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Ringworm Bush (Akapulko) – Cassia alata

Akapulco - Ringworm BushAn erect, shrubby legume reaching 6 ft tall, Akapulko grows throughout the Philippines. It has dark green leaves and yellow-orange flowers, producing as much as 50 to 60 small, triangular seeds. For medicinal purposes, leaves, flowers and seeds are used.

The akapulko leaves contain chrysophanic acid, a fungicide that is used to treat fungal infections, like ringworms, scabies and eczema

Medicinal Uses:

  • Decoction of leaves and flowers is very effective in easing asthma, cough and bronchitis.
  • The seeds are effective in expelling intestinal parasites.
  • Juice from leaves aids in controlling fungal infections like; eczema, athlete’s foot, ringworm, scabies, and herpes.
  • Pounded leaves reduce injury-related swellings, treat insect bites, and ease rheumatism.
  • Leaves and flowers concoction used as mouthwash in treating stomatitis.
  • Juice from leaves ease fetid discharges.
  • The leaves stain is an effective purgative.

About Ringworm Bush (Akapulko)

Senna alata, colloquially known as the Christmas candle, is a unique plant boasting inflorescences of yellow racemes that evoke images of thick, waxen candlesticks nestled amidst its evergreen foliage. This robust perennial thrives in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 and 11, and can be cultivated as an annual in zones 8 and 9.

This leguminous species originates from the diverse tropical climates of Africa, Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands, and the Americas. In these native environments, it can attain heights of up to 30 feet. However, in a domestic garden setting, Senna alata typically reaches between 5 to 8 feet, with a spread of approximately half that width.

Senna alata demonstrates vigorous growth habits, especially in areas characterized by a high water table, often forming dense thickets through natural propagation. Consequently, it is well-suited to demarcating borders, or it can be showcased as a solitary specimen in outdoor containers or tubs.

Propagation of Senna alata can be achieved via seed germination. The plant’s elongated pods, reaching up to six inches in length, can be laden with as many as 60 seeds each. Seed collection should ideally occur in the fall, with seeds subsequently stored in a dry environment over winter. In spring, the dehisced pods will release the seeds, which can then be cultivated indoors from February through March.

For optimal germination, immerse seeds in warm water overnight prior to sowing them three quarters of an inch deep in a well-draining, humus-rich soil mix with a pH range of 5.5 to 6.5. The seedlings require a sunny location, and they should be fed with a balanced fertilizer after transplantation, followed by monthly feedings throughout the growing season.

Although Senna alata exhibits drought resistance, it will flourish with consistent irrigation and a protective layer of mulch during the most arid summer months. To stimulate branching and increase future raceme production, pinch new growth as young plants develop. Additionally, a springtime pruning of mature plants can bolster floral displays.

It is important to note that Senna alata possesses certain risks and challenges. All parts of the plant are toxic if ingested, so they should be kept out of reach from children and pets. Additionally, due to its invasive potential, cultivation of Senna alata may be regulated or prohibited in certain regions. Therefore, always verify local guidelines before introducing it to your garden, and vigilantly monitor its spread to preclude encroachment into natural ecosystems.

The wise man says:

January 12, 2024

The best diet is “just eat to maintain” and only indulge once a week.

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