Croton -Croton tiglium L.



The plant is found wild in India, Sri Lanka, Burma, Malacca; cultivated at home, also on about. Java, in Zanzibar, South China.

A small tree or shrub with oblong-ovate serrated leaves. Flowers in apical racemes, the fruit is a trihedral box with 3 seeds. The seed is very similar to castor bean, but its surface is uniform, yellow-brown.

Oil – Oleum Crotonis – obtained by extraction from seeds (50-60%). It is prescribed inside for 1-2 drops, it has a strong laxative effect; in large quantities causes vomiting, catarrh of the gastrointestinal tract; 20 drops are already lethal. Oil applied to the skin causes inflammation with the formation of blisters.

The oil consists of triglycerides of oleic, linoleic and myristic acids. However, such a powerful laxative effect of the oil is not due to them, but to the phorbol esters contained in fatty oil. Phorbol is a tetracyclic diterpene alcohol. It forms diesters with long chain fatty acids (C 8 , C 10 , C 12 , C 14 ), with acetic acid and crotonic and tiglinic acids specific for croton oil.


The seeds contain toxalbumin and poisonous resin, which turn into oil.

Croton oil is used in veterinary medicine as a drastic agent. In folk medicine, croton leaves are used for snake bites; it is also used to kill fish. The juice of the leaves and the aqueous extract of the bark are an arrow poison.

The plant contains liquid fats (oils).


Fats consist almost entirely of triglycerides of high molecular weight fatty acids. They are accompanied by pigments, sterols, vitamins and some other fat-soluble substances.

The fatty acids that make up triglycerides can be saturated or unsaturated. Most often, triglycerides contain the fatty acids listed in the table.

Fats are not individual substances – they are mixtures of triglycerides. In the formation of fats, the law of maximum heterogeneity prevails – more than 1300 currently known fats are formed by “multi-acid” triglycerides, and fatty acids of different composition (for example, stearinodiolein, palmitinooleinolinolein, etc.). Fats, consisting of “one-acid” triglycerides, are relatively rare in nature (olive oil is triolein, castor oil is triricinolein).

The properties of fats are determined mainly by the composition of fatty acids and their quantitative ratio. Saturated fatty acids form triglycerides of a dense consistency (at traditional temperature), and the density increases with the increase in the number of carbon atoms in the acid (see table). Unsaturated fatty acids form liquid triglycerides.


Liquid fats (oils), spread with a thin layer, can remain liquid (non-drying fatty oils) or, oxidized, gradually turn into a resinous film (drying – a dense film and semi-drying – a soft film). Fatty oils dominated by oleic acid triglycerides are non-drying. The more linoleic and linolenic acids in oils, the more they are prone to drying out, as can be judged by the iodine number (the number of grams of iodine that can join 100 g of fat at the place of double bonds of unsaturated acids). Approximate limits of iodine numbers: non-drying 80-100, semi-drying 100-140, drying oils 140-200.

Most vegetable fatty oils are obtained by pressing or extracting raw materials with volatile solvents. Freshly obtained (“raw”) fats are purified (refined).

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