The leaves contain anthraglucosides, chrysophanic acid and rhein. It is very effective as an antibacterial agent. Excellent for weight loss in combination with Banaba (Lagerstoemia speciosa).
Other applications are: Tinea pedis (athlete's foot), ringworm, eczema and insect bites. They are prescribed for constipation, oedema, hepatitis and icterus in a tea-like infusion.
The effectiveness of this plant against skin diseases is confirmed by modern scientific studies. Dermatomycosis, tinea imbricata, ringworm, scabies and impetigo are treated externally by rubbing with pounded fresh leaves or by applying fresh leaf juice on the diseased parts. The powdered stem and leaves are used as a laxative in a daily dose of 4 to 8g. They are used as a purgative in a decoction in a single dose of 15 to 20g.
Leaves or sap are used to treat fungal infections such as ringworm. Because of its anti-fungal properties, it is a common ingredient in soaps, shampoos and lotions in the Philippines.
It also contains saponin which acts as a laxative and expels intestinal parasites.
In Africa the boiled leaves are used to treat high-blood Pressure.
In South America, besides skin diseases, it is also used to treat a wide range of ailments from stomach problems, fever, asthma to snake bite.