||This article is outdated. (November 2010)
Senega is the dried root of the Polygala senega once used medicinally.
In 1911, senega was official in the British and United States pharmacopoeias. Senega contains an active ingredient, saponin. Senega is used chiefly as a stimulating expectorant in chronic bronchitis. It is occasionally used as a diuretic in renal dropsy. It is a cardiac depressant, and is contra-indicated in diseased conditions of the heart. It has a tendency to upset the digestion, and is therefore only used in combination with other drugs in what are termed expectorant mixtures. It was formerly used as an antidote for snake bites. It is used in a freely available cough mixture called "Senega and Ammonia" which formerly contained a small amount of chloroform, but the chloroform is no longer permitted under current regulations.
Dosage and administration 
Senega is usually taken orally in dosages equivalent to 0.5-1 gram of the powdered root.
Saponins are shown to be very irritating and haemolytic. Taken orally these adverse effects seem to be bypassed. Caution should be taken if a sensitivity does exist or if taken in high doses. The most common adverse side effects are nausea and vomiting.
External links 
- ^ a b Heinrich, Michael, A. D. Kinghorn, and J. D. Phillipson (2004). Fundamentals of Pharmacognosy and Phytotherapy. Churchill Livingstone. ISBN 0-43-07132-2 .