Botanical Name :
Family Name :
Common Name :
Akapulko, Asunting, Candelabra Bush, Candle Bush, Empress Candle Plant, Ringworm Tree, Ringworm Bush, Candletree
Part Used :
Leaves, seeds, bark, and flowers.
Introduced from tropical America; it is now pantropic – (distributed throughout the tropics)
Akapulko is often called the Ringworm Bush because of its very effective fungicidal properties, for treating ringworm and other fungal infections of the skin. The leaves are ground in a mortar to obtain a kind of “green cotton wool”. This is mixed with the same amount of vegetable oil then rubbed on the affected area 2-3 times a day. A fresh preparation is made every day. Its active ingredients include the yellow chrysophanic acid. It is considered: alterative, abortifacient, aperient, purgative, sudorific, hydragogue, diuretic, vermifuge.
Studies have shown many other benefits of Akapulko:
- Analgesic: Study of leaf extract of Akapulko in mice showed analgesic activity
- Antifungal: leaves and bark were tested for antifungal activity in vitro against three fungi. The study showed x to be effective as a natural antifungal remedy.
- Antiseptic Soap: A study on Alkapulko soap exhibited high antimicrobial potency against Staph, the organism most widely encountered and undesirable of the normal skin flora.
- Anti-inflammatory: Study of methanolic extracts of flowers, leaves, stem and root barks of Akapulko showed a broad spectrum of antibacterial activity, with the flower extract the most effective..
- Purgative Effect: Study showed significant purgative efficacy compared to placebo.
- Antimicrobial: Study of crude ethanol and water extract of leaves and barks from Akapulko showed concentration-dependent activity against C albicans. The water extract showed antibacterial activity against S aureus.
- Constipation Treatment: Leaves have been effective as a laxative, presumed to be due to anthraquinones. In a study testing the efficacy of Akapulko leaves for treatment of constipation compared to placebo, the differences were statistically highly significant. Minimal side effects – nausea, dyspepsia, abdominal pain and diarrhea – were noted in 16-25 percent of patients.
- Weight-Lowering Effect: Study showed Akapulko effectively reduced the body weight fat in mice due to tannin content.
- A 10-year human study indicates the leaf extract of Akapulko can be reliably used as a herbal medicine to treat Pityriasis versicolor (a condition characterized by a rash on the trunk). The leaf extract has no side-effects.
- In-vitro Antifungal Activity: Study of crude stem bark extract showed the extract was fungicidal.
- Its laxative effect, due to its anthraquinone content, is also well proven.
- Chrysophanic acid (chrysophanol); oxymethyl anthraquinone, 2.2%; aloe-emodin; rhein; cassiaxanthone; tannins; saponins; alkaloids.
- Study of chemical constituents yielded 12 compounds: chrysoeriol, kaempferol, quercetin, 5,7,4′-trihydroflavanone, kaempferol-3-O-beta-D-glucopyranosyl-(1–>6)-beta-D-glucopyranoside, 17-hydrotetratriacontane, n-dotriacontanol, n-triacontanol, palmitic acid ceryl ester, stearic acid, palmitic acid.
- Phytochemical studies of crude extract of stem bark yielded important secondary metabolites – tannins, steroids, alkaloids, anthraquinones, terpenes, carbohydrates and saponins.
- Decoction of leaves and flowers for cough and as expectorant in bronchitis and asthma. Also used as astringent.
- Crushed leaves and juice extract used for ringworm, scabies, eczema, tinea infections, itches, insect bites, herpes. Preparation: Pound enough fresh leaves; express (squeeze out) the juice add lime-juice and apply on the affected skin morning and evening. Improvement should be noticed after 2 – 3 weeks of treatment.
- For wound treatment, leaves are boiled and simmered to one-third volume, then applied to affected areas twice daily.
- In Africa, the boiled leaves are used for hypertension.
- In Nigeria locally used for treatment of ringworm and parasitic skin diseases.
- In South America, used for skin diseases, stomach problems, fever, asthma, snake bites and venereal disease.
- In Thailand, leaves are boiled and drunk to hasten delivery.
- In the Antilles, Reunion, and Indo-China, plant is used as hydrogogue, sudorific, and diuretic.
- In India, plant used as cure for poisonous bites and for venereal eruptions.
- As laxative, boil 10-15 dried leaves in water, taken in the morning and bedtime.
- Leaves taken internally to relieve constipation.
- Strong decoction of leaves and flowers used as wash for eczema.