Akapulko (Cassia alata) Herbal Medicine

Akapulko Health Benefits, Dosage, Side effects and Warnings.


Scientific Name: Cassia alata

Other names:

bayabas-bayabasan,kapurko, katanda, katandang aso, pakagonkon, sonting (Tag.); andadasi, andadasi-a-dakdakel, andadasi-bugbugtong (Ilk.); adadisi (Ting.); ancharasi (Ig.); andalan (Sul.); bayabasin, bikas-bikas (Bik., Tag., Bis.,); kasitas (Bik., Bis.); sunting, palo china (Bis.); pakayomkom kastila (Pamp.); ringworm bush or shrub (Engl.), Acapulco (Engl)

The Akapulko leaves contain chrysophanic acid, a fungicide that is used to treat fungal infections, like ringworms, scabies and eczema.. Akapulko leaves are also known to be sudorific, diuretic and purgative, usedto treat intestinal problems including intestinal parasites. Akapulko is also used as herbal medicine to treat bronchitis and asthma. Because of Akapulko’s anti-fungal properties, it is a common ingredient in soaps, shampoos, and lotions in the Philippines. The Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) has helped develop the technology for a Akapulko herbal medicine lotion.Akapulko leaves

Akapulko is an erect, shrubby legume with dark green compound leaves. Akapulko leaves have orange rachis that has 16-28 leaflets. Akapulko produces an axis of golden yellow flowers that has 4-winged pods containing 50-60 flattened, triangular seeds. Akapulko flowers are enclosed by yellow-orange bracts that are later shed in time.

Akapulko Traditional Medicinal Uses and Health benefits

Akapulko has a long history of medical usage and has a long list of folkloric health benefits for the following conditions.

Skin problems and diseases. Akapulko is commonly used as an antibacterial and anti-fungal treatment for various skin diseases that include

Stomach problems. Akapulko has long been used to treat stomach related problems that include:

Anti-inflamatory activity. Akapulko is known to alleviate symptoms related to inflammation and is used in the treatment of the following

Lung problems. Akapulko tea is also a folkloric remedy to prevent symtoms of lung problems such as

Mouth problems. Akapulko is used as mouth wash for various mouth problems that include ulcers, sores, and toothache.

Recent studies also suggests that it is a strong antioxidant that may have anti-peroxidation activities that is beneficial in preventing the development of cancer.

Science Research: Cassia alata Health Benefits

Anti-Oxidant Protective Effects of Cassia Alata in Rats Exposed to Carbon Tetrachloride
A study done in Department of Biochemistry, University of Port Harcourt, investigated the protective activity of Cassia alata against carbon tetrachloride– induced hepatotoxicity in rats. Crude extracts of petals of the plant in 0.5% ethanol were administered by intubation for 14 days prior to injection of 0.5ml Kg-1 CCl4 into the rats. Serum aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase levels, 18 hours after CCl4 administration, decreased significantly (P < 0.05) in rats treated with the extracts than in CCl4 – treated rats only. These findings suggest that Cassia alata may be protective against hepatotoxin-induced liver damage in rats.

Analgesic activity of Cassia alata leaf extract and kaempferol 3-O-sophoroside
The analgesic activity of an extract of the leaves of Cassia alata and kaempferol 3-O-sophoroside were studied after intraperitoneal injection in mice and rats using the tail clip, tail flick, tail immersion and acetic acidinduced writhing methods and the results compared with morphine. Maximum analgesic activity of the extract was apparent 120 min after injection. Fifty milligrams of kaempferol 3-O-sophoroside appeared equivalent to 100 mg of the extract. Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2345462\

Antimicrobial activity of Cassia alata.
The methanol extracts of leaves, flowers, stem and root barks of Cassia alata showed a broad spectrum of antibacterial activity. The activity was increased on fractionation (petrol, dichloromethane, ethyl acetate), the dichloromethane fraction of the flower extract being the most effective. No activity was shown against tested moulds. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11429256

Anti-inflammatory activities of Cassia alata leaf extract in complete Freund's adjuvant arthritis in rats.
A study investigated the anti-inflammatory effects of a hexane extract of Cassia alata leaves in complete Freund's adjuvant (CFA) arthritis in rats. Results have shown that Cassia alata extract significantly reduced knee circumference (swelling) in the CFA arthritic rats. Protective effects against cartilage degradation on the femoral head of the knee joint were observed in Cassia alata treated animals, as normal cartilage structure and chondrocyte arrangement were maintained. The results suggest that Cassia alata exhibits anti-inflammatory activities that should be further examined and potentially exploited for anti-arthritic therapies.

