What is it?
Seneca is an herbal medicine used to treat asthma, sore throat, colds, chronic bronchitis, and chest congestion. It has also been used to increase sweat and saliva.
Other names for Seneca include: Polygala senega L., Polygala, Rattlesnake Root, Snake Root, Senega Snakeroot, Senega, and Northern Senega.
Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist if you need more information about this medicine or if any information in this leaflet concerns you.
Tell your doctor if you
- are taking medicine or are allergic to any medicine (prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) or dietary supplement)
- are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medicine
- are breastfeeding
- have stomach upset, ulcers, or a fever that has not been examined by a doctor
- have any other health problems, such as high blood pressure or heart or blood vessel disease
Talk with your caregiver about how much Seneca you should take. The amount depends on the strength of the medicine and the reason you are taking Seneca. If you are using this medicine without instructions from your caregiver, follow the directions on the medicine bottle. Do not take more medicine or take it more often than the directions tell you to.
To store this medicine:
Keep all medicine locked up and away from children. Store medicine away from heat and direct light. Do not store your medicine in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink, or in other damp places. Heat or moisture may cause the medicine to break down and not work the way it should work. Throw away medicine that is out of date or that you do not need. Never share your medicine with others.
- Before taking Seneca, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
- Do not take Seneca without talking to your doctor first if you have stomach problems (gastritis, gastric ulcers) (2) or a fever (6)
- Do not take Seneca for a long time (6)
Stop taking your medicine right away and talk to your doctor if you have any of the following side effects. Your medicine may be causing these symptoms which may mean you are allergic to it.
- Breathing problems or tightness in your throat or chest
- Chest pain
- Skin hives, rash, or itchy or swollen skin
Other Side Effects:
You may have the following side effects, but this medicine may also cause other side effects. Tell your doctor if you have side effects that you think are caused by this medicine.
- Call your doctor right away if you are vomiting (throwing up) blood (5)
- Nausea (upset stomach), vomiting, diarrhea (loose stools), or drowsiness (feeling tired) (1,2,5)
1. Chevallier A: The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. DK Publishing Company, New York, NY; 1996.
2. Bradley PR (ed.): British Herbal Compendium, vol. 1. British Herbal Medicine Association, Bournemouth, UK; 1992.
3. Anon: British Herbal Pharmacopoeia. British Herbal Medicine Association, Keighley, UK; 1983.
4. Newall CA, Anderson LA & Phillipson JD: Herbal Medicines. A Guide for Health-care Professionals. Pharmaceutical Press, London, UK; 1996.
5. Tyler VE: The Honest Herbal, 3rd edition. George Strickley, Philadelphia, PA; 1993.
6. Brinker F: Herb Contraindications and Drug Interactions, 2nd ed. Eclectic Institute, Sandy, OR; 1998.
7. Fetrow CW & Avila JR: Professional's Handbook of Complementary and Alternative Medicines. Springhouse Corporation, Springhouse, PA; 1999: 590-592.
Last Updated: 1/4/2011