Akapulko, whose scientific name is Cassia alata L, is one shrub plant that is common in the Philippines.
To those who have not known the medicinal benefits of akapulko, they used it as an ornamental plant because of its beautiful flowers and its good looking leathery leaves.
It can be kept as a full sun or light shade ornamental. It is a fast growing plant and a drought tolerant plant. The oblong leaves bilaterally and symmetrically opposed, is wide open during the day but it folds up together at night time.
Akapulko is used by folks in the rural areas as treatment for various fungal infections by crushing the leaves and applied it to the infected area. Fungal infections like tinea versicolor, commonly known as ‘an-an’, ringworm, scabies, athlete’s foot and eczema.
The medicinal shrub contains chrysophanic acid, a fungicide used to treat fungal infections, and it also contains saponin, a laxative that is useful in expelling intestinal parasites.
Decocting leaves are used as expectorant in bronchitis and dyspnea, as astringent, mouthwash and a wash for eczema.
Its root, flower and leaf decoction are used as laxative and weight loss. Its extract from the akapulko plant is now used by dermatological companies as chief ingredient for their lotions, soaps and shampoos.