What is syrup of black Draught?

Syrup of black draught is a liquid laxative medication that has been used since the early 1900s. It contains senna, which comes from the leaves and pods of the senna plant. Senna contains chemicals called sennosides that irritate the lining of the bowel and promote bowel movements.

Syrup of black draught works by increasing the activity of the muscles that push material through the intestines. This helps stool move more quickly through the colon and leads to a bowel movement. It is used to treat occasional constipation.

What are the ingredients in syrup of black draught?

The main ingredients in syrup of black draught are:

– Senna leaf extract – This comes from the senna plant and contains sennosides that act as a laxative by irritating the lining of the bowel.

– Flavoring – Syrup of black draught has a distinctive flavor due to added flavorings. The flavorings help improve the taste.

– Sucrose – This is regular table sugar that acts as a sweetener.

– Purified water – The liquid component of the syrup.

– Sodium methyl paraben and sodium propyl paraben – Preservatives used to prevent mold and bacterial growth.

How does syrup of black draught work?

Syrup of black draught contains sennosides from the senna plant. Senna has been used medicinally for centuries as a laxative.

The sennosides irritate the lining of the bowel, which stimulates contractions and increases the speed at which material moves through the colon. This helps push stool through more rapidly.

The sennosides also help draw more water into the stool, making it softer and easier to pass. The combined effect helps relieve constipation.

Syrup of black draught usually produces a bowel movement in 6-12 hours. It does not cure constipation. It provides temporary relief and must be taken as needed.

What are the uses of syrup of black draught?

The main uses of syrup of black draught include:

– Relief of occasional constipation – This medication is used for short-term relief of constipation. It draws water into the intestines and stimulates bowel movements.

– Bowel preparation before procedures – Syrup of black draught may be used prior to medical procedures such as colonoscopies to help clean out the bowels.

– Short-term relief for hemorrhoids – By softening stool, syrup of black draught can provide temporary relief from painful hemorrhoids.

– Managing opioid-induced constipation – For people taking opioid pain medications long-term, syrup of black draught can help manage constipation side effects.

What are the side effects of syrup of black draught?

Some potential side effects of syrup of black draught include:

– Abdominal cramping or pain
– Nausea
– Bloating
– Gas or flatulence
– Diarrhea
– Electrolyte imbalances from diarrhea
– Dehydration

If diarrhea persists for more than 2-3 days, it can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. Prolonged use can cause laxative dependence.

Those with heart conditions, kidney disease, or eating disorders should not use syrup of black draught without medical supervision. It is not intended for long-term use.

What is the proper dosage for syrup of black draught?

The recommended dosage for syrup of black draught depends on the person’s age:

– Adults & children 12 years and older: 2-4 tablespoonfuls (30-60 mL) taken at bedtime.

– Children 6-11 years: 1-2 tablespoonfuls (15-30 mL) taken at bedtime.

– Children under 6 years: Do not use without medical advice.

For adults over 60 years old, the starting dose is typically 1-2 tablespoonfuls taken at bedtime.

Never exceed the recommended dosage shown on the label. Drink a full glass of liquid with each dose. Effects occur 6-12 hours after taking.

How long does syrup of black draught take to work?

Syrup of black draught usually takes 6-12 hours before it causes a bowel movement. This is because it takes time for the sennosides to travel through the digestive system to the colon, irritate the colon lining, and stimulate contractions.

The laxative effects tend to be strongest in the morning after taking syrup of black draught before bedtime the night before. It does not provide immediate relief.

Onset time can vary based on factors such as dosage, diet, hydration, and individual response. Activity level and abdominal massage after taking the dose may help speed onset.

Can you take syrup of black draught every day?

Syrup of black draught should not be taken daily on an ongoing basis. It is intended only for occasional use to relieve constipation.

Taking it regularly can lead to laxative dependence, meaning your bowel will not function properly without help from the medication. Prolonged daily use can cause side effects like diarrhea, nausea, cramps, and electrolyte disturbances.

It’s better to make lifestyle changes to promote regular bowel movements if you are struggling with constipation. Eat more fiber, exercise, and drink fluids. Then use syrup of black draught as needed for temporary relief, no more than once per week unless directed by your doctor.

Is syrup of black draught safe for kids?

Syrup of black draught can be used in children ages 6-11 but should be avoided in those under age 6. Always follow dosing guidelines based on the child’s age and never exceed the recommended dose.

Supervise your child after giving them syrup of black draught to monitor for side effects like diarrhea or cramping. Make sure they stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of water.

Do not use syrup of black draught as a long-term solution for childhood constipation, which is usually safest treated with diet changes, fluids, fiber supplements or stool softeners. Check with your pediatrician before using syrup of black draught in children.

Can you take syrup of black draught while pregnant?

Syrup of black draught should be avoided in pregnancy unless explicitly recommended by your obstetrician. The safety of senna during pregnancy has not been established.

Mild laxatives like stool softeners or fiber supplements are usually recommended first for treating constipation in pregnant women. Make sure to drink plenty of water and get exercise.

Discuss your constipation with your OB-GYN before taking any medication, including syrup of black draught. They can help determine the safest treatment options during pregnancy based on your specific circumstances.

Does syrup of black draught expire?

Yes, syrup of black draught can expire and should not be used after its printed expiration date. Expired syrup of black draught may not be as effective or safe to use.

Always store syrup of black draught according to the instructions on the package, usually at controlled room temperature away from excess heat or moisture. Discard any unused portion after the marked expiration date.

The sennosides in the syrup can break down over time, making expired syrup of black draught less potent. If you take expired syrup but it seems weaker than normal, get a new bottle to ensure you are getting an effective dose.

Can I drink alcohol while taking syrup of black draught?

It’s recommended to avoid drinking alcohol when taking syrup of black draught.

Alcohol and laxatives both cause dehydration. Combining the two can worsen dehydration effects and cause headaches, dizziness, low blood pressure and electrolyte disturbances.

Alcohol can also exacerbate drowsiness caused by some laxatives. If you choose to drink, have no more than 1-2 alcoholic drinks and be sure to drink plenty of water as well.

Avoid prolonged heavy drinking while taking syrup of black draught and do not consume alcohol at the same time you take the laxative syrup. Wait at least a few hours after using syrup of black draught before considering any alcohol intake.

Can I take syrup of black draught with other medications?

It’s generally recommended to take syrup of black draught at least 2 hours before or after other oral medications.

Laxatives may speed up transit time in the gut, possibly decreasing absorption of some medications taken around the same time. The sennosides could also interfere with medication effects.

Some interactions are possible with medications like diuretics, corticosteroids, lithium, digoxin, oral contraceptives and more. Be sure your doctor is aware of all medications you take before using syrup of black draught.

Check with your pharmacist about specific drug interactions with senna-containing laxatives. It’s advisable not to exceed recommended syrup of black draught doses when taking other medications.

What precautions should I take when using syrup of black draught?

Some precautions to keep in mind when using syrup of black draught include:

– Don’t exceed the recommended dose
– Stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of water
– Allow at least 6-12 hours between doses
– Don’t use for more than 1 week unless advised by your doctor
– Don’t use if you have stomach pain, nausea or vomiting
– Discontinue use if you get diarrhea
– Consult your doctor if pregnant, breastfeeding, have a heart condition, kidney disease, etc.
– Keep out of reach of children

Prolonged use without medical supervision could lead to side effects. Be sure to follow dosage guidelines closely and tell your doctor if constipation persists despite using syrup of black draught as directed.

What should I do if I take too much syrup of black draught?

If you take more than the recommended dose of syrup of black draught, seek medical attention right away by calling 911, Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222 or the ER.

Overdose can cause severe dehydration and electrolyte imbalances from excessive diarrhea and fluid loss. Other symptoms may include cramps, nausea, weakness, dizziness or confusion.

Bring the medication bottle with remaining syrup to help medical providers in case you accidentally ingested an overdose. Treatment will involve replacing lost fluids and electrolytes to stabilize your condition.

Try to sip small amounts of clear liquids if you can tolerate it while waiting for help. Never induce vomiting unless told to do so by Poison Control or ER providers.


Syrup of black draught is an over-the-counter laxative containing sennosides from the senna plant. It works by irritating the bowel to stimulate contractions and speed up transit time. Regular use can cause dependence so it should only be used occasionally to relieve constipation, not as a long-term solution.

Follow dosage guidelines closely and be aware of possible side effects and drug interactions. Seek medical advice if constipation persists despite proper use. With some precautions, syrup of black draught can provide effective short-term relief from constipation when used as directed.

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