Cassia occidentalis

Synonyms

Senna occidentalis, Roxb., Senna occidentalis (L.), Cassia foetida Pers.

Vernacular Names:

Malaysia:

Kacang Kota, Ketepeng Hutan

ENglish:

Stinking Weed, Negro Coffee, Coffee Senna, Antbush (England)

Indonesia:  Menting (Java), Kopi Andelan (Sumatera)
Vietnam:  Moung hoe
Laos:  Phet
Cambodia:  Phak ngot
Thailand:  Chumhet tet [2]
India:  Kassaumdhi, Barrikassaumdhi (Hindi), Doddaagace (Kannada); Panniviram, Ponnaniviram (Malayalam); Kasamardah (Sanakrit); Ponnavirai, Peravirai, Nattam takarai (Tamil); Kasinda (Telagu) [3]
Nepals:  Barkichakor, Chilmile, Gahat (Danuwar), Kwnar, Tapre (Magar), Chhinchhin, Kodari phul, Panwar, Sani, Syang Syange, Tulo tapre (Nepali), Tapre (Rai) [4]
China:  Wang Jiang Nan, Ye Bian Dou, Li Cha [2]
Korea:  Soggjolmjong
Japan:  Habuso [3]
France:  Bentamare, Café Bastard, Casse Puante, Café des Niors
Spain:  Bricho, Brusca, Frijolillo, Guanina [6]
Porto Rico:  Cana fista, Vainillo (Mexico), Pigue pajaro (Nicaragua), Fedegoso, Pajamarioba, Magerioba (South America), Achuporoto (Peru)
West Indies:  Pois Puat
Cuba:  Martinica
Jamaica:  Dandelion
Colombia:  Chilinchile
Peru:  Retamilla
Bolivia:  Mamuri
Argentina: Cafelilo, Cafeton
Brazil:  Mata Pasta, Fedegoso, Paramarioba [2]
Senegal:  Mbetambre, Xob Bu Adana Bate, Bata, Benefine, Betafenee, Nani, Mbala mbala fin, Ala nao, Turifere, Kasalo, Kasala, Tasbati, Schabali, Adana, Aldana, Kaputa bana, Akade eyofum, Dakemal, Kasala, Fedegosa, Makakase, Faux kinkeliba, Herbe paunte  
Gambia:  Kassala, Bantamare, Lubalub, Tiga sowru, Kafura bunang bang 
Sierra Leone:  E-bambafoke, Bamba Fokie, Dila-kindo, Sabibosue-le, Stinkin-lif
Mali:  Dine Monu, Turi Ferre, Alia nao Balambala
Ivory Coast:  Adamaduba, Kandabalomba, Matamakankanmanda, Batrankam Banda, Bagale, Zimele Dindin, Ziribidindin
Burkina Faso:  Binane, Daon, Berle, Faux kinkeliba [6]
Ghana:  Kedeberuba, Mofra Borode, Anase Borode, Denkyenwe, Anansedua, Wame, Akyendaluwa, Kenda Aluwaa, Gbekebii Angmadaabainsa, Bayisa, Dzongbale, Dzovi, Devidevi ipeli-mumu, Agabladzo[7]
Liberia:  Bala bleh
Togo:  Awakofin, Awakolif, Adakayi, Awakognifan, Awakofe
Benin:  Husikonu
Nigeria:  Kire, Rere, Rai’ dore 
Niger:  Sanga-sanga, Raydore 
Cameroon:  Gin-i-nel 
CAR:  Oko akora, Kinkiliba, Mquinquiliba, Gomkpi, Le zafan, Nziki, Sa ngu 
Angola:  Munhanoka, Diai 
Congo: 

Sang, Kenkelibo, Ntsumu, Nkia, Ntsuri ntsuri, Munkasa ntari, Onwara tshulu, Bufili buesi, Nkese ntari, Poso jandzo, Leposo jandzo, Elumbatsolo, Buluwatali, Niasi 

