Last update Oct. 24, 2022



Safe substance and/or breastfeeding is the best option.

It is an anthraquinone stimulant laxative. It is extracted from the leaves, fruits and flowers of the bush known as Senna, Sen, Sen of Alexandria, Indian Senna or Tinnevelly Senna. It contains anthraquinones, naphtoquinones, flavonoids, mineral salts, polysaccharides (mucilage). Used to treat constipation and for bowel movement before diagnostic procedures or surgery. Oral administration.

Practically nothing is absorbed in the digestive tract and the high molecular weight of sennoside makes it difficult for it to pass into breast milk, which explains why levels have not been found in breast milk or have been insignificant (Faber 1989 & 88, Werthmann 1973) and no problems have been observed in infants whose mothers were taking it. (Faber 1988, Shelton 1980, Baldwin 1963, Duncan 1957)

There is a risk of hepatotoxicity if prolonged or excessive use. (Bunchorntavakul 2013)

Several medical societies and expert authors consider the use of this medication compatible with breastfeeding. (Briggs 2015, Nice 2000, Hagemann 1998, Gattuso 1994)

American Academy of Pediatrics: Maternal Medication Usually Compatible With Breastfeeding (AAP 2001). Eleventh WHO Model List of Essential Drugs 2002: Compatible with breastfeeding. (WHO 2002)


We do not have alternatives for Senna since it is relatively safe.

Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM team of health professionals, and are based on updated scientific publications. It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it. The pharmaceutical industry contraindicates breastfeeding, mistakenly and without scientific reasons, in most of the drug data sheets.

Jose Maria Paricio, Founder & President of APILAM/e-Lactancia

Your contribution is essential for this service to continue to exist. We need the generosity of people like you who believe in the benefits of breastfeeding.

Thank you for helping to protect and promote breastfeeding.

José María Paricio, founder of e-lactancia.

Other names

Senna is also known as

Senna in other languages or writings:


Senna belongs to these groups or families:


Main tradenames from several countries containing Senna in its composition:


Variable Value Unit
Oral Bioavail. 0 %
Molecular weight 863 daltons
Theoretical Dose 0.0041 mg/Kg/d
Relative Dose 0.24 %


  1. Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Towers CV, Forinash AB. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation: A Reference Guide to Fetal and Neonatal Risk. Wolters Kluwer Health. Tenth edition (acces on line) 2015
  2. Posadzki P, Watson LK, Ernst E. Adverse effects of herbal medicines: an overview of systematic reviews. Clin Med (Lond). 2013 Abstract Full text (link to original source)
  3. Bunchorntavakul C, Reddy KR. Review article: herbal and dietary supplement hepatotoxicity. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2013 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  4. Budzynska K, Gardner ZE, Dugoua JJ, Low Dog T, Gardiner P. Systematic review of breastfeeding and herbs. Breastfeed Med. 2012 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  5. WHO. World Health Organization. WHO monographs on medicinal plants commonly used in the Newly Independent States (NIS). WHO monographs. 2010 Full text (in our servers)
  6. Mahadevan U, Kane S. American gastroenterological association institute technical review on the use of gastrointestinal medications in pregnancy. Gastroenterology. 2006 Jul;131(1):283-311. Review. Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  7. WHO / UNICEF. BREASTFEEDING AND MATERNAL MEDICATION Recommendations for Drugs in the Eleventh WHO Model List of Essential Drugs. Department of Child and Adolescent Health and Development (WHO/UNICEF) 2002 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  8. AAP - American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Drugs. Transfer of drugs and other chemicals into human milk. Pediatrics. 2001 Sep;108(3):776-89. Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  9. Nice FJ, Snyder JL, Kotansky BC. Breastfeeding and over-the-counter medications. J Hum Lact. 2000 Nov;16(4):319-31. Review. Erratum in: J Hum Lact 2001 Feb;17(1):90. Abstract
  10. WHO. World Health Organization. Geneva. WHO monographs on selected medicinal plants. Volume I. WHO monographs 1999 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  11. Hagemann TM. Gastrointestinal medications and breastfeeding. J Hum Lact. 1998 Sep;14(3):259-62. Review. Abstract
  12. Gattuso JM, Kamm MA. Adverse effects of drugs used in the management of constipation and diarrhoea. Drug Saf. 1994 Abstract
  13. Faber P, Strenge-Hesse A. Sennahaltiges Laxans: Übertritt in Muttermilch? \ [Senna-containing laxatives: excretion in the breast milk?]. Geburtshilfe Frauenheilkd. 1989 Abstract
  14. Faber P, Strenge-Hesse A. Relevance of rhein excretion into breast milk. Pharmacology. 1988 Abstract
  15. Shelton MG. Standardized senna in the management of constipation in the puerperium: A clinical trial. S Afr Med J. 1980 Abstract
  16. Werthmann MW Jr, Krees SV. Quantitative excretion of Senokot in human breast milk. Med Ann Dist Columbia. 1973 Abstract
  17. BALDWIN WF. Clinical Study of Senna Administration to Nursing Mothers: Assessment of Effects on Infant Bowel Habits. Can Med Assoc J. 1963 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  18. DUNCAN AS. Standardized senna as a laxative in the puerperium; a clinical assessment. Br Med J. 1957 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)

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