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.
Senna alata (also known as Cassia 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.
Senna alata is locally known as Akapulko in the Philippines where it is used as both an ornamental and medicinal plant due to its laxative, purgative and anti-fungal properties.
In Sri Lanka, known as Ath-thora, it is used as an ingredient in Sinhala traditional medicine.