Gabon:  Nyale-kaba, Ebesi, Ngombi-a-nyovi, Bangore, Anumba-numba, Mukemu-mfumbi, Muwiwisi, Igondjo-nyi-nicheri, Nyoka-nyoka  
Ziare:  Tchungu-tchungu, Abokotul, Obokotul, Bao, Bomingolanta, Logondjolo, Etukuluku, Inaola a diliki, Lituku, Ileleko, Kinkiliba, Kinkiloba, Kivantala, Kankundagunda, Konde, Lembe, Okasam mangue, Mobengo-lataba, Lulanga-budjibudji, Tchimbele bele, Mujoka, Mutsutshungu, Mushemanjoka, Munzangi nzango, Nioka nioka, N’tande, N’zanga, N’zungu, N’tu, Zakeke, Tete buangila 
Uganda:  Etiaatia, Omwita-njoka, Ekayeriyer, Umuthanjoka  
Burundi:  Umuyokayoka 
Rwanda:  Umuyoka, Umwikanzoka, Kisogera  
Somalia:  Fihaari, Dirjinni[6]  
Tanzania:  Kunde nyika, Ntamba nzoka, Tamba nzaka, Megeiee, Sugusse, Linsegiri, Manzegenzge, Mwanhajini, Zamnala, Simbe, Kundekunde, Mlingajini, Komanguku, Muinu, Mkutu, Mwilanziba 
Kenya:  Inglatiang, Msalafu, Mnubobundo, Mnika Uvunda, Mwingajini, Mrumbuzi, Mrambazi, Mbukomavi[7] 
Malawi:  Mjoka 
Zambia:  Loeni, Cynialala, Mucerere  
South Africa:   Moshabela moha, Tsinyembane, Umnwanda nyoka[6]

General Information

Description

Cassia occidentalis is a small multiple branches shrub growing up to 2m high. It is an annual or biannual herb with ribbed stem and conspicuous green colour with a most unpleasant smell. The leaves are compound pinnate with 3-6 pairs of leaflets. The leaflets are ovate or ovate-lanceolate with the terminal pair always larger. They are acuminate and measures 5-7cm x 2.5-4cm. There are 6-8 pairs of lateral nerves joining in loops to their neighbours. The flowers are in very short few-flowered raceme from upper leaf axils or terminal. There are two small and three large petal that are yellow in colour. The fruits are flattened, narrow, slightly curved, smooth green pods, measuring 12-16cm long and 0.8 cm wide. There are usually 10-25 small ovate brown seeds in clearly visible chambers at right angled to the middle axis.

Plant Part Used

Leaves, pods, seeds and roots

Chemical Constituents

Anthraquinones and their glycosides:

Chrysophanol, emodin, physcion, and 4,4’,5,5’-tetrahydroxy-2,2’-dimethyl-1,1’-bianthraquinone, germichrysone and occidentalins A & B, 1,8-dihydroxy-2-methylanthraquinone, 1,4,5-trigydroxy-7-methoxy-3-methyl anthraquinone, rhein, aloe-emodin, occidental-I, occidental-II, , a-hydroxy anthraquinone, pinselin, islandicin, helmithosporin, xanthorin, metteucinol-7-rhamnoside, jaceidin-7-rhamnoside, questin, torosachrysone, Germintorosone, Methylgermitorosone, Helminthosoporine, N-methylmorpholine, Singueanol I

Glycosides: 7-OMehtyl-quercetin and 3,5,3’-trimethoxy quercetin,

Flavonoids: Torosaflavon B, Cassiaoccidentalin C

Polysaccharides: Galactomannan

Fatty acids: Lignoceric acid, linoleic acid, linolenic acid and oleic acid. [6] [7] [8] [9] [10]

Traditional Use

The plant is considered bitter, sweet and acrid and has purgative, laxative, anti-inflammatory, expectorant, hepatoprotective, anti-malarial, analgesic, vermifuge and febrifuge. [11] 

