|Candle Bush flowers|
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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.
The shrub stands 3–4 m tall, with leaves 50–80 cm long.
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.
This species is easy to grow from the seed. They may either be sown directly or started in a nursery.
Senna 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.
In Sri Lanka, known as Ath-thora (ඇත්තෝර ), it is used as an ingredient in Sinhala traditional medicine.
S. alata in Malaysia
Inflorescences and foliage
Peetambar (S. alata) flower found in Kasta (Mitauli) of Kheri District
S. alata in South Vietnam
- "Senna allata". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
- Weeds of Australia, Queensland Government, retrieved 23 December 2015
- HIRT, Dr Hans Martin, & Bindanda M'Pia (2008) Natural Medicine in the Tropics I: Foundation text. anamed, Winnenden, Germany
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