Suppression

Ringworm bush

Category: Medicines - plant based

Type

Voluntary

Introduction and description

 

Senna alata is an important medicinal tree, as well as an ornamental flowering plant in the subfamily Caesalpinioideae.

It also known as emperor's candlesticks, candle bush, candelabra bush, Christmas candles, empress candle plant, ringworm shrub, or candletree. A remarkable species of Senna, it was sometimes separated in its own genus, Herpetica.  Other botanical name include:

  • Cassia alata L.
  • Cassia alata L. var. perennis Pamp.
  • Cassia alata L. var. rumphiana DC.
  • Cassia bracteata L.f.
  • Cassia herpetica Jacq.
  • Cassia rumphiana (DC.) Bojer
  • Herpetica alata (L.) Raf.

Distribution

S. alata is native to Mexico, but has spread to other locations and can now be found in diverse habitats. In the tropics, it grows up to an altitude of 1,200 m. It is an invasive species in Austronesia.

Description

The shrub stands 3–4 m tall, with leaves 50–80 cm long.  The leaves close in the dark.

The inflorescence looks like a yellow candle.

The fruit, shaped like a straight pod, is up to 25 cm long. Its seeds are distributed by water or animals.

The seed pods are nearly straight, dark brown or nearly black, about 15 cm long, and 15 mm wide. On both sides of the pods is a wing that runs the length of the pod. Pods contain 50 to 60 flattened, triangular seeds.

Cultivation

This species is easy to grow from the seed. They may either be sown directly or started in a nursery.

Medicinal uses

 

Senna alata 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 and rubbed on the affected area two or three times a day. A fresh preparation is made every day. Its active ingredients include the yellow chrysophanic acid.

Its laxative effect, due to its anthraquinone content, is also well proven.

In Sri Lanka, known as Ath-thora (ඇත්තෝර ), it is used as an ingredient in Sinhala traditional medicine.

Dr Duke’s analysis of the chemicals in the plant is shown below:

Senna alata (Fabaceae)

# Activity

Chemical

Plant Part

Low PPM

High PPM

StdDev

*Ref

0

1,3,8-TRIHYDROXY-2-METHYL-ANTHRAQUINONE

Root

--

--

 

*

0

1,5-DIHYDROXY-8-METHOXY-2-METHYL-ANTHRAQUINONE...GLUCOPYRANOSIDE

Plant

--

--

 

*

24

ALOE-EMODIN

Plant

--

--

 

*

47

BETA-SITOSTEROL

Root

--

--

 

*

10

CHRYSAROBIN

Leaf

--

--

 

*

10

CHRYSOPHANOL

Plant

--

--

 

*

0

CHRYSOPHANOL-GLYCOSIDE

Leaf

--

--

 

*

0

DIHYDROXYMETHYLANTHRAQUINONE

Leaf

--

--

 

*

58

EMODIN

Plant

--

--

 

*

0

FAT

Seed

29000.0

35000.0

-1.21

*

0

PROTEIN

Seed

161000.0

181000.0

-0.47

*

18

RHEIN

Plant

--

--

 

*

0

RHEIN-GLYCOSIDE

Leaf

--

--

 

*

35

TANNIN

Leaf

--

--

 

*

*Unless otherwise noted all references are to Duke, James A. 1992. Handbook of phytochemical constituents of GRAS herbs and other economic plants. Boca Raton, FL. CRC Press.

 

Dr Duke has also identified that the plant has strong anti-bacterial activity from the following chemicals:
ALOE-EMODIN MIC=2-64 ug/ml
BETA-SITOSTEROL
CHRYSOPHANOL
EMODIN
RHEIN
TANNIN

As well as Antiseptic activity from:

ALOE-EMODIN MIC=2-64 ug/ml
CHRYSOPHANOL
EMODIN
RHEIN

The following chemicals contribute the fungicide activity

ALOE-EMODIN
CHRYSAROBIN
RHEIN

It is worth mentioning that one of the fungi capable of being attacked is Candida, the chemicals above plus CHRYSOPHANOL are Candidicides.

ALOE-EMODIN is an exceptionally important constituent of this plant contributing a host of other useful activity Antiherpetic; Antileukemic; Antisalmonella; Antistaphylococcic; Antiviral; Candidicide ; Fungicide; Laxative; Purgative; Tuberculostatic

Related observations