Various societies are in agreement as to its digestive properties. Many use various parts of the plants to treat gastrointestinal complaints like stomachache, dyspepsia, flatulence and constipation. For the treatment of stomachache in Panama, tea made of fresh leaves is prescribed , while in India the roots and seeds are the parts used to treat this. The Indians use again the roots and seeds to treat dyspepsia and flatulence. For constipation for which this plant is widely used, all agreed that the leaves seem to be the best and it is being prepared in many forms both dry and fresh. Indians also use the leaves and seed to treat hiccough. [3][12][13] A decoction of the leaves, roots and flowers is useful in relieving flatulence of dyspeptic and nervous women. [14] It is considered hepatoprotective and is used to treat various forms of hepatitis, liver cirrhosis and various stages of liver failure. In Peru and Brazil the roots are used to treat and fortify the liver. In some countries in Africa, the leaves are used in the treatment of hepatitis. In Benin an aqueous decoction of the leaves or the whole plant is used to treat jaundice and fever. [6] It is vermifuge and is used to expel intestinal parasites. For this fresh crushed leaves are given by people of Panama to their children to expel these vermins. In Nepal juice of the roots is anthelmintic and taken 6 teaspoon at bed time and is also given for fever. [4] 

The plant has expectorant properties and thus is being used to treat various respiratory infections. It is helpful in the treatment of cough and has been used to treat whooping cough by the Indians. The seeds are brewed into a coffee like beverages and given in cases of asthma while the flower infusion is used for bronchitis. [11] In Suriname coffee senna is used in treatment of sore throat, colds & flu and asthma. [13] In India various parts of the plants is used to treat respiratory complaints. The leaves and seeds are considered expectorant and is used to treat cough, whooping cough and bronchitis. [3] 

The whole plant is generally considered as an anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, febrifuge, sudorific and diaphoretic. It is also considered an immune stimulants. It is thus widely used to treat various forms of fevers from viral to parasitic. It is also used in many bacterial inflammatory conditions both on the skin and internally. [11]  In Peru and Brazil the roots are used to treat fevers whereby a decoction is given. [13] Indians make use of the whole plant, the leaves or the seeds to control fever.[3] African healers prescribe infusion of the leaves or boiled roots to treat their fevers, but the Congo healers warm leaves, macerate them in water and use this to bathe their patients with. [6] Venereal diseases are also treated using this plant. The Malays used a decoction of the roots to treat this condition especially those associated with bleeding. Leaves are used to treat gonorrhea and various urinary tract disorders this is seen in some Brazilian society. [11] [12] To treat strangury associated with these conditions the Indians used the whole plants. Other infections where this plant is being used as a remedy include tuberculosis, leprosy, erysipelas and elephantiasis. It is also used in the treatment of malaria.           

The plant is considered as a diuretic and this properties is recognized in the roots, leaves and seeds. This property can be made use of in the treatment of hypertension, oedema, and urinary problems. The Peruvians and the Brazilians used the roots to cause diuresis while the Indians advocate the use of seeds as diuretic. [3] [12] In Africa (Gabon) the leaves are considered diuretic and so does some societies in Brazil. [6] [12]           

It is widely used in the treatment of women’s problems. As a tonic it is being used to uplift general weakness and improve anaemia during the immediate postpartum period. The Brazilians use the roots and the leaves to address menstrual problems while the Mistiko Indians of Nicaragua uses the decoction of the whole plant to treat uterine pains and dysmenorrhoea. [12] African community consider this plant to be an excellent oxytocic and is used to aid delivery of both the baby and the placenta. In the Congo the decoction of the roots is being used to ease delivery. [6] The Senegalese believe it can help improve female fertility.The Creole society used the root decoction and infusion for inflammation of the uterus and to induce abortion. [15] 

Many practitioners around the world make use of Cassia occidentalis to treat skin related problems. The leaves whether fresh or dried has been found to be suitable for use in treatment of skin disorders, fungal and parasitic skin diseases and inflammatory skin conditions. In Suriname it is considered an excellent remedy for fungal skin infections.[13] The Indians use the roots to treat fungal infections of the skin, the leaves to control pruritus, treat wounds and ulcers  while the seeds for more sinister skin infections like leprosy and erysipelas. [3]           

The seeds are considered cardiotonic and the Creoles use it to ally palpitation and treat congestive cardiac failure. [15] The Chinese use it to treat hypertension. [7] 

The roots are considered a good remedy for convulsions and epilepsy by the Indians. [3] In Benin convulsions are treated by exposing the patient to vapours from boiling leaves. Intercostal neuralgia the pulp of the pounded leaves is applied to relieve the pains. [6] 

