Health Benefits of Ringworm Bush (Akapulko)

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 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:
  • tinea infection,
  • ringworms,
  • eczema,
  • scabies
  • insect bites
  • and all sorts of skin itchiness.
Stomach problems. Akapulko has long been used to treat stomach related problems that include:
  • Laxative to expel intestinal parasites,
  • diuretic purgative.
Anti-inflammatory activity. Akapulko is known to alleviate symptoms related to inflammation and is used in the treatment of the following:
  • arthritis,
  • gout,
  • rheumatitis
  • bursitis
  • and other joint and muscle problems.
Lung problems. Akapulko tea is also a folkloric remedy to prevent symtoms of lung problems such as:
  • asthma attacks
  • bronchitis.
  • coughs
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.

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.

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 therefore 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 avoid its use.

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





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Source: Medical Health Guide

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