Croton Oil

Croton oil (Crotonis oleum) comes from the seeds of Croton tiglium, a tree native to India and the Malay Archipelago that belongs to the order Euphorbiales and the family Euphorbiaceae. Croton oil is faded yellow to brown and is transparent, with an acrid continual flavor and unpleasant odor. Externally, inflammation and swelling may occur with the oil. For its caustic exfoliating effects, it has on the skin, Croton oil is used in Phenol-croton oil chemical peels. Used in combination with phenol solutions, it contributes to an extreme reaction that results in initial sloughing of the skin. Once, doctors provided croton oil to patients to treat bowel disorders and other diseases. Since croton oil is toxic, even as an ingredient in some skin-peel procedures, its use is uncommon today. Since croton oil is very unpleasant and painful, it is used to research how pain works, pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory medications, and immunology in laboratory animals.

It was previously used as a severe purgative and counter-irritant in human and veterinary medicine, and is extremely toxic and a violent irritant, but is now considered too harmful for medicinal use. The ancient Chinese were the first to use a medicine called croton oil. European merchants introduced oil to Europe from the East in the late 16th century. It has been used in tumor research since Croton tiglium oil is cocarcinogenic. As a purgative and counter-irritant, his primary uses were.

Croton Oil

The root of the chemical compound phorbol is Croton oil. Eventually, its potent toxic effects caused it to fall out of favor with most medical practitioners. Phenol-croton oil peels became a popular skin-care fad in the 1920s. Pure 12-myristate 13-acetate phorbol, which is present in croton oil, is now commonly used to induce tumor growth in laboratory research. Croton oil, used on the skin, causes burning and redness, accompanied by skin injuries. Just a single drop of croton oil, taken internally, easily results in abdominal pain and diarrhea. It is extremely toxic in large doses. Intestinal inflammation, pain, vomiting, bloody stools and death may result from overdoses.

The United States Navy added a small amount of croton oil to neutral grain spirits that fuelled torpedoes during World War II during the Second World War. In the 16th century, the Dutch brought it to the West. The aim of the oil was to deter sailors from consuming alcohol. To isolate the alcohol from the croton oil, sailors invented crude stills, as alcohol evaporates at a lower temperature than croton oil. Croton oil also acted as a counter-irritant, a drug that aimed to inflame one region of the body in order to minimize inflammation in another. Rheumatism, bronchitis and glandular swellings were included in these illnesses; it was often used as a liniment.

Croton oil is also more productive than Jatropha for biodiesel production; 0.35 liters of biofuel can be produced from 1 kilo of croton nuts. The predominant use of croton oil today is in phenol-based facial peels as an active ingredient. In the novel East of Eden by John Steinbeck, Kate uses it to murder Faye and to inherit her whorehouse. Faye is poisoned, mimicking unintended botulism poisoning, with a mixture of first strychnine (unsuccessfully) and then two drops of croton oil, on a salad of home-canned beans. Kate also poisons herself with cáscara sagrada, which produces the same cathartic symptoms to relieve suspicion, albeit to a non-fatal degree. In In Questionable Combat, chapter 7, Steinbeck also mentions Croton Oil.

In order to tailor the treatment for a specific patient or skin area, such as on the neck or around the eyes, dermatologists, plastic surgeons and other practitioners may vary the amount of croton oil in the peel. Croton oil is used in lamps and in soap in Malaysia. The use of croton oil by an army post’s previous physician is used in They Rode West starring Robert Francis to justify why he was hated by the troops. As a possible cancer cure, several researchers have researched croton oil. In 2005, Rutgers Professor Allan H. Conney led a study that confirmed that pancreatic cancer in mice was prevented by a croton oil-derived compound. Similar findings were observed by Conney and his colleague’s researchers a year earlier using a croton oil compound against prostate cancer in mice.

Nate Starbuck is force-fed croton oil over a number of days in Bernard Cornwell’s novel Copperhead, the second book of The Starbuck Chronicles while being questioned by the Confederate authorities after he was suspected of being involved in the attempted transfer of classified military information to the Union. Croton oil is typically administered in tiny doses of no more than one or two drops due to its toxicity. An overdose can be lethal. Anyone concerned with croton oil must be vigilant because lesions can be caused even by a small amount dropped on the skin. Children and pregnant women should never be given Croton Oil medication.

Information Sources:

  1. leaf.tv
  2. britannica.com
  3. wikipedia