Hydnocarpus, Chaulmugra

Grow in Tropical Asia (India, Burma, Assam, Thailand, etc.). Widely cultivated within the range, also in Tropical Africa (Uganda, Nigeria, Cameroon, West Africa) and Tropical America (Dominican Republic, Hawaiian Islands, etc.).

Evergreen dioecious trees, leaves are alternate, leathery, 18-25 cm long, oval, pointed at the top. Flowers several in semi-umbrellas in the axils of the leaves, corolla with 5 separate petals, orange-yellow; the male flowers have many stamens, the female stamens are underdeveloped, the ovary is superior, single-celled. The fruit is spherical, 6-8 cm in diameter, orange, with a thick soft skin, 8-12 seeds in the pulp.

The seeds are unevenly angular in shape, 1.5-3 cm long, consist of a hard gray peel and an oily kernel, contain within 35% fatty oil. The oil is yellowish, dense consistency (at room temperature), melts at 22-26°C. Contains up to 80% of triglycerides of cyclic unsaturated acids – chaulmugric and hydnocarp.


Seeds and oil (Oleum Chaulmoograe) have long been used in East Asian medicine, but Europeans paid attention to them only in the 20th century. Experimental studies have shown that the oil is indeed a specific agent against acid-resistant bacteria – the causative agents of leprosy (Mycobacterium leprae), and also retards the growth of mycobacterium tuberculosis. Until that time, European medicine was powerless against this terrible disease. The oil strongly irritates the mucous membranes and can cause poisoning. In connection with this, their sodium salts were obtained from the acids of the oil, the mixture of which was named aleprol, and the ethyl esters, mugrol and halmestrol.

Chaulmug oil is also used for psoriasis and other skin diseases.

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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