Jatropha curcas is a drought resistant, perennial plant that grows even in the marginal and poor soil. Raising Jatropha is easy. It keeps producing seeds for many years. In the recent years, Jatropha has become famous primarily for the production of biodiesel; besides this it has several medicinal applications, too. Most parts of this plant are used for the treatment of various human and veterinary ailments. The white latex serves as a disinfectant in mouth infections in children. The latex of Jatropha contains alkaloids including Jatrophine, Jatropham and curcain with anti-cancerous properties. It is also used externally against skin diseases, piles and sores among the domestic livestock. The leaves contain apigenin, vitexin and isovitexin etc. which along with other factors enable them to be used against malaria, rheumatic and muscular pains. Antibiotic activity of Jatropha has been observed against organisms including Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli. There are some chemical compounds including curcin (an alkaloid) in its seeds that make it unfit for common human consumption. The roots are known to contain an antidote against snake venom. The root extract also helps to check bleeding from gums. The soap prepared from Jatropha oil is efficient against buttons. Many of these traditional medicinal properties of Jatropha curcas need to be investigated in depth for the marketable therapeutic products vis-à-vis the toxicological effects thereof. This mini review aims at providing brief biological significance of this plant along with its up-to-date therapeutic applications and risk factors.
Keywords: Jatrophine, anti-cancer, Latex, Toxalbumin, Ethnomedicine, Alkaloid, curcain, Biodiesel
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