Monday, December 28, 2009


Akapulco is shrubby legume plant having leaves of compound dark green that grows vertically straight. The plant presented yellow flowers with 4-winged pods comprising of 50-60 flattened triangular kernels and enclosed with bracts which soon casted off. The plant scientific name is Cassia Alata.

The shrub grows wildly in various regions of the Philippines which basically utilized as an herbal medicine. Chrysophanic acid is seen in its leaf compound, a fungicide which applied for medication of ringworms, fungal infections, scabies and eczema. In fact because of its anti-fungal traits, it is applied as one of the elements in the creation of soaps, shampoos and lotions which was developed by the technology of Philippine Council for Health Research and Development. It leaves are also identified to be sudorific, diuretic and purgative, applied in medication of intestinal disorder which includes intestinal parasites. As an herbal medicine, akapulco is also utilized in the remedy of bronchitis and asthma.

Every portion of the plant contains anthraquinone glycosides that activates tightening of large intestines. Dried leaf and fresh flowers both possess laxative doses, which can be boil or infuse and taken as a pills or drink in association of honey which is said to be a cure for some intestinal discomforts. Its dosage must be properly directed because if taken over a long period, intestine accustoms to the drugs and intestine won’t perform on its usual activities in the absence of it which could results in enduring constipation.

A research conducted by J.W. Fairbairn and A.B. Shrestha of The School of Pharmacy, Brunswick Square, London, determining the distribution of anthraquinone in cassia alata.

The allocation of rhein-type and aloe-emodin kind of anthraquinone glycosides in developing Cassia senna L. plants has been studied. The seeds comprises no anthraquinones but shortly following germination chrysophanol, then aloe-emodin and finally rhein are developed in the young plant. In the existence of sufficient light, glycosylation follows and considerable amounts of glycosides show in the young leaves. These are perhaps translocated to the flowers and ovaries since large concentrations of glycosides accumulate there. During growth of the fruit, the quantity of aloe-emodin glycoside in the pericarp falls when the seeds turn separable from the pericarp and the quantity of rhein glycoside falls noticeably as the seeds grown-up and turn feasible. It is recommended that in this plant anthraquinone generation is closely correlated with fruit and seed formation.
Source: Science Direct

Among the health benefits of akapulco is its advantage stimulation on some stomach discomforts like. Among these curative effects are as laxative to drive out intestinal parasites, diuretic, purgative and concentrated decoction is said to cause abortion.

Application of akapulco in the treatment of the discomforts mentioned is by pounding or cut the plant seeds, leaves and flowers into convenient sizes and soak in boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes and the soaked water is the herbal tea which is then taken three times a day on a cup dosage. This herbal tea will only last for a day and if another tea is required in the next day, a new preparation must be consider.

Lung and mouth discomfort like bronchitis, dyspnoea, stomatitis, and asthma symptoms. This treatment also engages in the consumption of this plant by means of its tea. A consumption of one cup of its herbal tea three times a day is a good expectorant for the alleviation of asthma invasion. In treating mouth infections like stomatitis, gargling of the herbal tea three times day until improvement is seen is much ideal.

This plant is initially utilized as an herbal medicine of various skin infections like ringworms, eczema, scabies, itchiness, insect bites and tinea infections which is widely practice in the Philippine traditions. Its application involves pounding its leaves and compress to produce its extract or making it as an ointment and is applied topically in the affected area until such infections is cured.

The ointment produce of the plant is generally applied consisting of from 10 to 120 grains of the acid to 1 ounce of hot lard with which the acid must be carefully integrated. The areas influenced having been properly sanitized, to eliminate fatty elements, and any existing scales must be softened and carefully removed, this ointment is to be rubbed properly upon the affected areas 2 or 3 times a day. The potency of the ointment, and the quantity of applications per day, will significantly vary upon the number of irritation, as it frequently gives rise to more or less irritation, or even inflammation of the skin. When applying ointment is the face or head, proper direction must be observe to protect the eyes from its nuisance action.

Various studies which conducted to extract additional benefits of akapulco presented the following traits which is could be very beneficial as well. These additional benefits includes;

• Analgesic
• Phytochemistry / Antimicrobial Activity
• Antiseptic Soap
• Anti-inflammatory
• Anti-bacterial
• Hematologic / Toxicity Effects


Analgesic activity
85% ethanol extract of Senna alata of and kaemferol 3-O-sophoroside (K3S) purified from leaf extract showed analgesic effect with dose-response manner comparing to morphine after i.p. injection (Palanichang and Nagarajan, 1990). In addition, hexane extract from leaves of Senna alata also showed analgesic effect in mice shown as writhing effect after pain induction with acetic acid intraperitoneally (Viiasenor et al., 2002).
Anti-inflammatiory: Extract of leaves of Senna alata was found to have anti-inflammatory actions by inhibiting histamine secretion via stimulating peritoneal exudates cells of rats with concanavalin A and inhibiting 5-lipoxygenase, cyclooxygenases (COX-1 & COX-2). However, the major flavonoid glycoside; kaempferol-3-O-gentiobiodiside is not the active constituent causing inflammation as the activity is mild (Moriyama et al., 2003).

Antibacterial activity
Water extract of leaves of Senna alata was found to be more potent than ethanolic extract against Staphylococcus aureus. However, both extracts showed no bactericidal on E. coli (Palanichang and Nagarajan, 1990; Ibrahim and Osman, 1995; Somchit et al., 2003). Crude methanolic extract showed slightly and mild inhibitory effects on both gram positive and gram negative bacteria. But, broader spectrum of bactericidal activity and higher efficacy was observed when adding into the fractionate with petrol, dichloromethane or ethyl acetate (Khan et al., 2001).

Antifungal activity
Ethanolic extract of leaves of Senna alata showed potent antifungal activity to dermatophytes but has no activity on Candida albican, Aspergillus fumigatus or non-dermatophyte. The fungicidal effect was found to be due to cell leakage (Palanichang and Nagarajan, 1990).

Treatment of skin disease
Topical application of ointment prepared from ethanol extract of leaves of Senna alata, Lantana camara and Mitracarpus scaber once a day for 8-15 days on cows’ skin with dermatophilosis showed good efficacy within 3-4 days, no scar and no recurrence (Ali-Emmanuel et al., 2003).

Anti-teeth decay
Streptococcus mutans are prominent bacteria causing teeth decay as it can convert sucrose adhered on teeth enamel to acid leading to teeth decay. In vitrostudy showed that ethanolic extract of Senna alata at 0.5% can stop adhering of S. mutans on glass surface significantly. Furthermore, inhibit adhering of S. mutan ATCC 25175 and TPF-1 onto hydroxyapatite coated with saliva with IC50 0.5% and 0.4% respectively was also reported as well as reduction of activities of glucosyltransferase and glucan-binding lectin by both bacterial strains. By these studies, Senna alata is a promising herb for tooth paste formulation with anti-teeth decay property (Limsong et al,.2004).

Effects on intestine
Contraction of smooth muscle of guinea pig ileum was observed after adding water extract of leaves of Senna alata in isolated organ. In addition, intestinal movement was observed in mice after oral administration of the extract (Anonymous, 1988).

Laxative effect
After oral administration of water extract of leaves of Senna alata at dosages 5, 10 and 20 g/kgBW in mice, watery stool of every mouse was observed (Anonymous, 1988).

Antiplatelet aggregation
Adenine extracted from leaves of Senna alata showed anti-platelet aggression activity after platelet aggregation was induced with collagen. However, low effect was observed if induced with adenosine 5’-diphosphate (ADP)( Moriyama et al., 2003).

Source: International Center for Science and High Technology


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