Many communities advocate the use of the plant parts to treat snake bites and other painful bites eg. scorpion bites. For snake bites in Benin, pounded leaves mixed with the blood of a rooster is applied over the lesion. [6] In Nepals on the other hand paste of the whole plant is being used. [4] 

Pre-Clinical Data

Pharmacology

Anti-inflammatory activity 

The anti-inflammatory activity of C. occidentalis leaf powder was able to suppress the transudative, exudative and proliferative components of chronic inflammation. Further, it was observed that is was able to lower the lipid peroxide content and gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase and phospholipase A2 activity in the exudate of cotton pellet granuloma. The increased alkaline phosphatase activity and decreased A/G ratio of plasma in cotton pellet granulomatous rats were normalized after treatment with the drug. C. occidentalis powder extract was able to stabilize the human erythrocyte membrane against hypotonicity-induced lysis. It is likely that C. occidentalis powder extract may exert its anti-inflammatory activity by inhibition of phospholipase A2, resulting in the reduced availability of arachidonic acid, a precursor of prostaglandin biosynthesis, and/or by stabilization of the lysosomal membrane system. [16] 

Hepatoprotective activity 

C. occidentalis commonly known as 'Kasondi', is used in Unani medicine for liver ailments and is an important ingredient of several polyherbal formulations marketed for liver diseases. The hepatoprotective effect of aqueous-ethanolic extract (50%, v/v) of leaves of kasondi was studied on rat liver damage induced by paracetamol and ethyl alcohol by monitoring serum transaminase (aspartate amino transferase and serum alanine amino transferase), alkaline posphatase, serum cholesterol, serum total lipids and histopathological alterations. The extract of leaves of the plant produced significant hepatoprotection. [17] 

Antimalarial activity 

EtOH and CH2Cl2 extracts of the leaves of C. occidentalis exhibit more than 60% inhibition of growth of Plasmodium falciparum in vitro.   

In a study of the effects of ethanolic, dichloromethane and lyophilized aqueous extracts of C. occidentalis root bark for their antimalarial activity in vivo. It was found that the ethanolic and dichloromethane produced significant chemosippression of parasitaemia of > 60% when administered orally in doses of 200mg/kg. [18] [19] 

Anticancer & Antimutagenic activity 

A number of studies have been done to look into the anticancer and antimutagenic properties of C. occidentalis. In a study reported in November 1999 the investigators concluded that the aqueous extracts of the leaves of C. occidentalis showed antimutagenic properties could be due to its ability to modulate the xenobiotic activation and detoxification mechanism. They found that pretreatment with aqueous extracts of the leaves was able to reduce the incidence of chromosomal aberrations induced by benzo[a] pyrene (B[a]P) and cyclophosphamide (CP) in mice. They also established the fact that C. occidentalis is non-genotoxic per se and did not exert other toxic signs and symptoms in the treated animals.  In another study on the antimutagenic properties of C. occidentalis using a different model the same investigators concluded that this effect could possibly be due to its ability to interact with the microsomal activating enzymes to inhibit chromosomal aberrations caused by benzo [a] pyrene and aflatoxin B1 (AFB1). [20] [21] 

Immunostimulatory activity 

In a study using aqueous extract of C. occidentalis the administration of this extract to Cyclophosphamide exposed animals had resulted in improved humoral responses. This is evidenced by the enhancement of plaque forming cells response in CP-treated animals, protection against quantitative haemolysis of SRBC, significant reversal of bone marrow cell count. These activities were thought to be due to its ability to modulate hepatic drug metabolizing enzymes. [22] 

Anitmicrobial activity 

Antibacterial – In a screening study of 30 Indian plants for their antibacterial activity against Bacillus subtilis, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella aerogenes, Proteus vulgaris, Pseudomonas aerogenes and Staphylococcus aureus it was found that C. occidentalis leaf extract exhibited significant broad spectrum activity against B. subtilis and S. aureus. [23]

