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Akapulko Plant: How Does It Benefit Your Health?

Medically reviewed by Stephanie Nera, RPh, PharmD · Pharmacology

Written by Kristel Lagorza · Updated May 30, 2023

Akapulko Plant: How Does It Benefit Your Health?

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 is found all throughout the Philippines under different names, depending on the 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.


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’s seeds, flowers and leaves can be put to medicinal use. Since it is broadly cultivated, akapulko may be sourced even from 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. 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.


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 arenot enough studies to confirm or validate the safety of using the akapulko plant during pregnancy or breastfeeding. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, 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 should avoid taking this herbal medicine.


Akapulko herbal medicine uses and preparations require monitoring in certain 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.


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, or until the problem subsides.

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.

akapulko plant

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.

Learn more about Herbal Medicines here.


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

Medically reviewed by

Stephanie Nera, RPh, PharmD


Written by Kristel Lagorza · Updated May 30, 2023

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