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Croton Oil

Chris Heider heiderc at bcc.orst.edu
Sat Dec 2 15:08:31 EST 1995

In Latin America, found primarily in second growth forests, species of 
Croton are used for all kinds of stuff.  I don't have a reference for C. 
tiglium, but I do know that C. lechleri is a tree that has potent 
antifungal/antiviral properties.  A drop of the sap (reddish-bronze) is 
put on the skin and rubbed...it foams into a lather and seems to do the 
trick on infamous "jungle rot".  It is also a common ingredient in soaps 
for such a purpose.

Other species, C. persicaria have had morphine-like alkaloids (Tiwari, 
1981),; Schultes and Raffauf found that the Witoto Indians of Columbia 
use the leaves of C. glabellus for eczema-like symptoms... 

All kinds of stuff...but I don't know anything about C. tiglium or if its 
sap will promote tumor growth.

Chris Heider

On 2 Dec 1995, DImagin wrote:

> When I was working as a cell biologist, we would use phorbol esters as
> tumor promoters.  I gather that the phorbol esters were originally
> isolated from croton oil, pressed from the seeds of croton tiglium.  Can
> anyone tell me more about these?  I have occasionally seen the latter
> offered for sale - they are attractive plants with copper and gold
> dagger-shaped leaves.  How dangerous are they?  Do the leaves or sap of
> the plant have tumor promoter activity as well?
> Thanks,
> Bruce Hubbard

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