchymatous in nature and contain rosette or prismatic crystals of calcium oxalate. The palisade tissue is exhibited both near the upper and the lower epidermis and they consist of a single layer of elongated narrow columnar cells containing chloroplastids. The vascular bundles are embedded in this region.
Vascular Bundles :- A transverse section through the midrib region shows a single arc shaped vascular bundle ensheathed by sclerenchymatous cells. The vascular bundle is collateral with xylem on the upper region (towards upper epidermis) while the phloem is in the region towards the lower epidermis. Xylem is in the center and is surrounded by phloem, protoxylem elements are towards upper epidermis. Vascular bundle is collateral and open type. This group of bundle is protected both above and below by an arc of lignified fibers, which is somewhat ovate in shape above and crescent shaped below. This arc of fiber have on their outer surface a layer of cells most of which contain prism of calcium oxalate.
Anatomy of Root Root is diarch with typical dicotylednous secondary growth. The dicotyledonous root possess a limited number of radial Vascular bundles with exarch Xylem.
Transverse Section of the Root Periderm :- Outermost layer is epiblema or piliferous layer which due to secondary growth is replaced by cork.. Cortex :- 1. It consist of thin walled parenchyma with numerous intercellular spaces. 2. The cell possesses large number of chloroplasts. After the formation of periderm, cortex and pericycle are peeled off.
Endodermis :-Cortex is followed by well demarcated and single layered Endodermis. But due to development of periderm in the pericycle, endodermis is sloughed off and and is therefore not visible in the old structure. Pericycle :- It follows endodermis and it is single layered. It is the place where cork cambium originated to four periderm.
Vascular tissue system :-
1. The vascular bundles are radial and exarch.
. Xylem and phloem form equal numbers of seperate bundles with protoxylem towards the pericycle (Exarch).
3. It consist of primary phloem, secondary phloem cambium, secondary xylem, medullary rays and primary xylem.
4. The secondary Vascular tissue form a continous cylinder just below the pericycle.
5. The Pericycle region contains a ring of crushed and obliterated groups of primary phloem fibres or the primary phloem is present in the form of patches.
6. Secondary phloem group that occur below patches of primary phloem are massive.
7. Primary xylem groups are located close to the center of axis. Protoxylem are directed away from the center (condition exarch).
8. Cambium is present between secondary phloem and secondary xylem which can be unistratose to multistratose.
9. Secondary xylem lies below the cambium. It is divided into many smaller and larger regions due to wide medullary rays which pass through it.
10. Phloem consist of sieve tubes, companion cells and phloem parenchyma.
11. Xylem consist of Vessels, tracheilds and thick walled xylem parenchyma.
Pith :- Pith is very small present in the center of the axis or altogether absent .
Anatomy of Stem Transverse section of stem Epidermis :-
1. It is the outermost single layer and consist of stomatas and trichomes.
2. Outer walls of the cells are greatly thickened and heavily cutinized.
3. Cell of epidermis are almost rectangular and do not possess inter cellular spaces.
1. The region lying next to the epidermis is the cortex.
2. Cortex is few layered deep and is Chlorenchymatous in nature.
Endodermis :- This is single layer which separates the cortex from the vascular bundles. The cells lack Casparian strips but contain starch. Hence, called starch sheath. Cells are barrel-shaped, elongated, compact and having no intercellular spaces among them.
1. It follows endodermis and is sclerenchymatous in nature.
2. Sclerenchymatous patches are present over phloem groups of Vascular Bundles. These are called Hard Bast.
Vascular Bundles :-
1. These are present in a ring.
2. Each vascular bundle is conjoint, collateral, endarch and open type.
3. Xylem which is present near the center of the stem is known as protoxylem and the xylem towards the peripheral part of the stem is Metaxylem. This condition is endarch. .
4. It consist of primary xylem, secondary xylem, cambium, primary phloem, secondary phloem medullary rays or vascular rays.
5. Xylem consist of vessels, tracheids, xylem parenchyma and fibres.
6. Phloem consists of sieve tubes, companion cells and phloem parenchyma.
7. A few layers of cambium are present between xylem and phloem elements.
8. Cambium divides towards outside to form secondary phloem and after the formation of secondary phloem the primary phloem becomes crushed and function less.
9. Phloem rays are formed in the vascular tissue developed by the cambium.
10. Cambium divides on its inner side to form secondary xylem
11. Xylem rays are formed radially in the secondary xylem. They are strap or ribbon like. They run as a continous band to the secondary phloem, thus rays are called medullary rays or pith rays or vascular rays.
