The Cayce Herbal 
 A Comprehensive Guide to the  
Botanical Medicine of Edgar Cayce

Botanical Name: Cassia acutifolia, Cassia angustifolia or Cassia senna

Common Names and Synonyms: American Senna, Locust Plant, Maryland Cassia

Background: The flat, oblong seed pods and leaves of the senna shrub are usually combined with carminatives such as fennel or dill to prevent colic.  The leaves produce a stronger reaction to the lower digestive tract than the berries and can produce nausea or stomach pains.  The Indians used senna for poultices to treat sores and fevers.  Throughout the centuries, herbalists have used the senna as a laxative. Senna is a highly effective cathartic.

Senna in the Cayce Readings
  • Consistent with the herbal tradition, Edgar Cayce most often used senna as a laxative.
  • Senna was mentioned in 256 readings between 1921-1944 with peak utilization in 1943 (29 readings).
  • Senna was typically recommended in combination with other substances.  Although a wide diversity of  formulas were given, the most common substances mentioned in the same readings with senna were as follows:
      Saffron 32 readings
      Leptandrin 30 readings
      Camphor 30 readings
      Licorice  28 readings
      Mandrake 28 readings
      Yellow Saffron 25 readings
      Sanguinaria 24 readings
      Camphor 21 readings
      Pepsin 20 readings
      Rhubarb 20 readings
Cayce Quotes on Senna

    We have in this [formula], the first, the senna, is the first to act with the digestive forces to produce the proper condition with the blood that is to be carried through the hepatic circulation

    For the eliminations, begin with small doses of Senna - SENNA.  Half a grain first.  Let this be taken one each day for five days.  Then increase the quantity to the full grain, and after this has been taken for five days, still increase again to the one and a quarter grain, see?  Not allow the system to become over nauseated from same, but if it should, then cut it out, or leave it off, see?
    The diets, as is seen - not meats, but not great vegetables at the present, see?  The soups or broths may be taken in MODERATION, but do not EVER overload the stomach.  Won't be very apt to while the Senna is being taken, for it will produce nausea; but the liver must be aroused, but in the moderate way, until this is thoroughly eliminated, for this is that condition which has become termed (in name) pellagra. [GD's note:  Her mother died with pellagra.]

    Those of senna, yellow saffron, and Dover's powders, sufficient to act on liver and the intestinal system, especially the colon.

    To meet the needs of the conditions at the present, we would first cleanse the system with a mild cathartic; preferably that as would be found in combining the ragweed with senna. This combination:  To 3 ounces of ragweed add 8 ounces distilled or rain water.  Reduce to half the quantity. Strain, adding sufficient alcohol to preserve same.  Adding THEN to same 2 grains of senna.  Shaking well to-gether, the dose would be teaspoonful every evening until at least half to two-thirds of the quantity is taken.

    Take the Castoria as it is prepared, but when the body goes to take a dose - which, with this body, in taking it, we would take at least a TEASPOONFUL of Castoria three to five drops of Syrup of Figs - see?  The change, or difference in these - Senna, the active principle, or the eliminant in the Castoria, acts directly upon the gastric forces of the system, while the Figs will act with those of the lower hepatic circulation, aiding - WITH those other compounds - to make for a better eliminant in the kidneys.

    In the carrying out of these, these will tend to make for weakness in the digestive system, with nausea following occasionally, and dizziness - but when clarified by the properties found in the Castoria, taken in small doses and absorbed by system, these will clarify themselves; for the active forces not only of the senna in same (which is active with the muco-membranes of the stomach, duodenum, pancreas and the phrenic nerves), but the activities of the vegetable compound will make for a better activity of the rotary movements, as also the peristaltic movements through the system.

(Q)  Should Castoria be given, or is it acid creating?
(A)  Castoria is NOT acid creating, and it is better for the eliminations than anything else provided there is added sufficient of the Senna which is the active principle for the creating of the proper eliminations in the body.  This is an active force in the conditions of the intestinal tract, and is fever reducing; and adds to the blood supply of the body.

(Q)  What is causing ammonia odor in the urine?
(A)  The effects of those conditions that act upon the system, as has been indicated from the eliminations in the body.  Hence the use of the properties found in Castoria (the Fletcher's).  For the active principles, of course, are in the Senna - which will work with the digestive forces, the kidneys and the activities in the liver proper; while the Pumpkin and Watermelon seed in this are the active principles upon the kidney activity.


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