Akapulko Case Essay

Plant Description:

Akapulko is a coarse, erect, branched shrub, 1.5 to 3 meters high. Leaves are pinnate and 40 to 60 centimeters long, with orange rachis on stout branches. Each leaf has 16 to 28 leaflets, 5 to 15 centimeters in length, broad and rounded at the apex, with a small point at the tip. Leaflets gradually increase in size from the base towards the tip of the leaf. Inflorescences are terminal and at the axils of the leaves, in simple or panicled racemes, and 10 to 50 centimeters long. Flowers are yellow, about 4 centimeters inn diameter, at the axils of thin, yellow, oblong, concave bracts which are 2.

5 to 3 centimeters long. Pod is rather straight, dark brown or nearly black, about 15 centimeters long and 15 millimeters wide. On both sides of the pods there is a wing that runs the length of the pod. Pod contains 50 to 60 flattened, triangular seeds.

Plant Distribution:

* Abundant throughout the Philippines in settled areas at low and medium altitudes. * Occasionally planted as ornamental or for its medicinal properties.

* Introduced from tropical America; now pantropic.

Plant Parts used:

Leaves, flowers and seeds


* Chrysophanic acid (chrysophanol); oxymethyl anthraquinone, 2.2%; aloe-emodin; rhein; cassiaxanthone; tannins; saponins; alkaloids. * Study of chemical constituents yielded 12 compounds: chrysoeriol, kaempferol, quercetin, 5,7,4′-trihydroflavanone, kaempferol-3-O-beta-D-glucopyranosyl-(1–>6)-beta-D-glucopyranoside, 17-hydrotetratriacontane, n-dotriacontanol, n-triacontanol, palmitic acid ceryl ester, stearic acid, palmitic acid. * Phytochemical studies of crude extract of stem bark yielded important secondary metabolites – tannins, steroids, alkaloids, anthraquinones, terpenes, carbohydrates and saponins.


* Saponin acts as a laxative and expels intestinal parasites. * Its fungicide property derives from chrysophanic acid. * Plant considered alterative, abortifacient, aperient, purgative, sudorific, hydragogue, diuretic, vermifuge.

Uses and Treatment:

* External Use:
* Treatment of skin diseases such as Tinea infections, insect bites, ringworms, eczema, scabies and itchiness.
* Mouthwash in stomatitis
* Internal Use:
* Expectorant for bronchitis and dyspnea
* Alleviation of asthma symptoms
* Used as diuretic and purgative
* For cough & fever
* As a laxative to expel intestinal parasites and other stomach problems. Note: A strong decoction of Akapulko leaves is an abortifacient. Pregnant women should not take decoction of the leaves or any part of this plant.


* For external use, pound the leaves of the Akapulko plant, squeeze the juice and apply on affected areas. * As the expectorant for bronchitis and dyspnoea, drink decoction (soak and boil for 10 to 15 minutes) of Akapulko leaves. The same preparation may be used as a mouthwash, stringent, and wash for eczema. * As laxative, cut the plant parts (roots, flowers, and the leaves) into a manageable size then prepare a decoction. Note: The decoction loses its potency if not used for a long time. Dispose leftovers after one day. * The pounded leaves of Akapulko has purgative functions, specifically against ringworms.

It should be noted that the pounded leaves of this plant may be applied thinly on the affected part twice a day. Marked improvement may be expected after two to three weeks of continuous application to the affected area(s) where the prepared Akapulko leaves were applied.


Akapulko. Philippine Herbal Medicine. Retrieved December 23, 2012, from http://www.philippineherbalmedicine.org/akapulko.htm

Akapulko. Philippine Medicinal Plants. Retrieved December 23, 2012, from http://www.stuartxchange.org/Akapulko.htm

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