Family • Euphorbiaceae - Croton tiglium Linn. - CROTON OIL PLANT - Ba-dou

Scientific names

Croton tiglium Linn.
Croton camaza Perr.
Croton glandulosum Blanco
Croton muricatum Blanco
Tiglium officinalis Klotz.

Common names

Gasi (Sul.)
Kamagsa (Bik.)
Kamaisa (Tag.)
Kamandag (Bis.)
Kamausa (Tag.)
Kasla (Sul.)
Lutung-sira (Bik.)
Makaisa (Tag.)
Makasla (P. Bis.)
Malapay (Sul.)
Saligaw (Ilk., Ibn.)
Tuba (Ilk., Bik., Tag., S.L. Bis., P. Bis., Sul.)
Tuba-tuba (Bik., P.Bis.)
Tubang-kamaisa (Tag.)
Tubang makaisa (Bik., Tag.)
Tubang-pasiti (Bik.)
Tubli (C. Bis.)
Tukbu (If.)
Croton oil plant (Engl.)
Purgative croton (Engl.)
Purging croton (Engl.)
True croton (Engl.)
Pa-tou (Chin.)

Other vernacular names

BENGALI: Jaipal.
BURMESE: Kana kho.
CHINESE: Ba dou.
CZECH: Kroton počistivý.
DANISH: Oliekroton, Kroton, Purgerkroton.
DUTCH: Crotonolie, Purgeerkorrels.
FRENCH: Bois de Moluques, Bois de Pavane, Croton cathartique, Croton médicinal, Tiglium, Vrai croton.
GERMAN: Krotonölbaum, Krotonöl (oil), Purgierkroton, Tiglibaum.
HINDI: Geyapal, Jhamālaghōṭā, Jepal gota.
HUNGARIAN: Hashajtó kroton, Krotoncserje.
ITALIAN: Croton tiglio, Tiglio drastico.
JAPANESE: Hazu, Kuroton.
KANNADA: Berada, Danti, Jaapaalada, Jaapala, Japala beeja, Japalada bija, Nepalada, Nervalada.
KHMER: Bat khlok.
KOREAN: Keuloton
LAOTIAN: Kok mak tong, Mark tot.
MALAY: Bori, Chengkiang, Cheraken, Penchahar (Java), Simalakian (Sumatra).
MALAYALAM: Cadalavanacu, Nalavanakku, Neervalam, Valam.
MARATHI: Arabi erand, Jamalagota, Jempal, Jepal, Jeyapal, Jopaala,Nogli erand.
PERSIAN: Bedanjir e khatai.
POLISH: Kroton przeczyszczający.
PUNJABI: Jaipal.
RUSSIAN: Kroton rvotnyj, Kroton slabitel’nyj.
SANSKRIT: Jayapala, Kanakaphala, Naepala, Titteriphala.
SPANISH: Crotoncillo, Piñón de Indias (seeds).
SWEDISH: Krotonoljeträd.
TAMIL: Chiduram, Naganam, Nakanam, Nakakenti, Neervalam, Nirvalam, Siduram, Valam.
TELUGU: Naepal vaema, Nepala vithalu, Nepalavitua.
THAI: Sà lòt.
URDU: Jamaal gota, Jamal gota taza, Jamalgota muddabir, Maghz jamalgota.
VIETNAMESE: Ba đậu, Cây ba đậu.: Name

Tuba is an erect or more or less spreading shrub or very small tree. Leaves are alternate, ovate 7 to 12 centimeters in length, usually somewhat rounded at the base, pointed at the tip and toothed at the margins.
Flowers are very small, borne on terminal inflorescences, with the female flowers situated toward the base of each inflorescence. Fruits is a capsule, ellipsoid or obscurely 3-angled, 1.5 to 2 centimeters long and contains a single seed. Seeds are ovoid or oblong, 12 to 15 millimeters in length and 3-angled, the testa dark-brown or blackish, thin and brittle and of faint odor; the albumen and the embryo are yellowish. Seeds are at first mild in taste and subsequent acrid and pungent.


