Information on Senega

Latin NamePolygala senega
Other NamesSnake Root
Part UsedRoot, Rhizome
Herb FormsTincture, bulk herb
AffectsRespiratory system
CautionsDo not take this herb is you are pregnant or if you have gastritis or gastric ulcers. Not for long-term use.
Botanical InfoA perennial herbaceous plants with 12 to 14" annual stems with 1 to 2" alternate leaves and short spikes of small white flowers.
DescriptionSenega, or "senega snake root," is a traditional North American remedy, used for centuries by Native American herbalists. The herb became popular in the late 1800s and early 1900s as an effective expectorant and diaphoretic to be used for chronic bronchitis, heavy mucus (catarrh), and asthma.
The related Polygala tenuifolia is used in Chinese medicine to dissolve phlegm that might cause mental and emotional disorders such as nervousness, heart palpitations, insomnia, and anxiety by obstructing the free flow of nutrients, enzymes, and nervous system impulses.
Chinese senega is included in a number of commercially available formulas for "calming the spirit," anxiety, nervousness, and related conditions.

Senega has a taste of ACRID, BITTER and a temperature of WARM.

Dosages

TypeDosage
Decoction1/2 to 1 cup 2-3 x daily
Tincture10 drops to 1 dropperful 2-3 x daily

Ailments Treated by Senega

AilmentTreatment SupportApplication
Lungs, congestedexpectoranttincture, tea
Catarrhexpectoranttincture, tea
Pharyngitisastringenttea or tincture, diluted as a gargle

References

Newall, C. et al.. 1996. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-care Professionals. London: The Pharmaceutical Press.
McGuffin, M. et al. 1997. Botanical Safety Handbook. Boca Raton: CRC Press.
Felter, H.W. and J.U. Lloyd. 1983. (1898). King's Dispensatory. Portland, OR: Eclectic Medical Publications.
Weiss, R. 1988. Herbal Medicine. Beaconsfield, England: Beaconsfield Publishers.
Wren, R.C. 1988. Potter's New Cyclopaedia of Botanical Drugs. Essex: C.W. Daniel Co. Ltd.
Madaus, G. 1976. Lehrbuch der Biologischen Heilmittel. Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlag.