Croton tiglium L.

Last updated: 24 Feb 2017

Scientific Name

Croton tiglium L.


Croton acutus Thunb., Croton arboreus Shecut, Croton birmanicus Müll.Arg., Croton camaza Perr., Croton himalaicus D.G.Long, Croton jamalgota Buch.-Ham., Croton muricatus Blanco [Illegitimate], Croton officinalis (Klotzsch) Alston [Illegitimate], Croton pavana Buch.-Ham., Croton tiglium var. tiglium, Halecus verus Raf., Kurkas tiglium (L.) Raf., Oxydectes birmanica (Müll.Arg.) Kuntze, Oxydectes blancoana Kuntze, Oxydectes pavana (Buch.-Ham.) Kuntze, Oxydectes tiglium (L.) Kuntze, Tiglium officinale Klotzsch. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Tubai buah (Sarawak), bua patu, changkian, chemekian, chemengkian, chemkian, chengkian, jemakian [2]
English Croton, croton oil, croton-oil plant, purgative coton, purging croton, rotting poison, tiger-spot poison, true croton [2]
China Ba dou, pa tou [2]
India Anjire-khatai, arabi-erand, bed-anjire-khatai, berada, cadalavanacu, chiduram, citturupa, danthi, dund, guj, habbussalatin, jaavaala, jamal gota taza, japalada, kanako, kanibih, katalavanakku, lrpchabis, naepaalavemu, neervalam, nigumbam, recakah, sayabalam, simanepalam, tendi, valam, vanam [2]
Indonesia Ceraken, kemalakian, simalakian, tuba abeng, tuba kula [2]
Thailand Ba kang, hat-sa-khun, hat sakhuen, luk phlan sattru, ma kang, ma pong, mak lot, matot, sa-lot-ton, salot [2]
Laos Mark tot [2]
Philippines Saligau, tuba, tubing-makaisa [2]
Cambodia Bat khlok [2]
Vietnam Ba dau, ba d[aaj]u, bad au tau, cong kh[oo]I, man de, may vat, m[aws]c v[aws]c v[as]t, put tau [2]
France Bois de Moluques, bois purgatif, croton révulsif [2]
Tibetan Dan-da, dan-rog mchog, nirvalam, tra ba nti, tra ban ti [2].

Geographical Distributions

Croton tiglium is from India and Sri Lanka, eastward to China, Indo-China, Thailand and throughout Malaysia. [3]

Botanical Description

C. tiglium is a member of the family Euphorbiaceae. It is a shrub or tree et that can reach up to 3 m tall. [3]

The leaves are ovate, measuring 7.5-17 cm x 4-9.5 cm, with broadly rounded to attenuate base, with 2 sessile to distinct glands stalked on the margin, obtuse to acute at apex, with very shallowly serrate margin, with a few star-shaped hairs at the lower surface, basally 5-nerved, with caduceus stipules, awl-shaped and measuring 1.5-3.5 mm long. [3]

The inflorescence is hairless while the flowers are staminate. The sepals are slightly hairless and with bearded tips while the petals are narrowly oblong and hairy. There are 15-20 hairless stamens with small disk glands. The sepals are villous at the base, petals are absent, with obscure disk, annular and with oblong ovary. [3]

The fruit is obtusely trigonous, measure 2-2.5 cm in diametre, white and scabrid with star-shaped hairs. [3]


C. tiglium is found in a wide range of vegetation and soil types, up to 1500 m altitude, planted around villages. It mainly flowers from October to May in Java. [3]

Chemical Constituent

Seed oil from C. tiglium has been reported to contain linoleic acid, oleic acid, eicosenoic acid, isoborneol, fenchyl alcohol. [4]

Plant Part Used

Seed. [5]

Traditional Use

The seed and seed oil of C. tiglium have been used as a strong purgative, cathartic and poison. The seed oil and bark are used as a remedy for cancerous sores and tumours, carbuncles, colds, dysentery, fever, paralysis, scabies, schistosomiasis, snakebite, sore throat and toothache. [5]

Preclinical Data


No documentation


No documentation

Clinical Data

Clinical findings

No documentation


No documentation

Interaction & Depletion

No documentation


No documentation

Poisonous Management

Toxic parts

Whole plant especially the seeds. [5]


Crotin is the toxic principle in the seeds of C. tiglium. It is a mixture of toxic proteins the croton globulin and croton albumin. It is an irritant and a vesicant. It also possesses haemolytic and blood coagulant properties with delayed poisonous effects. Croton oil does not contain crotin. The oil on the other hand contains croton resin which is a vesicant and cause skin irritation. The resin contains esters of long chain fatty acids and the diterpene of phobol which shows paradoxical biological activities like co-carcinogen and anticancer activities. [5][6]

Risk management

C. tiglium is not a common plant grown by gardeners. It is not used in medicine today with the advent of safer purgatives. [5]

Poisonous clinical findings

A single drop of the oil causes an acrid and burning sensation in the fauces and oesophagus, a sense of warmth in the stomach, nausea and sometimes vomiting. In an hour or two, abdominal colic occurs together with a sensation of heat about the anus. Within 24 hours diarrhoea ensues together with general weakness. Sometimes, the oil causes epigastric uneasiness and oppression, palpitation of the heart, headache, feverishness, perspiration and sleep. [6]

Initial symptoms upon ingestion of the seeds of C. tiglium include burning pain in the mouth, throat and stomach, salivation, nausea, vomiting, colicky pain in the abdomen and bloody diarrhoea. This is often followed by vertigo, prostration, circulatory and respiratory collapse and death may occur. A single seed has been reported to have proven fatal. [7]


In cases of croton seed poisoning, the recommended procedure are by gastric lavage, demulcent drinks, fluid and electrolyte replacement therapy, morphine and atropine to relieve pain and reduce intestinal secretion, alkalinise the urine by giving 2-5 g sodium bicarbonate for every 8 hours and finally doing the blood transfusion for gastro-intestinal bleeding if required. [7]

Line drawing



Figure 1: The line drawing of C. tiglium [3].


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Croton tiglium L. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Mar 23; cited 2017 Feb 2017]. Available from:
  2. Quattrocchi U. CRC world dictionary of medicinal and poisonous plants: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms, and etymology. Volume II C-D. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, 2012; p. 512-513.
  3. van Welzen PC, Esser HJ. Croton tiglium L. In: van Valkenburg JLCH, Bunyapraphatsara N, editors. Plant resources of South-East Asia No. 12(2): Medicinal and poisonous plants 2. Leiden, The Netherlands: Backhuys Publisher, 2001; p. 202-203.
  4. Lan M, Wan P, Wang ZY, Huang XL. [GC-MS analysis of chemical components in seed oil from Croton tiglium]. Zhong Yao Cai. 2012;35(7):1105-1108.
  5. Schmelzer GH, Gurib-Fakim A. PROTA Volume 11(1) – Medicinal plants 1. Wageningen: PROTA Foundation, 2008; p. 214-215.
  6. Karmakar RN. Forensic medicine and toxicology. Kolkata: Academic Publishers, 2007; p. 84.
  7. Panda H. Herbs cultivation & medicinal uses. 2nd ed. New Delhi: National Institute of Industrial Research, 2000; p. 254.