Toxicities  

Toxic principle in seeds is dianthrons. The following symptoms occurs in animals when fed on excessive amounts of the plant: incoordination, recumbancy, reluctance to move, anorexia, muscle weakness, ataxia, diarrhea, muscle tremors, stubbing, body weight loss and death. Those ingesting the seeds show profound skeletal muscle degeneration also degenerative myopathy of the cardiac muscle, congestion and pulmonary oedema and hepatic cell hypertrophy and necrosis. In humans ingestion of raw seeds will cause gastro-intestinal symptoms. [24] 

Treatment of poisoning is by intravenous rehydration and electrolyte replacement, and antiemetic in patients with severe gastrointestinal symptoms or in children. However, poisoning is very rare and occurs only when significant amount of raw seeds are ingested. Roasted seeds do not seem to cause these gastrointestinal symtoms. [25] 

The toxic compounds implicated for poisoning are chrysarobin (1,8-trihydroxy-3-methyl-9-anthrone), emodin (1,8-trihydroxy-6-methyl-9,10-anthracenedione) and a lectin (toxalbumin).

A study on the effects of sub-acute oral administration of C. occidentalis during pregnancy in female Wistar rats was performed. While the results did not show significant difference between the control and the tested groups in terms of offspring/dam relationship; fetuses, placentae and ovaries weights; number of implantation and resorption sites; number of corpora lutea in the ovaries and pre- and post-implantation loss rates, there were presence of dead fetuses in both does of (250 and 500 mg/kg.) C. occidentalis. This is enough evidence to put a cautionary note on its used during pregnancy. [26] 

Clinical Data

Clinical Trials  

No clinical trial on the various uses of the plants had been done per se, however there are a number of reports of toxicity in the use of the seeds of the plants both in humans and animals.

Adverse Effects in Human:

No documentation

Use in Certain Conditions

Pregnancy / Breastfeeding

The study on Wistar rats had shown some death of fetuses with the consumption of the plant. This should excite some caution is the use of the plant for whatever purpose during pregnancy. There have been communities using some preparation of the plant as a lactagogue however it should not be done selectively. [26]

Age Limitations

Neonates / Adolescents

This plant has been used traditionally to treat children and adults all the same. However the seeds should not be given to children for whatever purpose since there has been adverse reaction reports on accidental consumption of the seed some leading to coma and death. [27]

Geriatrics

No documentation

Chronic Disease Conditions

No documentation

Interactions

Interactions with drugs

No documentation

Interactions with Other Herbs / Herbal Constituents

No documentation

Contraindications

Contraindications

No documentation

Case Reports 

There have been annual reports of death resulting from obscure development of hepato-myo-encephalopathy amongst young children in the Uttar Pradesh in India. A preliminary study found that there were enough evidence to implicated this to the consumption of C. occidentalis seeds by these children. [27] [28]