Phytochemical constituents from Cassia alata with inhibition against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
A study investigated the effects of methanolic extract of the leaves of CASSIA ALATA against MRSA using the agar well diffusion assay. The butanol and chloroform extracts both exhibited inhibition against MRSA with inhibition indexes of 1.03 +/- 0.16 and 0.78 +/- 0.07 at the concentration of 50 mg/mL.

Antidiabetic components of Cassia alata leaves: identification through α-glucosidase inhibition studies.
A studyof the methanol extract of leaves of C. alata, which showed potent α-glucosidase inhibitory activity (IC₅₀, 63.75 ± 12.81 µg/ml), was fractionated. Active fractions were taken for further analysis by a variety of techniques including HPLC and Combiflash chromatography. One of the possible antidiabetic mechanisms of action of C. alata is by inhibiting carbohydrate digestion. The study suggest further in vivo and clinical studies on C. alata extracts and compounds are well merited.

How to Get and How to Use Akapulko

Where can I get or buy Akapulko?

Akapulko plant is widely cultivated and can be sourced through local horticulturist. Akapulko leaves, flowers and seeds can be harvested from fields.

Akapulko is also commercially prepared in powder, tincture and capsules taken as supplements. They are available in most fitness and health stores. Online Amazon listed: Herbal One Cassia Alata Herbal Tea 1 Box By Thaidd.

Akapulko leaves. Pound and squeeze the juice and apply topically on affected area twice a day until cured. There are commercially available Akapulko herbal medicine lotions in the Philippine market for skin diseases treatment. If symptoms persist or irritation occurs, stop the use and consult your doctor.

Akapulko herbal tea. As expectorant and for the alleviation of asthma attacks, drink a cup of Akapulko herbal medicine tea (see above for the preparation) three times a day until symptoms improved. For the treatment of mouth infections such as stomatitis, gargle the Akapulko herbal tea three times a day until symptoms improve. If symptoms persist and irritation occurs, stop the use and consult your doctor.

Akapulko herbal tea or decoction.

Pound or cut a cup of Akapulko seeds, Akapulko leaves and flowers into manageable sizes then let it seep in boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes to creat an Akapulko herbal tea. Let it cool and drink a cup three times a day. The potency of Akapulko herbal tea is good to last for one day. Make new Akapulko herbal tea as needed.

Dosage, Warnings and Side Effects of Akapulko

Akapulko leaves are safe for most adults, however the seeds should not be taken for long term.

Allergy. Akapulko have been reported to cause allergic reaction to sensitive people.

Counter indications:

Akapulko contains Vitamin K that may act as an anticoagulant. it is thereofre advised to avoid using Akapulko when taking coagulant drugs.

Akapulko contains canavanine, an amino acid that is known to aggravate symptoms of auto-immune diseases such as lupus. Excess intake of Akapulko can also cause breakdown of red blood cells which maybe serious.

Akapulko possesses Immunosuppressive action. Therefore, avoid taking corticosteroids (eg, prednisone) or cyclosporine with Akapulko.

When taking medications for diabetes, hypertension, heart problems, etc., Akapulko may couter-act or aggravate its effectiveness. It is advised to consult your doctor before using this herb.

Pregnancy and Breast feeding. There is no sufficient studies done to investigate the adverse or side effects of Akapulko consumption during pregnancy and breast feeding. It is recommended to aovoid its use.

Just like any herbal medicine, moderation in use is recommended.

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