These medicinally important cassia seeds are obtained from the two annual, herbaceous plants - Cassia obtusifolia L. and Cassia tora L. They belong to the taxonomic family Leguminosae, and are indigenous to the tropical regions. The plants bear compound leaves and yellow flowers. Similar to other leguminous plants (peas, beans), seeds are borne in pods. Let's take a look into the production of cassia seed extract and its benefits.
Production of Cassia Seed and Extract
Since cassia plants are very easy to grow, the yield amount is very high. Planting is done in late spring by direct sowing in garden soil. Large pods harvested in Autumn are dried and threshed to obtain usable seeds. They can be used raw, or after roasting and frying. The pharmaceutical or Latin name of cassia seed is Semen Cassiae. And cassia seed extract is the powdered form of dried and cleaned seeds. Taste wise, it is sweet and salty, combined with a bitter taste.
Benefits of Cassia Seed Extract
Other than the therapeutic applications, cassia seeds are used in the pretreatment of materials before dying (mordant). Also, superior quality seeds are dried, roasted properly and grounded to substitute coffee. In order to reap medicinal benefits and keep side effects at bay, it is imperative to take herbs appropriate for the particular ailment and in correct doses. The safe dose of cassia seed extract is stated to be 10-15 g.
Listed below are some of the cassia seed extract benefits.
- Cassia seed extract is a tonic for the eyes, kidney, liver and bowel. It is useful to address liver fire, a diagnostic pattern in traditional Chinese medicine. Symptoms of liver fire are irritability, headache, red face, tinnitus and sleep problems.
- All parts of the cassia plants contain anthraquinones, which impart a laxative property to the cassia seed extract. Cassia seed tea helps hydrate the large intestinal tract to loosen the bowels. To get best results, the extract should be taken as it is, without prior boiling or anything similar.
- One of the impressive benefits is inhibiting growth of fungi that cause skin infections. For this, the powder is added in sterile water to make an infusion. The extract is then used for various types of topical infections caused by fungi.
- For combating bacteria, an alcohol infusion of cassia seed extract is prepared and used. It is effectual to impair growth of various bacterial strains, including Bacillus coli, Staphylococcus and Bacillus diphtheriae amongst others.
- Containing retinoic acid, the use of cassia seeds and their products for improving vision is documented in alternative medicine. For increased effectiveness, they are taken in combination with dodder seeds and other curative herbs.
- In herbal medicine, cassia seed extract usage includes treatment of bloodshot eyes (conjunctive congestion) and other eye problems. A specific amount of gentian root is often used with cassia seed extract for the same purpose.
- As far as intake of cassia seed extract for weight loss is concerned, dietary products based on this herbal extract are available in the market. However, the safety of this herbal formulation as a weight loss aid is not proven scientifically.
- Cassia seed extract boosts weight loss due to its laxative properties. And the reduction in body weight is attributed to water loss, and not loss of fat. So, using cassia seeds results in temporary weight loss effect.
Cassia Seed Extract Side Effects
For herbs having lots of medicinal benefits, they are quite likely to have some side effects too. This is quite obvious, because even the property of lowering blood pressure can be beneficial or harmful to an individual, depending upon his/her present condition. With cassia seed extract, the negative effects include psoriasis, triggering of gastrointestinal problems, increasing weight, exacerbating irritable bowel syndrome and lowering blood pressure. It is shown to have uterus contraction effect, hence this extract should not be taken by expecting women.
To conclude with, no sufficient clinical studies have been done to prove the above mentioned cassia seed extract benefits. This is indeed a major concern with nearly all types of curative herbs documented in herbal medicine. So, take cassia seed extract under close supervision of a trusted herbalist, and never self administer any kind of herbal formulations. They do contain strong active components which can negatively affect health in many ways.