Jamalgota | Croton Tiglium | Health Benefits | Uses | Side Effects
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
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 color.
The plant bears yellow to green colored flowers which are single sexed. Fruits are white, spear shaped and 3 lobed, and harbour smooth brown colored 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
- 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 diarrhea and constipation, edema, 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 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:
diarrhea, severe cramps, burning and tenderness in 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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This article is for information purposes only. Please consult your health care provide or medical doctor before starting any new health regimen or supplements.
© 2016 Rajan Singh Jolly