Pith :- The central part of the section is occupied by paremchymatous pith with numerous tannin cells, sphaero-crystals and starch grains. The paremchymatous cells have distinct intercellular spaces.
Geographical distribution:Occurs in the tropics including India, Sri Lanka, Maldives, and Philippines Islands.
ECOLOGICAL ASPECT:Waste places, often in or near villages, at elevations from sea level to 1,200 metres
Disturbed sites (particularly fertile ones), river overflow areas, meadows, and forests; at elevations from near sea level to 900 metres
The ability of Senna occidentalis to spread in a wide range of environments indicates its weedy potential. It can also be a weed of annual cropping systems.
S. occidentalis is regarded as an environmental weed in Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia and in seven states in the USA.
The precise management measures adopted for any plant invasion will depend upon factors such as the terrain, the cost and availability of labour, the severity of the infestation and the presence of other invasive species. Some components of an integrated management approach are introduced below.
The best form of invasive species management is prevention. If prevention is no longer possible, it is best to treat the weed infestations when they are small to prevent them from establishing (early detection and rapid response). Controlling the weed before it seeds will reduce future problems. Control is generally best applied to the least infested areas before dense infestations are tackled. Consistent follow-up work is required for sustainable management.
Senna occidentalis quickly invades bare pastures so it is important to maintain a good cover of desired pasture species. S. occidentalis can be successfully controlled when in the seedling stage by cultivation. Likewise, a variety of herbicides can successfully control S. occidentalis at this stage. When using any herbicide always read the label first and follow all instructions and safety requirements. If in doubt consult an expert. Alternaria cassiae which can control S. occidentalis is commercially available as a mycoherbicide.
- A clinical research has reported that coffee senna have many properties as anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic, insecticidal and anti-malarial.
- All the parts of this plant are used as an effective herb by rainforest and tropical countries for centuries.
- The decoction of the roots in Peru is taken to cure fever and also considered diuretic.
- The seeds are used in coffee like beverage to relieve asthma patients.
- In Brazil, the roots are used to treat various ailments such as fever, tuberculosis, anemia, liver and menstrual problems.
- The crushed leaves of this herb are used to make tincture which can be applied externally on skin disorders, wounds, fungus and as anti-inflammatory herbal medicine.
The seed is bitter and has purgative properties. It is also used as a diuretic, liver detoxifier, as a hepato-tonic (balances and strengthens the liver). Further, used in whooping cough and convulsion.
Systemic Use:Whooping cough, convulsion, throat inflammation, colds, asthma, fever, flu and againsts poisonous snake bites. Seeds and leaves are applied externally in skin diseases.
he whole plant is diuretic, febrifuge, stomachic and tonic It is used in the treatment of hypertension, dropsy, diabetes, fevers, biliousness, rheumatism, ringworm and eczemaThe plant is boiled and gargled for treating throat troublesApplied externally, it is pounded and mixed with wood-ash and rubbed on areas of leishmaniasis and eczemaThe root is cholagogue, emetic and purgative. An infusion is used in the treatment of bilious fever, ordinary fever, stomach-ache, and to ease menstruation A tincture of the root is rubbed onto rheumatic area.A tea made from roots and dried flowers is used as a treatment for colds and upset stomach.The leaf is used as a remedy for renal calculi. Leaves are made into a tea for treating afterbirth problems, fevers, coughs and colds, headaches, haemorrhage and thrushAn ointment prepared from the leaves is applied as a remedy for ringworm and other affections of the skinThe flowers are used in a preparation to reduce stomach acid in childrenThe seed is febrifuge and sedative. An infusion is drunk to calm ones nerves, and as a treatment for kidney problems, haemorrhage, worms, and cleaning womb and tubesExtracts of the leaf and seed have shown antibiotic activity.The leaf contains flavonoid glycosides, an anthraquinone, and a bianthraquinone.The seed contains N-methyl morpholine, campesterol and beta-sitosterol glucosides
Administration:Leaf powder, extracts, tinctures in the cybermarket
Pharmacological:Diuretic, purgative, antiperiodic.
