Senna occidentalis

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Coffee senna
Senna occidentalis.jpg
Senna occidentalis flower
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Caesalpinioideae
Tribe: Cassieae
Genus: Senna
Species: S. occidentalis
Binomial name
Senna occidentalis
(L.) Link, 1829

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. planisiliqua
C. torosa Cav.
Ditrimexa occidentalis (L.) Britt.& Rose

Senna occidentalis is a pantropical plant species.[1]

Vernacular names include : ʻauʻaukoʻi in Hawaii, septicweed,[2] coffee senna, coffeeweed, Mogdad coffee, negro-coffee, senna coffee, Stephanie coffee, stinkingweed or styptic weed.[citation needed]

The plant is locally called Bana Chakunda in Odisha, India.

The species was formerly placed in the genus Cassia.

The plant is reported to be poisonous to cattle.[3] The plant contains anthraquinones. The roots contain emodin[4] and the seeds contain chrysarobin (1,8-dihydroxy-3-methyl-9-anthrone) and N-methylmorpholine.[5]


In Jamaica the seeds are roast, brew and serve as tea to treat Diuretic, hemorrhoids, gout, laxative, rheumatism, diabetes, rheumatis.

Coffee Senna seeds

Mogdad coffee seeds can be roasted and used as a substitute for coffee. They have also been used as an adulterant for coffee. There is apparently no caffeine in mogdad coffee.

Despite the claims of being poisonous, the leaves of this plant, Dhiguthiyara in the Maldivian language,[6] have been used in the diet of the Maldives for centuries[7] in dishes such as mas huni and also as a medicinal plant.[8]

Possible toxicity in children due to consumption of seeds[edit]

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 (see Acute HME syndrome). [9] [10] Once the plant was identified as the cause, the number of deaths plummeted.[11]


C. occidentalis L. Sp. Pl. 377. 1753; DC. Prodr. 2 : 497. 1825 ; Baker, in Hook. F. Fl. Brit. Ind. 2: 262, 1878; Heinig, Enum. 401. 1907 ; Ohashi in Hara, Fl. E. Himal. 144. 1966; Deb. D.B. Fl. Tripura State 1 : 119. 1981; C. planisiliqua L. Sp. Pl. 377. 1753; Senna occidentalis Roxb. Fl. Ind. 2 : 343. 1832.

Plant:- Annual undershrub, subglabrous, foetid, few feet high.

Leaves:- Alternate, compound, paripinnate; rachis channelled, presence of a gland at the base of the rachis; stipulate, stipules obliquely cordate, acuminate; leaflets 4–5 pairs, size (3.7 cm X 2 cm- 7 cm X 3.5 cm),obate to oblong- lanceolate; acuminate, margin ciliate, glabrous or pubescence.

Inflorescence:- Axillary corymb and terminal panicle.

Flowers:- Complete, bisexual, slightly irregular, zygomorphic, pentamerous, hypogynous, pedicelate; bractate, bracts white with pinkish tinge, thin, ovate- acuminate, caducous; yellow.

Calyx:- Sepals 5, gamosepalous, tube short, 5 lobed, obtuse, glabrous, imbricate, odd sepal is anterior.

Corolla:- Petals 5, polypetalous, alternisepalous, sub-equal, with distinct claw, conspicuously veined, ascending imbricate, posterior petal is the innermost.

Androecium:- Stamens 10, free, unequal in size, 7 perfect and 3 reduced to staminode, filaments unequal, anther dithecous, basifixed, introrse and dehiscing by terminal pores.

Gynoecium:- Carpel 1, ovary superiour, unilocular, many ovuled, marginal placentation; style simple; stigma terminate, capitate.

Fruit:- Pod, dehiscent, woody, 12.5 cm X 0.7 cm, glabrous, recurved, subcompressed, distinctly torulose, 23-30 seeded.


  1. ^ "Senna occidentalis (L.) Link". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2004-01-22. Retrieved 2009-03-28. 
  2. ^ "Senna occidentalis". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 10 November 2015. 
  3. ^ Barth, AT; Kommers, GD; Salles, MS; Wouters, F; de Barros, CS. "Coffee Senna (Senna occidentalis) poisoning in cattle in Brazil". Vet Hum Toxicol. 36: 541–5. PMID 7900275. 
  4. ^ Chukwujekwu, J.C.; Coombes, P.H.; Mulholland, D.A.; van Staden, J. (2006). "Emodin, an antibacterial anthraquinone from the roots of Cassia occidentalis". South African Journal of Botany. 72 (2): 295–297. doi:10.1016/j.sajb.2005.08.003. 
  5. ^ Kim, Hyeong L.; Camp, Bennie J.; Grigsby, Ronald D. (1971). "Isolation of N-methylmorpholine from the seeds of Cassia occidentalis (coffee senna)". J. Agric. Food Chem. 19 (1): 198–199. doi:10.1021/jf60173a026. 
  6. ^ Thimaaveshi - Catalogue of Plants
  7. ^ List of food items in 'Maldives Coding System'
  8. ^ Xavier Romero-Frias, The Maldive Islanders, A Study of the Popular Culture of an Ancient Ocean Kingdom. Barcelona 1999, ISBN 84-7254-801-5
  9. ^ "Experts’ report on Malkangiri kids death evokes mixed reaction". 
  10. ^ "Strange: Now M'giri kids’ deaths linked to Chakunda Plant rather rich in medicinal properties". 
  11. ^ Cassia occidentalis poisoning as the probable cause of hepatomyoencephalopathy in children in western Uttar Pradesh

External links[edit]