– Usually planted, in and about towns, throughout the Philippines
– Naturalized in some places.
– Of prehistoric introduction from Malaya.
– Also occurs in India to New Guinea.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) The Tumor-enhancing Principles of Croton Tiglium L. / Cancer Research 25, 1871-1875, December 1, 1965

(2) The Tumor-enhancing Principles of Croton tiglium L. / II. A Comparative Study / B L Van Duuren et al / Cancer Research 26, 1729-1733, August 1, 1966

(3) Effects of essential oil from Croton tiglium L. on intestinal transit in mice / Xin Wang et al / Journal of Ethnopharmacology Vol 117, Issue 1, 17 April 2008, Pages 102-107 / doi:10.1016/j.jep.2008.01.023

(4) Anti-HIV-1 phorbol esters from the seeds of Croton tiglium 

(5) New Developments in Epstein-Barr Virus Research / Constantine S. Umar

(6) Combined effect of the extracts from Croton tiglium, Euphorbia lathyris or Euphorbia tirucalli and n-butyrate on Epstein-Barr virus expression in human lymphoblastoid P3HR-1 and Raji cells / Yohel Ito et al / Cancer Letters • Volume 12, Issue 3, April 1981, Pages 175-180 / doi:10.1016/0304-3835(81)90066-5

(7) Activity-guided isolation of a novel protein from Croton tiglium with antifungal and antibacterial activities / Muhammad Shahid, Muhammad Tayyab, Farah Naz et al / DOI: 10.1002/ptr.2544 / DOI: 10.1002/ptr.2544


(9) Sorting Croton names / Authorised by Prof. Snow Barlow / Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE / Copyright © 1997 – 2000 The University of Melbourne.

Tuba2Parts utilized 
· Roots, seeds, fresh leaves.


– Roots contain tannin, 65%.
– Seeds have a fixed oil (croton oil), 30-56%, containing croton globulin and croton albumin, arginine, and lysine; alkaloid ricinine (toxic); lipase; invertase, amylase, raffinase; proteolytic enzyme, crotone resin, tiglic acid, croton oleic acid, stearic, palmitic, myristic, lauric, oenanthrallic, capronic valerianic, butyric, isobutyric, acetic and formic acids; tannin, 65%.

– Oil is yellow, orange, or brown, according to age.
– Pungent and burning taste, warming, antipyretic.
– Nauseating odor.
– Toxic in excessive internal use.
– Roots, bark, leaves, and seeds possess drastic purgative properties.
– Croton oil is considered rubefacient and counterrritant.
– Croton oil’s property as external vesicant and internal purgative is attributed to the presence of croton oleic acid.
– Differentiation between croton poisoning from ptomaine poisoning: In croton poisoning, pain is felt at the back of the throat, sometime after the poison has been swallowed. Pain is also felt at the anus. Also, croton poisoning is immediately relieved by doses of bismuth, not so with ptomaine poisoning.


· For rheumatic pains of the legs and waist: use 3 to 6 gms of dried material in the form of decoction.
· Pounded fresh leaves may be applied as poultice for snakebites or may be used as insecticide.
· Poultice of leaves applied or rubbed on area of snake and insect bites.
· For sprains and bone pains: Oiled leaves or bark material are heated and applied to painful areas.
· Croton seed oil has been used as purgative.
· Seed oil used for treatment of schistosomiasis and other intestinal parasites.
· Roots, bark, seeds, and leaves considered a drastic purgative.
· Bruised root applied to carbuncles and cancerous sores.
· Testa used for fluxes.
· In Annam, bark used as a tonic.
· In Java and Kelantan, roots are finely shredded, mixed with water, and drunk by women as abortifacient.
· Diluted tincture of croton seeds used as a stimulant and applied in certain cutaneous affections, like eczema, ichthyosis and erythema.
· Seeds, while half-roasting over a lamp or candle flame, is inhaled through the nostril to relieve asthma.
· Croton oil is rubbed on the skin as rubefacient and counterirritant.
· Internally, croton oil us used as a powerful hydragogue, cathartic, and purgative. In excessive doses, it can cause severe purging, collapse and death.
· Liniment used as stimulant and applied to chronic rheumatism, neuralgia, glandular and other indolent swellings, chronic bronchitis and other pulmonary affections.
· Croton oil is used in dropsy, obstinate constipation, intestinal obstructions, and lead poisoning; as a preliminary laxative in leprosy; and as a revulsive in apoplexy. A few drops at the base of the tongue produces catharsis.
· As a blister, applied to the scalp in acute cerebral diseases, to the cord in spinal meningitis, to the chest in chronic bronchitis, and to the throat in laryngitis. Used in lock-jaw and mania.
· In Ayurveda, used as a cathartic.