- Hepatoprotective Effect of Hygrophila spinosa and Cassia occidentalis on Carbon Tetrachloride-induced Liver Damage in Experimental Rats / K. Usha, G. Mary Kasturi and P. Hemalatha / Indian Journal of Clinical Biochemistry, 2007 / 22 (2) 132-135
- Antihepatotoxic Activity of Cassia occidentalis / Shailendra Sara et al
- In vitro antibacterial activity of Argentine folk medicinal plants against Salmonella typhi./ Perez, C : Anesini, C / J-Ethnopharmacol. 1994 Aug; 44(1): 41-6
- Antimicrobial Activity of Cassia occidentalis L (Leaf) against various Human Pathogenic Microbes / Vedpriya Arya, Sanjay Yadav, Sandeep Kumar, JP Yadav / Life Sciences and Medicine Research, Volume 2010
- Cassia occidentalis poisoning as the probable cause of hepatomyoencephalopathy in children in western Uttar Pradesh / V. M. Vashishtha, Amod Kumar, T. Jacob John & N.C. Nayak / Indian J Med Res 125, June 2007, pp 756-762
- In-vivo antimalarial activity of Cassia occidentalis , Morinda morindoides and Phyllanthus niruri / L. Tona; K. Mesia; N. P. Ngimbi; B. Chrimwam et al / Annals of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology, Volume 95, Issue 1 January 2001 , pages 47 - 57 / DOI: 10.1080/00034980020035915
Precautions:Though the animal study show oral administration during pregnancy in female Wistar rats did not cause statistically significant changes between control, and test groups with respect to fetuses, placentae, and ovaries weight, it is better to avoid this herb in pregnancy as it is a hot in potency, and has purgative effect.
Toxicity studies:Acute toxicity test conducted on Cassia occidentalis found that this plant did not show any hazardous symptoms. The leaves are found to be safe with no adverse effect on the liver, and kidney functions at the doses administered.
Almost all parts (leaf, root, seeds) of the plant are used as food and medicine by tribal populations in India. However, consumption of Bana Chakunda seeds has been identified as a possible cause of death of tribal children due to acute Encephalopathy . Once the plant was identified as the cause, the number of deaths plummeted.
Use in other system of medicine:
- Seeds can be roasted and sometimes substituted for coffee.
- In Senegal and the Antilles, seeds used as a substitute for coffee.
- Leaves and flowers, cooked, are edible.
· Seeds used as emeto-cathartic. Also, employed as febrifuge, usually as an infusion in coffee.
· Used for chronic gastroenteritis, constipation, indigestion, gastric pains, asthma and fever, poisonous snake and insect bites.
· Pounded fresh material applied as poultice for snakebites.
· Plant used for dropsy, rheumatism, fevers and venereal diseases.
· Ointment used for ringworm, eczema and variety of skin diseases.
· Roots used for gonorrhea, black-water fever, malaria, and dysentery.
· In Peru, decoction of roots used for fevers; seeds brewed for asthma.
· In Brazil, roots are used as tonic, febrifuge, diuretic and anthelmintic; also used for fevers, menstrual problems, tuberculosis.
· Infusion of roots and bark used for malaria and hematuria.
· Infusion of bark used for diabetes.
· Leaves used as purgative and antiherpetic.
· Poultice of leaves used for skin irritation and eczema.
· In Lagos, leaf infusion used as specific for black-water fever.
· In Lagos and Liberia, infusion of leaves used as purgative.
· In Dahomey, decoction of leaves used as febrifuge.
· In the Dutch Indies, poultice of leaves used for toothache.
· In the French colonies of western Africa, infusion of leaves used for yellow fever.
· In Malaya, poultice of leaves used for headache.
· In the West Indies, root used as diuretic.
· In Panama, leaf decoction used for stomach colic; poulitce of crushed leaves as anti-inflammatory; and fresh crushed leaves to expel intestinal worms.
· Used as abortifacient.
· In Jamaican folk medicine, used for diarrhea, dysentery, constipation, fever, cancer, eczema, and venereal diseases.
· In India, used for fever, menstrual problems, tuberculosis, anemia, sore eyes, rheumatism, hematuria. Bark infusion used in diabetes.
· In Northern Nigeria, leaves used as a cure for hepatitis.
· In African pharmacopoeia, fresh leaves used for constipation and malaria; also use as enema for its abortive properties.
Cassia occidentalis is known as Kasamarda in Ayurveda, Kasaondi (Kasundi) in Unani, and Paeyaavarai, Thagarai in Siddha. In Sanskrit, meaning of Kasa is cough or phlegm, and Mardan means to destroy. So one which destroys Kasa is called Kasamarda. As this plant possess expectorant properties, and is effective against cough, asthma, and other respiratory ailments it is given the name Kasamarda, and Kasari. It cleanses the throat, purifies the blood, and improves the digestion.
KEY WORDS: Cassia occidentalis Linn. kasamarda