Medical Herbs Catalogue



Botanical Name: Croton tiglium (WILLD,)
Family: N.O. Euphorbiaceae

Synonyms: Tiglium Seeds. Klotzsch.
Part Used: The oil from ripe seeds.

Description: A small tree or shrub with a few spreading branches bearing alternate petiolate leaves which are ovate, acuminate, serrate, smooth, dark green on upper surface paler beneath and furnished with two glands at base. Flowers in erect terminal racemes, scarcely as long as the leaf, the lower female, upper male, straw-coloured petals. Fruit a smooth capsule of the size of a filbert, three cells, each containing a single seed; these seeds resemble castor beans in size and structure, oblong, rounded at the extremities with two faces; the kernel or endosperm is yellowish brown and abounds in oil. The oil is obtained by expression from the seeds previously deprived of the shell.

Constituents: Croton oil consists chiefly of the glycerides of stearic, palmitic, myristic, lauric and oleic acids; there are also present in the form of glycerin ethers the more volatile acids as formic, acetic, isobutyric and isovalerianic acids. The active principle is believed to be Crotonic acid, which is freely soluble in alcohol.

Medicinal Action and Uses: A powerful drastic purgative, in large doses apt to excite vomiting and severe griping pains capable of producing fatal effects. It acts with great rapidity, frequently evacuating the bowels in less than an hour. The dose is very small; a drop placed on the tongue of a comatose patient will generally operate It is chiefly employed in cases of obstinate constipation, often being successful where other drugs have failed. Applied externally, it produces inflammation of the skin attended with pustular eruption, and has been used as a counter-irritant in rheumatism gout, neuralgia, bronchitis, etc. It should be diluted with three parts of olive oil, soap liniment or other vehicle and applied as a liniment. Must always be used with the greatest care and should never be given to children or pregnant women.

Preparations and Dosage: Dose of the oil, 1/2 to 1 minim on a lump of sugar Collodium Crotons B.P.C., a powerful counter-irritant and vesicant. Liniment of Croton oil, B.P., seldom used owing to the painful inflammation which may be produced.