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Saturday, November 13, 2010
WHAT IS JAMALGOTA? CROTON TIGLIUM: A POWERFUL LAXATIVE AND BIO - FUEL
Jamalgota is the Urdu name for the medicine from the two plants, Croton tiglium and Jatropha curca or curcas. The crushed leaves of jamalgota, Croton tiglium, are mainly used as a laxative for very persistent constipation, and are one of the most potent laxatives known to man. Croton tiglium is native to Pakistan, India, New Guinea, Indonesia and China and grow wild all over the Philippines. Traditional healers use this plant for many purposes, but they have knowledge which the layman does not have and know the doses and mixtures which make plants health giving rather than deadly. Four seeds of Croton tiglium can kill an adult, and 15 will kill a horse. These hakims or healers use the plant for treating gastroenteritis, throat problems, for abortions, eczema and mastitis. Applied externally, the crushed leaves which are the laxative part of the plant are applied to snake bites. The oil from jamalgota contains an insecticide and is a skin irritant.
The oil from Jatropha Curcas is used to get rid of cancerous skin growths. However it can also contribute to them. The latex from this plant contains the alkaloid jatrophine which is being investigated for its possible anti-cancer properties. It is applied on the skin to cure various diseases and as a treatment for rheumatism. The twigs from the plant are used to clean the teeth, and the root juice to treat piles. The roots of Jatropha curcas are used to treat snake bites. The bark produces a dark-blue dye. The tusser silkworm is rather partial to its leaves, apparently. The fruit and wood from this tree is used as fuel.
The oil cannot be used as a food until it goes through an expensive detoxification process so it is an ideal candidate for making bio-fuel. It was used in Madagascar, Benin and Cape Verde as fuel during the Second World War. Now it is cultivated as an oil crop in South America and elsewhere, and the by-products can be made into high quality paper, soap, cosmetics, toothpaste and embalming fluid. It can also be found in cough medicines and is used as a moistener in tobacco. After the oil has been extracted the seed cake can also be used as fertilizer. Because the seed contains 25-30% oil, and the kernel between 50 and 60% oil it makes the plant ideal for producing bio-fuel. It is an oleic-linoleic oil as it consists of 42.8% oleic acid and 32.8% linoleic acid. There are plans to cultivate the plants in Pakistan for bio-fuel as exporting and using it domestically would be very beneficial to the economy.