With tongue firmly planted in cheek, I would like to thank my loving wife for introducing me to senna tea. For those who are not familiar with it, here’s the explanation I should have read before drinking it:
Senna first was used by Arabian physicians as far back as the 9th century AD. It has long been used in traditional Arabic and European medicine as well, primarily as a laxative. The leaves have been brewed and the tea administered for its strong laxative effect. Because it often is difficult to control the concentration of the active ingredients in the tea, an unpredictable effect may be obtained.
When I started my fast, my wife suggested that I drink it to help keep me “regular” and that it would take 6-12 hours for the tea to take effect. Now, to be fair, my wife has had senna tea with no problem and so I’m thinking “hey, I’m a big guy so, I should be fine!”
Okay, so I follow the instructions on the box, sort of. At around 10:00pm this past Wednesday, I drop the tea bag in my mug of hot water, cover it and let it steep. Now, it was supposed to steep for 10-15 minutes. Instead, I let it steep for what was probably 25 minutes or more. It was still kind of warm so I figured it was no problem. The tea tasted fine and, around 11pm, I turned in because I had to be up for work in the morning.
Details are still hazy but, around 1am, I started feeling strange. At first, I am thinking that the juice from the fast wasn’t agreeing with me and that it must be some stomach acid. Umm…nope…that wasn’t it.
Without going into graphic detail, let me tell you about the rest of my night. I was up and down more than a guest at a Catholic wedding. The cramps in my stomach felt like somebody stuck a wind-up key through my belly button and kept turning it. For the next 4.5 – 5 hours, this went on until, out of exhaustion I went to sleep. So, at around 7:30, I uncurl myself from the fetal position to get ready for work, thinking I’m safe. I’m in some pain and moving slowly but, I think I’m okay. Then, POW!, another cramp comes on — it’s the senna tea hitting me with a parting shot. Afterwards, I call my boss to say that I’m going to be late and curl up for another two hours. I shakily make my way into work about 10:20am. By 11:30 or so, the tea has cleared my system.
If you’re counting, it took about 12 hours for me to rid myself of this evil brew.
The lessons from this — ask questions, do your homework and drink senna tea earlier in the day!