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Akapulko Plant as Herbal Medicine: All You Need To Know

Uses|Precautions & Warnings|Side Effects|Interactions|Dosage
Akapulko Plant as Herbal Medicine: All You Need To Know

With a lengthy history of medicinal usage, the Akapulko plant has come a long way from just being a common plant.

Akapulko herbal medicine uses and preparation will provide you an insight into the health benefits of the akapulko plant, which continuously gains popularity all over the country, and even internationally.

Also known as ringworm bush, the scientific name of akapulko is Cassia alata or Senna alata. It is basically a shrub that can be found all throughout the Philippines identified under different names based on a particular region. You may know it as palochina or katanda.

This shrub can grow to only up to two meters tall, with flowers that take the shape of oblong sepals. The akapulko medicinal herb has chrysophanic acid known to be very effective in treating skin diseases. It also contains a particular form of laxative that can expel intestinal parasites.

Uses

Akapulko is commonly used as an anti-fungal and antibacterial treatment for different skin diseases that include the following:

How does it work?

The akapulko plant is usually harvested from fields so you can put to medicinal use its seeds, flowers and leaves. Since it is broadly cultivated, akapulko may be sourced even from the local horticulturists. You can also grow it at home.

Akapulko herbal medicine uses and preparation has become very popular over the years. It is commercially prepared in the form of capsule, powder and tincture. Some even add it to lotions and soaps. You can also make the akapulko plant into an ointment and apply it on affected skin areas.

As a form of home remedy, you can pound and juice akapulko leaves and topically apply it on the skin area affected, at least twice a day until it is cured. For commercial use, you can find akapulko herbal lotions in the market.

However, if you experience irritation or pain during usage, stop using it and immediately consult your doctor.

Precautions & Warnings

For the most part, the akapulko plant is safe for use, especially for adults. There may be some isolated cases in akapulko herbal medicine uses and preparation that require attention, though. Just like most herbal medicines, moderate use is recommended.

Allergy

Some people may have an allergic reaction to the component of the akapulko plant so if you experience skin irritation and inflammation when using, consult your doctor immediately.

Hypertension and Heart Problems

If you have hypertension or heart problems, it is best to consult a doctor before using the akapulko plant since it tends to counteract or exacerbate the effectiveness of your current medications.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

As of today, there is not enough studies to confirm or validate the safety of using the akapulko plant during pregnancy or breastfeeding. However, it is highly recommended to avoid its use, just to be on the safe side.

Side Effects

Generally, topical use of akapulko leaves has no adverse side effects. However, if you experience skin inflammation or irritation during usage, discontinue use and consult your doctor immediately.

For oral or internal use, a strong concoction of akapulko herbal tea may induce preterm labor or even abort an impending pregnancy. Hence, pregnant women and lactating mothers are highly discouraged from taking this herbal medicine for the time being.

Interactions

Akapulko herbal medicine uses and preparations should be monitored in certain health-related cases. Since the Akapulko plant contains anticoagulant properties, consult your doctor first if you are currently using coagulant medications.

Some contraindications for akapulko herbal medicine uses and preparation:

Excessive use of the akapulko herb can cause the breakdown of red blood cells, which could prove to be a serious problem, especially for those who are already anemic or suffering from illnesses involving regulation of red blood cells.

The akapulko plant contains a certain form of amino acid called canavanine that may aggravate the grave symptoms of auto-immune diseases like lupus.

Akapulko also contains Vitamin K, which is an essential vitamin and plays an important role in the blood coagulation process. If you are taking anticoagulants or other vitamin K-containing drugs, you should consult a doctor before using this herb to treat your condition.

Dosage

For treating skin diseases such as ringworm and eczema:

  • Wash the plant thoroughly before using. Pound the leaves and apply the juice directly on the area affected. You can apply the juice at least two times a day, until the problem area is cured.

For wound disinfection:

  • Boil the flowers and leaves of the akapulko plant for at least 10 minutes. Allow it to cool to room temperature to avoid burning the skin. Apply the decoction on the wound to effectively disinfect the lesion or injury in order to prevent further infection. You may use this all throughout the day, or as needed.

What form does Akapulko come in?

The akapulko plant heavily contains chrysophanol or chrysophanol acid, known to be very effective in treating various skin conditions like scabies, eczema and ringworm. Akapulko herbal medicine uses and preparation may be available in the form of juice or extract and even powder, which you can easily do at home.

Commercially, the akapulko plant can be made into ointments or added to lotions, soaps and shampoos to effectively get rid of microorganisms and fungi that attack the skin.

akapulko plant

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Akapulko  http://www.medicalhealthguide.com/articles/akapulko1. Accessed 24 April 2020

Akapulko  htmhttp://www.philippineherbalmedicine.org/akapulko. Accessed 24 April 2020

Akapulko  https://www.wildturmeric.net/cassia-alata-medicinal-uses-health-benefits-side-effects/ Accessed 24 April 2020

Akapulko http://medicinalplantsdatabase.com/portfolio/akapulko/ Accessed 24 April 2020

Ethnobotanical Description and Biological Activities of Senna alata, https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2020/2580259/, Accessed Sept 1, 2020

A Review on Cassia alata: Pharmacological, Traditional and Medicinal Aspects, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/330852873_A_Review_on_Cassia_alata_Pharmacological_Traditional_and_Medicinal_Aspects, Accessed Sept 1, 2020

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Written by Desiree Gabasa on May 16, 2020
Medically reviewed by Stephanie Nicole G. Nera, RPh, PharmD
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