Senna alata (L.) Roxb. (= Cassia alata L.)

DeFilipps, Robert A. & Krupnick, Gary A., 2018, The medicinal plants of Myanmar, PhytoKeys 102, pp. 1-341: 88-89

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Senna alata (L.) Roxb. (= Cassia alata L.)


Senna alata (L.) Roxb. (= Cassia alata L.) 


Myanmar: beeda khutdai, sok (Mon), hpak-lam-mon-long (Shan), mezali-gyi, pwesay-mezali, thinbaw-mezali. English: candle bush, empress candle plant, ringworm cassia, ringworm shrub.


Tropical America; now pantropical. Widely distributed in Myanmar.


Leaf: Powder can be mixed with honey and licked to promote weight gain and increase strength and vitality. Skin disorders such as scabies, ringworm and eczema can be cured by rubbing them with the leaves twice a day over a period of time. Crushed and applied as a poultice over the bite to poisonous or venomous animals to neutralize the poison. Crushed and squeezed juice of leaves applied to visible symptoms of venereal disease. Boiled down to make a strong potion which when kept in the mouth while warm cures gum boils and inflammation of the gums. Mixed with mu-yar-gyi ( Adhatoda vasica  = Justicia adhatoda  ) leaves, chewed and kept in the mouth or the juice swallowed to cure dry coughs. Crushed with lime juice and applied to cure eczema. Pounded, mixed with the juice of neem ( Azadirachta indica  ) leaves, and applied to cure ringworm and leprosy. Drinking the liquid obtained from boiling the buds and the leaves will cure inflammation of the breathing passages and asthma, cause loose bowels, encourage urination and discharge of mucus in the stool). Flower: Crushed fine and applied as a rub to cure skin diseases. Seed: Astringent, can cure itching, coughs, asthma, ringworm, skin disorders, kills disease causing germs, promote good urination and cure leprosy. Root: Made into a paste, mixed with boric acid powder and hpan-kar ( Terminalia chebula  ) fruit powder and applied to cure ringworm.


Medicinal uses of this species in India are discussed in Jain and DeFilipps (1991) as follows: The whole plant is an anti-inflammatory (excluding the root); the twig is used on eczema sores; the leaf is used for ringworm (leaf-juice with lime juice), also as an insecticide, abortifacient, anthelmintic, taenifuge, snakebite, and diuretic (decoction); decoctions with flowers and leaves are used for bronchitis, asthma, and (in a wash) for eczema; the seed is used as a vermifuge; the root is used as a purgative and for rheumatism; an unspecified part is used for snakebite, ascariasis, ringworm, and leprosy. Medicinal uses of this species in China are discussed in Duke and Ayensu (1985). Here the stem wood is used for hepatitis, loss of appetite, urticaria, and rhinitis; the leaf is used much as it is in India, also poulticed onto boils and ulcers; the flower is purgative; and the seed is taken internally for skin ailments. The plant is considered anti-cancer. Perry (1980) gives its medicinal uses from India east to Indo-China, south through southeastern Asia to Guam and Palau.

The medicinal uses of this plant in the Caribbean region, as well as its chemistry, biological activity, toxicity and dosages, are discussed by Germosén-Robineau (1997). The chemical constituents, pharmacological activities, and traditional medicinal uses of this plant on a worldwide basis are discussed in detail by Ross (1999).

The plant contains chrysarobin, and chrysarophanic acid; rhein in the leaf; and oxymethyl anthraquinone in the fruit; sometimes with HCN ( Duke and Ayensu 1985).


Nordal (1963), Agricultural Corporation (1980), Forest Department (1999).