Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Croton Oil

Croton Oil is expressed from the seeds of Croton Tiglium, a small euphorbiaceous tree native to the Malabar coast, in which it occurs to the extent of 50 to 60 per cent. The tree has scattered oval-oblong acuminate leaves and greenish monoecious flowers, the male having five petals and ten to fifteen stamens, whilst the female are apetalous and three-styled. The three carpels each contain one seed about half-an-inch long, 2/5 inch broad, of a cinnamon brown colour. The oil is transparent, viscid, pale yellow or brownish, acrid, fetid, and acid, soluble in ether, and slightly so in alcohol. It contains acetic, butyric, valeric and tiglic acids. The oil prepared in England is preferred, and the seeds are imported from Bombay and Cochin. The oil is adulterated with olive, castor, and nut oil. Croton Eleutheria yields Cascarilla bark, and C. pseudo-China, the Mexican Copalche bark. The plants known as C. pictum, C. variegatum, etc., cultivated for their foliage, which is crisped and mottled with red, orange or yellow, belong truly to Codiaeum pictum, a species of a genus differing from Croton in the indefinite number of its stamens. Croton oil acts as a powerful irritant to the skin. It used to be not infrequently employed in the form of linimentum crotonis to inflamed joints. Its use is now practically superseded by other forms of counter-irritants. Administered internally, croton oil is a very powerful purgative, which should never be given, save under professional advice.