References

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  2. Peter Hanelt, Rudolf Mansfeld, R. Büttner Mansfeld's. Encyclopedia of agricultural and horticultural crops 4. Berlin: Springer; 1986. pp. 563–564.
  3. P. K. Warrier, P.K. Et Al. Indian medicinal plants: a compendium of 500 species.2. Chennai; Orient Longmans: 1994. p.19.
  4. Sanjay Manandhar. Plants and people of Nepal.Hongkong: Timber Press; 2002. p.140.
  5. John Harry Wiersema, Blanca León.  World Economic Plants: A Standard Reference. Boca Raton: CRC Press; 1999. p. 457.
  6. Hans Dieter Neuwinger. African ethnobotany: poisons and drugs : chemistry, pharmacology, toxicology. Weinheim: Chapman & Hall;1996. p.287–293.
  7. Kee Chang Huang, Walter Michael Williams. The pharmacology of Chinese herbs . Boca Raton: CRC Press; 1999. p. 84.
  8. Mahendra Rai, María Cecilia Carpinella. Naturally occurring bioactive compounds. Amsterdam: Elservier; 2006. p. 217.
  9. Oyvind M. Andersen, Kenneth R. Markham. Flavonoids: chemistry, biochemistry, and applications.  Boca Raton: CRC Press; 2006. p.871.
  10. M. Daniel  Medicinal plants: Chemistry and properties. New Hampshire: Science Publishers; 2005. pp. 174 -175.
  11. Mother Herbs and Agro products. Available from: http://www.motherherbs.com/cassia-occidentalis.html. [Accessed on 25th Sept 2009].
  12. Raintree Nutrition Tropical Plant Database. Available from:http://www.rain-tree.com/fedegosa.htm [Accessed on 25th Sept 2009].
  13. Tropilab Inc. Available from: http://tropilab.com/yorkapesi.html. [Accessed on 25th Sept 2009].
  14. H. Panda Handbook on medicinal herbs with uses.  Delhi: Asia Pacific Business Press; 2004. p.287.
  15. Cheryl Lans Creole. Remedies of Trinidad and Tobago. 2nd ed. Lans Cheryl; 2007 p.174.
  16. Sadique J, Chandra T, Thenmozhi V, Elango V. Biochemical modes of action of Cassia occidentalis and Cardiospermum halicacabum in inflammation. J Ethnopharmacol. Mar-Apr1987;19(2):201-212.
  17. MA Jafri, M Jalis Subhani, K Javed, and S Singh Hepatoprotective activity of leaves of Cassia occidentalis against paracetamol and ethyl alcohol intoxication in rats. J Ethnopharmacol, 1Sep1999; 66(3): 355-361.
  18. L Tona, NP Ngimbi, M Tsakala, K Mesia, K Cimanga, S Apers, T De Bruyne, L Pieters, J Totte, and AJ Vlietinck Antimalarial activity of 20 crude extracts from nine African medicinal plants used in Kinshasa, Congo. J Ethnopharmacol. 15Dec1999; 68(1-3): 193-203.
  19. L Tona, K Mesia, NP Ngimbi, B Chrimwami, Okond'ahoka, K Cimanga, T de Bruyne, S Apers, N Hermans, J Totte, L Pieters, and AJ Vlietinck In-vivo antimalarial activity of Cassia occidentalis, Morinda morindoides and Phyllanthus niruri.  Ann Trop Med Parasitol. 1Jan2001; 95(1): 47-57.
  20. Sharma N, Trikha P, Athar M, Raisuddin S. Protective effect of Cassia occidentalis extract on chemical-induced chromosomal aberrations in mice. Drug Chem Toxicol. Nov1999;22(4):643-653.
  21. N. Sharma. P. Trikha. M. Attar, and S. Raisuddin In vitro inhibition of carcinogen-induced mutagenicity by Cassia occidentalis and Emblica officinalis. Drug Chem. Toxicol. 1Aug2000; 23(3): 477–484.
  22. Bilal Bin Hafeez, Iqbal Ahmad, Rizwanul Haque and S. Raisuddin. Protective effect of Cassia occidentalis L. on cyclophosphamide-induced suppression of humoral immunity in mice.  Journal of Ethnopharmacology. Apr2001;7(1):13–18.
  23. Samy RP, Ignacimuthu S. Antibacterial activity of some folklore medicinal plants used by tribals in Western Ghats of India. J Ethnopharmacol. Jan2000;69(1):63-71.
  24. Thomas Acamovic, Colin S. Stewart, T.W. Pennycott  Poisonous Plants and Related Toxins.  Cambridge: CABI; 2004. pp. 269–274.
  25. Lewis S. Nelson, Richard D. Shih, Michael J. Balick. Handbook of Poisonous and Injurious Plants New York.  Springer; 2007. pp.112–113.
  26. TP Aragao, MM Lyra, MG Silva, BA Andrade, PA Ferreira, LF Ortega, SD da Silva, JC da Silva, MC Fraga, AG Wanderley, and SS Lafayette. Toxicological reproductive study of Cassia occidentalis L. in female Wistar rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 4May2009; 123(1): 163-166.
  27. VM. Vashishtha, A. Kumar, TJ. John, and NC Nayak Cassia occidentalis poisoning as the probable cause of hepatomyoenchephalopathy in children in western Uttar Pradesh. Indian j. Med Res, 1Jun2007; 125(6): 756 – 762.
  28. VM Vashishtha, A Kumar, TJ John, and NC Nayak Cassia occidentalis poisoning causes fatal coma in children in western Uttar Pradesh. Indian Pediatr; 1Jul2007; 44(7): 522-525.