Sapium sebiferum L Roxb

[From Latin, sapium = a plant name, sebum = fat and fer = producing]

Synonymy: Croton sebiferus L., Triadica sebifera (L.), Stillingia sebifera Michx. Common name: Chinese tallowtree.

Physical description: It is an invasive treelet of Southern China and Taiwan. The latex is abundant and poisonous. The stems are glabrous, slender and terete. Leaves: very thin, rhomboid-ovate, and 5cm-9cm. The petiole is 2cm-5cm long. The blade is shortly acuminate at the apex. The base is acute and shows a pair of glands. The margin is entire. The inflorescences are 7 cm-12 cm long spikes which are yellowish. The male flowers are at the apex and the female ones are at the base of the spike. The fruits are nearly globose, 1.5 cm x 7 mm, glaucous, fleshy capsules, turning black and mucronate at the apex. The seeds are 6.5 mm, white and waxy (Fig. 218).

Fig. 218. Sapium sebiferum (L.) Roxb.



Pharmaceutical interest: Triadica sebiferum (L.) Roxb. contains geraniin and 6-O-galloyl-D-glucose, which are hypotensive in spontaneously hypertensive rats (Chen GT et al., 1994; Hsu FL etal., 1994). Sapium baccatum is known to produce an alkaloid,

Uses: The wax expressed from the seeds of Triadica sebiferum (L.) Roxb. is used to relieve the bowels of costiveness and to promote urination in several Asian countries. In Vietnam, the seeds are used to treat hair and skin diseases.

buckittingine, which inhibits paw edema induced by carrageenan, and fever, induced by yeast in rats (Panthong A et al., 1998).

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