Croton tiglium L

[From Greek, kroton = thornberry, Palma - Christi and tilos = diarrhea]

Physical description: It is a shrub or small tree native to Indo-Malaysia and cultivated for medicinal use in the Asia-Pacific. Leaves: simple, very thin, ovate, and 5 cm-14 cm x 2 cm-7cm. The petiole is 4 cm long and thin. The apex of the blade is acute, and the base obtuse. The male flowers are stellate hairy. The fruits are oblong or ellipsoid, 3-lobed, and 1 cm-1.5 cm x 2 cm. The seeds are oblong-ovoid (Fig. 204).

Common names: Purging croton, purgative croton, true croton, croton — oil plant; tu'ba da'on (Kenyah); cemekian (Malay); ba dau, may vat, man de (Vietnamese); kanako (Burmese); jayapala (Sanskrit); nervalam (Tamil).

Uses: The sap of Croton tiglium L. is well-known to be a violent laxative. In Malaysia, the Kenyah of Sarawak crush the ripe fruits with a little ash to poison fish, whereas the Chinese of Pangkor apply crushed leaves on bruises. Ibn Sina calls the seeds dand-el-sini, suggesting its introduction from China via caravan routes through Central Asia. Croton tiglium L. was first described by Christoval Acosta in 1578. In Western medicine, the oil expressed from the seeds of Croton tiglium L. (Croton oil;

Oleum Tiglii, British Pharmaceutical Fig. 204. Croton tiglium L. From: KLU Herbar

Codex, 1949) has been used to treat ium 038466. Flora of Sarawak. Field collector:

very severe constipation and SC Chin. 25 Apr 1980. Geographical localiza-

externally to produce skin irritation tion: BARAM (IV Division): around Long Sela-

(dose: 0.03mLto 0.06mL). ton9 Lep° Ga< Geneh Farms, cultivated on

Polycarp's farm hut.

Pharmaceutical interest: Croton oil is a useful laboratory tool to induce skin tumors, inflammation and the early antigen expression of Epstein-Barr viral (EBV) in the Raji cell-line (ZengY etal., 1994).

Chemotherapeutic interest: Besides toxic diterpenes, Croton tiglium L. contains isoguanosine, which inhibits the proliferation of both sarcoma-180 and

Ehrlich tumor in mice at an optimal dose of 96mg/Kg/day and 48mg/Kg/day, respectively (Kim JH et al., 1994). 12-0-acetylphorbol-13-decanoate and 12-0-decanoylphorbol-13-(2-methylbutyrate) totally inhibit the replication and infectivity of the human immunodeficiency virus type-1 on MT-4 cells, at doses of 7.6ng/mL and 7.81 ^g/mL (Mekkawy ES etal., 2000).

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