Croton albidus Müll.Arg.
Croton althaeifolius Mill.
Croton astroites Willd.
Croton balsamifer Jacq.
Croton flocculosus Geiseler
Croton lamarckianus Moldenke
Croton leprosus Spreng. ex Griseb.
Croton mauralis E.H.L.Krause
Croton mucronatus Willd.
Croton padifolius Geiseler
Croton portoricensis P.T.Li
Croton rhamnifolius antillanus Müll.Arg.
Croton richardii Willd.
Croton rigidus (Müll.Arg.) Britton
Croton tomentosus Sessé & Moc.
Oxydectes albida (Müll.Arg.) Kuntze
Oxydectes althaeifolia (Mill.) Kuntze
Oxydectes astroites (Willd.) Kuntze
Oxydectes flavens (L.) Kuntze
Oxydectes flocculosa (Geiseler) Kuntze
Semilta althaeifolia (Mill.) Raf.
Common Name: Welensali
Croton flavens is an evergreen shrub growing around 1 - 3 metres tall[
The plant is commonly used as a stimulating tea and medicinal plant in parts of the Caribbean, where it is also used as an insect repellent and cleansing agent.
Several esters of the diterpene phorbol have been isolated from croton resin. Some of these have shown antileukaemic activity but in general, however, these phorbol esters as found in Croton tiglium and many other Croton species are extremely irritant and also tumour promotors. Their presence in Croton tiglium and Croton flavens means their consumption is sometimes held responsible for certain forms of nasopharyngeal cancer as they are able to activate Epstein-Barr viruses[
Northern S. America - Venezuela, through the Caribbean to Honduras and southern Mexico
Exposed rocks and in open thickets in arid, limestone areas; at elevations up to 225 metres[
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Most Croton species are relatively indifferent to their habitat and can grow on a wide range of soils, though this species is found mainly in limestone soils. It can grow in both disturbed and undisturbed vegetation[
The plant has a very strong but agreeable balsam odour[
]. The flowers are sweetly fragrant[
Plants can flower and produce fruit all year round[
The leaves are a popular ingredient of herbal teas in parts of the Caribbean[
An infusion of the leaves has been one of the common coffee substitutes for the poorer people[
]. It is said to be somewhat stimulating[
]. To make the drink, boiling water is poured over nine fresh leaves in a cup; or, for a milder 'tea', some use four or five leaves that have turned partly yellow, declaring that these are not as 'sour' as the green leaves. Three cups or more may be drunk daily without added seasoning or with sugar or a little salt[
As a folk remedy, an infusion of the leaves is taken to relieve fever and rheumatism, stomach ache, and menstrual cramps[
A leaf decoction is used for bathing the sick, soaking the feet, and washing wounds and skin diseases[
A decoction of the leaves, combined with leaves of Malvastrum americanum, is drunk to stimulate menstruation[
]. The leaves are combined with Varronia curassavica in an infusion taken to halt diarrhoea and is also drunk as a tonic during pregnancy[
]. A tea of these two plants, combined with the leaves of Cordia alba (=Trema micranthum?), is a remedy for stomach ache and is also imbibed as a healing tonic for nine consecutive nights after giving birth. In addition, the new mother is induced to sit over a pan of the hot triple infusion[
To relieve colds, some drink a decoction of the leaves combined with Crescentia cujete and the root of ]atropha gossypifolia. As a treatment for head colds, the leaves are boiled and the steam inhaled, or the dried leaves are powdered, blended with tobacco snuff, and the mixture inhaled. A 'sweating cure' involves the burning of the leaves together with other herbs on coals placed with the patient in a sealed, hot chamber[
The leaves are sometimes held in the mouth to cure oral inflammation; the reverse side of the leaves is placed as a poultice against facial swelling and rash; and moistened leaves are bound on the abdomen to dispel stomach ache. The sap from a branch tip is dripped onto a thorn puncture, but quickly discontinued if there is bleeding[
Some people claim that chewing the roots has a stimulating effect[
Several 12,13-diesters, and 12,13,20-triesters of the diterpene phorbol have been isolated from croton resin. Phorbol-12-tiglate-13-decanoate showed antileukaemic activity against lymphocytic leukaemia in mice[
Because of their strong volatile emanation, leafy branches are spread beneath heaps of drying sorghum to keep the latter insect-free. Dry leaves may be burned in the house as disinfectant and to eliminate all kinds of insects. When burned for this purpose in combination with leaves of Annona squamosa and the dried plant of Parthenium hysterophorus, the smoke should not be inhaled[
In former days, leafy twigs of welensali were much used for cleaning out casks, for washing kettles and dishes. They are still resorted to by rural people, especially when pots and plates are greasy[
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