· Poison: Plant is universally used as fish poison. Pounded ripe fruit is used in Java and by the Dayaks of Bornea to poison fish. In the Philippines, fruit or crushed leaves are similarly used. The leaves are one of the constituents of the Batak arrow poison. The Arbor arrow poison of the northeast frontier Assam is a paste believed to be made from pounding soft plant parts. When seeds are used, they are pulverized, put in sacks, and placed in ponds or rivers.

Croton-Phenol Peel 
· Minute quantities of croton oil with phenol as solvent, diluted in water and saponified has been used as a peeling agent. The mechanism of interaction between oil and skin continues is yet to be fully explained.

Study Findings
• Purgative / Laxative: A study of the ethanol extracts of three Chinese medicinal plants —Croton tiglium (Badou) , Rheum palmatum (Dahuang) and Cannabis sativa (Huomaren)— known for their laxative properties, showed an effect on the rat intestinal epithelial cells providing evidence for the pharmacologic mechanism on the intestinal tract.
• Laxative: An Indonesian study on an ethanol extract of seed showed laxative properties.
• Purgative / Laxative: Study of a 50%^ EtOH extract of dried nuts showed a dose-dependent cathartic effect in albino rats. Results suggest a purgative effect probably through a increase in gut motility via muscarinic receptor activation.
• Tumor-Enhancing: A 1965 study isolated 2 active cocarcinogenic agents from the seed of CT. Both were potent cocarcinogens at very low dosage. Phorbol myristate acetate, a semisynthetic compound from the croton resin, showed promoting activity.
• Tumor-Enhancing Principles:Study of active fractions of croton resin showed a high incidence of malignancy and low incidence of tumor regression. Alone, croton resin gives rise to a very few tumors; croton oil elicits low incidence of malignancy. In contrast, croton oil elicits a low incidence of malignancy, a markedly higher incidence of tumor regressions, and applied alone is notably tumorigenic.
• Gastrointestinal Motility Modulation: Study showed Croton tiglium oil might modulate gastrointestinal motility and induce intestinal inflammation related to immunological milieu and motor activity. Results highlight its folkloric use in gastrointestinal disorders.
• EBV-Inducing: TPA, a tumor-promoting agent, 12-0-tetradecanoyl-phorbol-13-acetate, was isolated from the seeds and stalk of Croton tiglium. Study has shown it to be a potent EBV-inducer in vitro while also decreasing EBV-specific cellular immunity and enhancing EBV-induced transformation.
• EBV-Inducing / Combined Extracts:Combined usage of oily extracts from C tiglium, E lathyris and E tirucalli exerted a marked induction of EBVirus-associated early (EA) and viral capsid (VCA) antigens in genome-carrying human lymphoblastoid cell lines with implications in EBV-associated diseases.
• Antifungal / Antibacterial: Study isolated a novel antimicrobial protein from the seed of Croton tiglium. The protein was found to possess a strong and broad spectrum antimicrobial activity.
• Insecticidal / Anti-Termite / Croton Oil: A home study of Croton oil from leaves mixed with ethyl alcohol showed anti-termite effects and suggests a non-toxic environment-friendly alternative to termite control.
• Antinociceptive / Smooth Muscle Relaxant: Study in mice evaluated the seed of C. tiglium (SCT) for antinociceptive activity with a dose-dependent effect in a writhing test, although weak when compared to aspirin. Study on spontaneous smooth muscle contractions of isolated rabbit jejunum showed the C. tiglium possessed spasmogenic and spasmolytic properties.

Croton seeds, fruit and oil in the cybermarket.