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Useful Tropical Plants

Croton tiglium

L.

Euphorbiaceae

+ Synonyms

Alchornea vaniotii H.Lév.

Croton acutus Thunb.

Croton arboreus Shecut

Croton birmanicus Müll-Arg.

Croton camaza Perr.

Croton himalaicus D.G.Long.

Croton jamalgota Buch.-Ham.

Croton muricatus Blanco

Croton officinalis (Klotzsch) Alston

Croton pavana Buch.-Ham.

Croton xiaopadou H.S.Kiu.

Halecus verus Raf.

Kurkas tiglium (L.) Raf.

Oxydectes birmanica (Müll.Arg.) Kuntze

Oxydectes blancoana Kuntze

Oxydectes pavana (Buch.-Ham.) Kuntze

Oxydectes tiglium (L.) Kuntze

Tiglium officinale Klotzsch

Common Name: Croton Oil Plant

Croton tiglium
Fruiting stem
Photograph by: Vinayaraj
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0
Croton tiglium Croton tiglium Croton tiglium

General Information

Croton tiglium is an erect, evergreen shrub or small tree growing up to 7 metres tall[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
The plant has a very long history of herbal use, being employed as a powerful laxative and as an oil to treat a wide range of skin problems. It has been grown for these uses for more than 2,000 years and is still often cultivated nowadays. The plant is also sometimes grown as an ornamental[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
,
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
]. The roots, seeds and seed oil are all locally traded in India and South-East Asia and the oil is exported to Europe[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Croton tiglium has a very wide distribution, large population, is not currently experiencing any major threats and no significant future threats have been identified. The plant is classified as 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2019)[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

Known Hazards

All parts of the plant are poisonous[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
The seeds are known to be very poisonous, and are used as fish poison or for criminal purposes - four seeds can be a lethal dose for a human adult[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. The toxic principles are crotonol, an extremely vesicant resin; and crotin, a delayed-action poison which causes blood-clotting. Symptoms of croton oil poisoning are firstly pain at the back of the throat, then in the anus. A dose of bismuth is an immediate antidote[
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
].
Croton oil, obtained from the seed, is heavily irritating; contact with the skin causes inflammation and oedema[
1894
Title
Vegetable Fats and Oils
Publication
 
Author
Krist S. (Translated by Barbara Bauer)
Website
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-30314-3
Publisher
Springer Nature; Switzerland
Year
2020
ISBN
978-3-030-30314-3
Description
 
].
Croton tiglium poisoning is traditionally treated with a decoction of Coptis teeta and string beans[
283
Title
Medicinal Plants in Vietnam
Publication
 
Author
Nguyen Van Dan & Doan Thi Nhu
Publisher
World Health Organisation
Year
1989
ISBN
92 9061 101 4
Description
An excellent book, giving information on over 200 plants, their medicinal compounds and applications.
].
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[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
,
1894
Title
Vegetable Fats and Oils
Publication
 
Author
Krist S. (Translated by Barbara Bauer)
Website
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-30314-3
Publisher
Springer Nature; Switzerland
Year
2020
ISBN
978-3-030-30314-3
Description
 
].

Botanical References

266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.
,
742
Title
Flora of Thailand - Euphorbiaceae
Publication
 
Author
van Welzen P.C.
Website
http://www.nationaalherbarium.nl/thaieuph/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site with masses of information about the species of Euphorbia found in Thailand.

Range

E. Asia - China, Indian subcontinent, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines.

Habitat

Montane sparse forests, limestone shrublands at elevations of 300 - 700 metres in southern China[
266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.
]. Occurs in a wide range of vegetation and soil types at elevations up to 1,500 metres[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Properties

Conservation StatusLeast Concern
Medicinal Rating *  *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitEvergreen Tree
Height7.00 m
PollinatorsInsects
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Ornamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

A plant of the lowland tropics and subtropics, it tolerates an annual rainfall of 600 - 1,200 mm and an annual temperature in the range 21 - 27.5°c[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Succeeds in soils with a pH ranging from 4.5 - 7.5[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. Succeeds in very poor soils[
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
].
Plants start flowering after about 18 months, Seed yield in the third year may be 200 - 750 kg seed/ha[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. By the sixth year plants have reached full bearing and yields are 750 - 1,000, occasionally to 2,000 kg/ha[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
The seed oil of Croton tiglium is commonly used in laboratories throughout the world for its vesicant properties. The phorbol esters isolated from the oil also have interesting tumour-promoting or tumour-inhibiting properties, and although much research has been done, more is needed to elucidate their future potential. As the other parts of the plant are poisonous as well, it might be worthwhile investigating their chemistry and pharmacology. A large number of pharmaceutical applications of Croton tiglium are being patented in China. The extensive ongoing research may lead to new developments elsewhere too[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal

Extreme caution should be taken with all medical applications of this plant in view of its extreme toxicity[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Only the seeds have been chemically analysed in detail. They contain 30 - 45% of a fixed oil named croton oil and about 20% protein. The composition of the oil varies with the method of extraction. The oil comprises the fatty acids oleic acid 37%, linoleic acid 19%, myristic acid 7.5%, arachidic acid 1.5%, palmitic acid 1%, formic acid 1%, acetic acid 0.5%, stearic acid 0.5% and smaller amounts of butyric acid, lauric acid, tiglic acid and valeric acid. The oil also contains a group of proteins called ‘crotin’, about 3.5% croton resin (‘crotonol’), a glucoside called crotonoside (isoguanosine), and a non-volatile unsaturated fatty acid responsible for the purgative properties. Croton oil causes severe inflammation on the skin[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Crotin is a mixture of the toxic proteins croton globulin and croton albumin. It has haemolytic and blood coagulant properties with a delayed poisonous effect. In humans erythrocytes are merely deformed and rapid antibody formation is induced[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
The vesicant and irritant properties of the seed oil are mainly due to croton resin, which contains esters of long-chain fatty acids and the diterpene phorbol. Such phorbol esters also show paradoxical biological activity, some being strongly co-carcinogenic, others having anti-cancer activity[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

