San: Jepalah, Dantibijah
Ben: Jaypal Mal: Nirvalam
Tam: Nervalam, Sevalamkottai
Importance: Purging croton or croton oil plant, a small evergreen tree with separate male and female flowers, is one among the seven poisons described in Ayurveda. The drug is well known for its drastic purgative property. The drug is found to be useful in ascites, anasarca, cold, cough, asthma, constipation, calculus, dropsy, fever and enlargement of the abdominal viscera. The seed paste is a good application for skin diseases, painful swellings and alopacia. The seed-oil is useful in chronic bronchitis, laryngeal affections, arthritis and lock jaw. Misraka-sneham is an important preparation using the drug (Nadkarni, 1954; Dey, 1980; Sharma, 1983).
Distribution: It is distributed throughout North India. It is cultivated in Assam, West Bengal and South India.
Botany: Croton tiglium Linn. belongs to the family Euphorbiaceae. It is a small evergreen tree, 4.5-6.0m in height with ash coloured smooth bark and young shoots sprinkled with stellate hairs. Leaves are oblong to ovate-lanceolate, obtuse or rounded at the 2-glanded box, acuminate, membraneous, yellowish green and minutely toothed. Flowers are small, unisexual, males on slender pedicels, females larger and on short thick pedicels. Fruits are ovoid or oblong trigonous capsules. Seeds are smooth, testa black and enclosing reddish brown oily endosperm (Warrier et al,1994). Other species belonging to the genus Croton are as follows:
C. aromaticus Linn. C. caudatus Geisel C. jouera Roxb.
C. malabaricus Bedd.
C. oblongifolius Roxb.
C. polyandrus Roxb. syn. Baliospermum montanum Muell-Arg.
C. reticulatus(Chopra et al, 1980)
Agrotechnology: The plant is propagated by seeds. Seeds are to be sown on seedbeds and about 2 months old seedlings are used for transplanting. Pits of size 50cm cube are to be taken at 3m spacing and filled with dried cowdung, sand and topsoil and formed into a mound. The seedlings are to be planted on these mounds. Irrigation during summer months is beneficial. Application of organic manure after every 6 months is desirable. Weeding is to be carried out one month after transplanting. The plant is not attacked by any serious pests or diseases. Fruits are formed at the end of first year. Fruits when ripen and start to crack are to be collected, dried in sun, then the outer shell is removed and again dried for one day before marketing (Prasad et al,1997).
Properties and activity: Oil contains phorbol myristate acetate (Husain et al, 1992). Seeds contain upto 20% protein and 30-50% lipids. Iso-guanine-D-ribose (crotoniside) and saccharose were isolated from the seeds. In fractionation of croton oil, liquid-liquid distribution procedures proved to be the separation tools of choice. The per hydrogenated parent hydrocarbon of phorbol is a perhydrocyclopropabenzulene called tigliane and phorbol is 1, 1a , 1b , 4, 4a, 7a , 7b, 8, 9, 9a-decahydro-4a , 7 , 9 , 9a – tetrahydroxy-3-(hydroxymethyl)-1, 1, 6, 8 tetramethyl-5-H-cyclopropa[3,4] benz [1.2-e]azulen-5- one. Phorbol, a tetracylic diterpene with a 5, 7, 6 and 3- membered ring has 6 oxygen functions. Phorbol accounts for 3.4% and 4- deoxy- 4 – phorbol for 0.29% of the weight of croton oil. Twenty- five phorbol-12, 13-diesters have been detected (Hecker et al, 1974). A toxin croton 1, mol. wt 72,000 has been isolated from the seeds (Lin et al, 1978).
Phorbol myristate acetate activates nitroblue tetrazolium reduction in human polymorphs. Seed and oil is purgative, rubefacient and anti-dote for snakebite. The seeds and oil are acrid, bitter, thermogenic, emollient, drastic purgative, digestive, carminative, anthelmintic, antiinflammatory, vermifuge, deterent, diaphoretic, expectorant, vesicant, irritant and rubefacient.