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The Health Benefits and Side Effects of Jamalgota (Croton Tiglium)

Rajan is a botany and chemistry major. He has worked as a poultry breeder for 23 years, breeding layer and broiler parents.

Jamalgota

The idea for a hub on Jamalgota goes to Devika Primic, a.k.a., DDE on Hubpages, after I read her hub on the same. I had all but forgotten about this plant. There is, however, a different slant to this article, although it conveys the same message, and it is up to the reader to judge for themselves after reading this, whether, it is worth it or not.

I'm sure many among us here from Asian countries, as children, have heard its name associated with constipation and loose motions and thought it a fun way to deal with people whom we did not like was to give them jamalgota mixed tea or something like that.

At that point of time, it was all in jest not knowing the damage Jamalgota could have done. Some serious damage, as I understand now.

So here goes...

Latin name : Croton tiglium

About Jamalgota

Jamalgota, and it is so-called, both in Hindi & Urdu, is called Purging croton in English and it stands both for the plant and its seeds. The plant belongs to the family Euphorbiaceae.

The plant is poisonous, though the seeds, in fact, all its parts, have a strong purgative effect; the seeds' effects being much more pronounced.

The bark is used as arrow poison as well as a source of tannin while the seeds are used to poison fish.

The plant is an anomaly, in that, the seeds are both poisonous as well as medicinal. This fact has been used by traditional medical healers since centuries to make folk medicine that has served to heal people when modern medicine had not evolved.

It has been used as a folk remedy for ages.

About Jamalgota Plant

Croton tiglium, the Jamalgota plant is native to tropical Asia including India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Burma, Java, Indonesia and China. It grows wild in the Philippines with limited cultivation while it is cultivated in southern California and other places mostly as an ornamental plant. It is also found in Africa and South America.

Croton tiglium grows to a height of 15 to 20 feet, its leaves are toothed, shiny and smooth with the immature leaves being pinkish violet in colour.

The plant bears yellow to green coloured flowers which are single sexed. Fruits are white, spear-shaped and 3 lobed, and harbour smooth brown coloured seeds.

The tree flowers in summer and fruits in winter.

Health Benefits Of Jamalgota

The plant has a variety of properties among them being:

  • Cathartic - cleansing
  • Diaphoretic - inducing perspiration
  • Ecbolic - contracts uterus to facilitate delivery
  • Emetic - induces vomiting
  • Emmenagogue - stimulates menstrual bleeding
  • Purgative
  • Rubefacient - causing skin redness by increasing blood flow
  • Vesicant - causing blisters

And it has been used in folk medicine for a variety of health issues ranging from fever and colds to throat problems to dysentery, paralysis and even cancer. It treats diarrhoea and constipation, oedema, scabies, eczema and mastitis.

Jamalgota is called Jayaphala and Dravanti in Ayurveda the traditional Indian system of medicine. According to it, jamalgota suppresses pitta and Kapha doshas and has anti-inflammatory properties as well.

Jamalgota has been applied on the head to regrow hair, as a purgative for severe constipation, as a paste on the skin to relieve skin diseases.

Its seed oil has been used in respiratory and joint-related affections, convulsions, abdominal diseases etc.

Though Ayurveda recommends the use of the fruits, seeds and root of Jamalgota it also lists it as a potent poison; in fact, listing it among the seven poisons.

Some Side Effects With Jamalgota

Among the side effects noted with Jamalgota intake are:

diarrhoea, severe cramps, burning and tenderness in the abdomen, mouth ulcers, dyspepsia, vomiting, stupor and dizziness. Skin application can lead to itching, burning and blister formation.

The Risks With Jamalgota

It is said about 4 seeds can kill a human while 15 of them will kill a horse.

The jamalgota seeds contain two toxic proteins:

  • crotin globulin
  • crotin albumin

Its oil is a skin irritant. Its major component is the phorbol diester ( phorbol 12-tiglate 13-decanoate). Phorbol is the cocarcinogenic substance of Croton tiglium.

Though Ayurvedic medicines like Abhyadi modak, Ichchbedi ras, Jwar murari and Jalodar ras contain Jamalgota, self-treatment with Jamalgota should never be attempted.

Some suggest the use of purified and processed croton seeds but even after processing these effects just get toned down a bit but are not eliminated.

Any treatment with Jamalgota in any form ought only to be initiated under the supervision of an Ayurvedic physician, if at all, and after all considerations.

Self-medication/treatment is just too risky and can be deadly.

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Disclaimer

This article is for information purposes only. Please consult your health care provide or medical doctor before starting any new health regimen or supplements.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2016 Rajan Singh Jolly

Comments

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on February 17, 2016:

Chitrangada, the research on this plant was very revealing to me too. We mostly connect it with relieving constipation.

Thanks for visiting.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on February 17, 2016:

Very informative and useful hub about the benefits and side effects of Jamalgota. I was not aware of so many details.

Thanks for sharing!

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on February 15, 2016:

Devika, thanks for reading and for reminding me about this plant. I appreciate your visit and comments.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on February 15, 2016:

Informative and nicely presented.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on February 15, 2016:

@Bill - I agree Jamalgota plant is not much known outside Asia but everyday one learns something new. Have a nice day.

@manatita - I'm sure this plant would exist in the Caribbean. There are so many plants exist around us if we are not aware of the foreign names relating to them. Thanks for appreciating the info Bro.

@Nell - thanks for stopping by and hope you have a nice day.

@MsDora - much appreciate your visit and comments. Thank you.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on February 14, 2016:

Totally unknown to me, but it is worth knowing about its existence and its uses. Thanks!

Nell Rose from England on February 14, 2016:

Fascinating look at a plant I had never heard. And the side effects being so poisonous if used wrong! great info!

manatita44 from london on February 14, 2016:

Well, well ...my computer keeps crashing Bro. I was saying that you covered it well. Short and succinct but very informative and with the correct caution too. We have them in the Caribbean, I'm sure, but don't recognise the name or plant.

We tend to have all that is good for the bowels, tummy, cleansing ..purging ... Excellent Hub!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on February 14, 2016:

An education for me. I've never heard of this plant at all. Thank you for the information. I'll be looking for it from now on.

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