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Kaskado Leaf, Benefits of Traditional Papuan Plants

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Caskado leaf can be used to treat skin diseases (image: greeners)

There are about 20,000 species of plants originating from Papua and have benefits as traditional medicinal plants, one of which is the Chinese ketepeng plant (Cassia alata L. sin.) Or in the local naming of Papua called ‘cascade leaves’. This plant is widespread in the lowlands of Papua.

By the people of Papua this plant is used to treat skin diseases, especially those caused by Sarcoptes scabiei lice or skin diseases due to the fungus Tinea imbricate. Caskado leaf contains pharmacological activity, which is good for curing skin diseases and other diseases such as ringworm, scabies, tinea versicolor, eczema, malaria, constipation, inflammation of the skin that sores, syphilis, herpes, influenza and bronchitis.

Based on the book “Papuan Traditional Medicinal Plants” (2016), the way to use these plants as medicinal plants is by utilizing the leaves. Take as much as two Chinese stems ketepeng leaves finely ground to release the liquid. Add a little betel lime then rubbed on the area of skin diseases caused by fungi.

This plant grows wild in tropical rainforest ecosystems and moist habitats, on the edges of swamps and on the edges of the road, sometimes planted on the edge of the garden. The morphology of Chinese ketepeng is a small shrub with a height of about 2-5 m, with horizontal branching. The leaves include pinnate compound leaves, offspring alternating leaves, pairs of 8-12 pairs, oval elongated leaflets. The twigs and leaf stems are brownish red.

Flowers arranged bunches at the end of the stem. The petals are bright yellow to golden yellow, the inside tends to be half-rounded, and flowering from May to August. The fruit is in the form of legumes such as beans, 15-18 cm long. Many black seeds.

Cascade leaves have important ingredients such as alkaloids, saponins, tannins, steroids, anthraquinones, flavonoids and carbohydrates. Flavonoids in herbal plants have anti-inflammatory, anti-allergenic, antibacterial effects (against Aspergillus fumigatus and Microsporum canis), antioxidants, and are effective for some fungal groups (sourced from the Journal of Science and Health, 2016).

Besides being known as a cascade leaf in Papua, several other naming of this plant in various regions in Indonesia, including keto keto (Java), rhino ketepeng (Sunda), acon-aconan (Madura), sajamera (Halmahera), kupang-kupang (Ternate) ), tabankun (Tidore), kupang leaves, ringworm leaves, loops (Sumatra). Naming in English this plant is called the seven golden candlestick.

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