Jatropha curcas is a stress - resistant perennial plant growing on marginal soils. This plant is widespread throughout arid and semiarid tropical regions of the world and has been used as a traditional folk medicine in many countries. J.curcas is a source of several secondary metabolites of medicinal importance. The leaf, fruits, latex and bark contain glycosides, tannins, phytosterols, flavonoids and steroidal sapogenins that exhibit wide ranging medicinal properties. The plant products exhibit anti-bacterial and anti-fungal activities. The paper highlights the ability of various metabolites present in the plant to act as therapeutic agents and plant protectants. The plant is designated as an energy plant and use of J.curcas oil as biodiesel is a promising and commercially viable alternative to diesel oil. The seeds of the plant are not only a source of biodiesel but also contain several metabolites of pharmaceutical importance. Commercial exploitation for biopharmaceuticals and bio-energy production are some of the prospective future potential of this plant. Further reclamation of wastelands and dry lands is also possible with J.curcas cultivation.
Keywords: Jatropha curcas, Biodiesel, ethnomedicine, tissue culture, abiotic stress, renewable energy
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