Croton oil

Authors: Prof. Dr. med. Peter Altmeyer, Prof. Dr. med. Martina Bacharach-Buhles

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Last updated on: 16.04.2024

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crotonic oleum; Croton seed oil; Croton tree oil; oleum tiglii

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Oil from the seed of Croton tiglii, the croton oil tree, a bush/tree from the Croton genus in the spurge family, native to Southeast Asia. Croton oil is a viscous yellow-brown oil that is soluble in absolute ethanol.

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Oleic acid, linoleic acid, palmitic acid. Further ingredients are myristic acid, arachidic acid, stearic acid, tiglic acid, formic acid, crotonic acid, acetic acid, isobutyric acid, isovaleric acid, lauric acid.

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Croton oil was formerly used as a strong laxative. It is highly irritating to the skin and mucous membranes and is no longer used medicinally due to its considerable carcinogenic effect. Croton oil is also prohibited for use in cosmetic products

In homeopathy, "Croton tiglium" is used in appropriate dilutions for diarrhoea, eczema and conjunctivitis. The homeopathic remedy is also colloquially called "purging grains".

In Ayurvedic medicine, the seeds of the croton oil tree are used.

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  1. Pal PK et al (2014) Detoxification of Croton tiglium L. seeds by Ayurvedic process of Śodhana. Anc Sci Life 33:157-161.
  2. Ried W et al (1996) Reactions with imide acid esters. VI Transformation of imide acid esters with beta-amino crotonic acid ester. Justus Liebig's Ann Chem 700:87-91.
  3. Sentein P (1967) Action of crotonic acid and acetic acid on mitoses of segmentation. Mechanism of dissociations of the achromatic apparatus. C R Acad Sci Hebd Seances Acad Sci D 265:444-446.