Botanical name: Senna alata Family: Caesalpiniaceae (Gulmohar family)
Synonyms: Cassia alata, Cassia bracteata, Cassia herpetica
Candle Bush is a shrub that stands 3-4 m tall, with compound leaves 50-80 cm long. Leaflets are 6-12 pairs, 4-13 x 2-6 cm, oblong to obovate-oblong, base rounded to somewhat heart-shaped, tip rounded. 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. Candle Bush is native to SW Mexico to Tropical America, cultivated and naturalized in India.
Medicinal uses: Candle Bush 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.
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