Senna and Anthracene Glycosides - Source, diagnostic characters, constituents and uses of Senna

Anthracene Glycosides


Source, diagnostic characters, constituents and uses of Senna


At the end of this lecture, student will be able to

Discuss the source, diagnostic characters, constituents and uses of Senna

Anthracene glycosides

• Major class of glycosides

• Dicots – Euphorbiaceae, polygonaceae, Rhamnaceae, rubiaceae etc

• Monocots – Liliaceae

• Fungi and lichens

• Lower plants – bryophytes, pteridophytes and gymnopserms – devoid of glycosides

• Aglycone – Anthraquinone, anthrone, anthranol, dianthranol, oxanthrone, dianthrone

• In some cases – derived form – Senna, aloe, rhubarb, cascara, etc

• Reduced form – anthraquinone as anthranol (brownish yellow) or anthrone (Plae yellow)

Borntrager’s test

• Anthraquinone glycosides

• Drug + Organic solvent – Organic layer made alkaline with caustic soda or ammonia, aqueous layer shows pink, red or violet colour

Anthranol – reduced form negative for borntrager’s test



• Tinnevely senna, Alexandrain senna, Folia senna, Senna leaf, Cassia senna


• Dried leaflets of Cassia angustifolia (Indina senna) and Cassia acutifolia (alexandrain senna)


• Leguminosae

Morphology of Senna

• Type

• Colour

• Shape

• Size

• Odour

• Taste

• Petiole

• Margin

• Apex

• Base

• Venation

• Texture

Microscopy of Senna

• Paracytic stomata

• Covering trichome

• Isobilateral

• Lamina

• Upper epidermis

• Mesophyll

• Upper palisade

• Spongy parenchyma

• Lower palisade

• Lower epidermis

• Midrib

• Epidermal layers are continuous in the midrib

• Lower palisade is not in the midrib

• Collateral type

• Sclerenchymatous fibres

• Crystal sheath

Microscopy of Senna

Powder Characters of Senna

Organoleptic characters: Taste, Colour, odour, taste

• Covering trichome (unicellular)

• Paracytic stomata

• Calcium oxalate (Cluster/prisms)

• Epidermal cells

• Mesophyll

Active Constituents

• Glycosides: Anthracene – Dianthrone glycosides

                                                Sennoside A

                                                Sennoside B Homodianthrones

                                                Sennoside C

                                                Sennoside D Heterodianthrones

• Rhein, emodin, aloe emodin- aglycones

• Flavonoid- Kaempferol glycoside


• Laxative in case of habitual constipation


• Senna is an isobilateral leaf

• Lamina is differentiated into upper epidermis, upper palisade, spongy parenchyma, lower palisade and lower epidermis

• In midrib, the upper palisade in continuous whereas lower palisade is interrupted with collenchyma

• Crystal sheath and sclerenchymatous sheath are found in the midrib

• Senna contains anthracene types of glycosides

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