The seed and seed oil have long been used in tropical Asia as a strong purgative, cathartic and poison[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. Croton oil is one of the strongest laxatives, which has become obsolete because of its toxicity and co-carcinogenic properties. Even in the past, it was only prescribed in cases of especially persistent constipation[
1894
Title
Vegetable Fats and Oils
Publication
 
Author
Krist S. (Translated by Barbara Bauer)
Website
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-30314-3
Publisher
Springer Nature; Switzerland
Year
2020
ISBN
978-3-030-30314-3
Description
 
].
In Malaysia one seed is eaten as a purgative by adults and coconut milk is drunk to stop the effect.
The seed oil was formerly included in several pharmacopoeias as a purgative, but because the oil is not stable, it has proved unreliable and has therefore been excluded[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
The oil is a strong vesicant but diluted it can be employed as a counterirritant for various skin affections[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. The seed oil and bark were widely used in folk medicine as a remedy for cancerous sores and tumours, carbuncles, colds, dysentery, fever, paralysis, scabies, schistosomiasis, snakebite, sore throat and toothache[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

The powdered seeds mixed with dates are eaten as a purgative[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

The root is used as an abortifacient and purgative[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
,
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
].

An infusion of the leaves is ised to treat infections[
1783
Title
Enciclopedia de las Plantas Útiles del Ecuador
Publication
 
Author
de la Torre, L., Navarrete H., P. Muriel M., Macía M.J. & Ba
Publisher
Herbario QCA de la Escuela de Ciencias Biológicas de la Pontific
Year
2008
ISBN
978-9978-77-135-8
Description
 
].
The leaves are used as a poultice to treat snakebites[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
,
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
].

In homoeopathy, croton is prescribed in cases of acute gastroenteritis with watery stool as well as in cases of acute blistery eczema, especially of the genitalia[
1894
Title
Vegetable Fats and Oils
Publication
 
Author
Krist S. (Translated by Barbara Bauer)
Website
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-30314-3
Publisher
Springer Nature; Switzerland
Year
2020
ISBN
978-3-030-30314-3
Description
 
].

In the USA, an emulsion of croton oil with phenol and a detergent is used in plastic surgery for a method of skin peeling[
1894
Title
Vegetable Fats and Oils
Publication
 
Author
Krist S. (Translated by Barbara Bauer)
Website
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-30314-3
Publisher
Springer Nature; Switzerland
Year
2020
ISBN
978-3-030-30314-3
Description
 
].

The seeds are harvested when the fruit is ripe but its pericarp has still not opened. After drying, the fruit is threshed to release the seeds[
283
Title
Medicinal Plants in Vietnam
Publication
 
Author
Nguyen Van Dan & Doan Thi Nhu
Publisher
World Health Organisation
Year
1989
ISBN
92 9061 101 4
Description
An excellent book, giving information on over 200 plants, their medicinal compounds and applications.
]

Agroforestry Uses:

Plants are grown as a monocrop or as an intercrop with cacao or coffee, providing some shade[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
The plant has some potential in suppressing the very invasive lalang grass, Imperata cylindrica[
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
].
The plant has been grown as a hedge[
1894
Title
Vegetable Fats and Oils
Publication
 
Author
Krist S. (Translated by Barbara Bauer)
Website
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-30314-3
Publisher
Springer Nature; Switzerland
Year
2020
ISBN
978-3-030-30314-3
Description
 
].

Other Uses

The seeds of Croton tiglium contain 53 - 57% of the so-called croton oil and 18% protein. The main ingredients of the oil are glycerides of oleic acid, linoleic acid, palmitic acid, myristic acid, lauric acid, tiglic acid and other esters of tiglic acid and crotonic acid with the diterpene alcohol phorbol[
1894
Title
Vegetable Fats and Oils
Publication
 
Author
Krist S. (Translated by Barbara Bauer)
Website
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-30314-3
Publisher
Springer Nature; Switzerland
Year
2020
ISBN
978-3-030-30314-3
Description
 
]
The seed oil may be used in the production of soap and candles. However, for illumination it can only be used outdoors as the smoke is toxic[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

An extract of the seed can be used as an insecticide for field application and in stored cereals and pulses[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Aqueous extracts of latex and stem bark showed molluscicidal activity against the freshwater snails Lymnaea acuminata and Indoplanorbis exustus; at high doses these extracts were also lethal to the freshwater fish Channa punctatus[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

The oil is a banned substance in commercial cosmetics according to the Cosmetics Regulation[
1894
Title
Vegetable Fats and Oils
Publication
 
Author
Krist S. (Translated by Barbara Bauer)
Website
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-30314-3
Publisher
Springer Nature; Switzerland
Year
2020
ISBN
978-3-030-30314-3
Description
 
].

Propagation

Seed -
Cuttings
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2024-04-20. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Croton+tiglium>

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