Croton megalocarpus , is a plant species in the family Euphorbiaceae. A fast-growing tree, croton grows up to 36 meters high and reaches maturity after five to seven years. Croton is commonly found in forests and on rural farms as a boundary tree. It is a drought-resistant tree that can survive in harsh climatic conditions and is not browsed by animals. It is a dominant upper canopy tree with a flat crown.

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Croton megalocarpus C. The potential of C. The extensive literature survey revealed that C. The species is used as herbal medicine for diseases and ailments such as colds, cough, respiratory diseases, fever and malaria, gastro-intestinal tract diseases, wounds, intestinal worms and as ethnoveterinary medicine.

Multiple classes of phytochemicals such as alkaloids, clerodane diterpenoids, fatty acids, flavones, flavonoids, glycosides, phenols, reducing sugars, saponins, sterols, tannins and triterpenoids have been isolated from the species.

Scientific studies on C. Croton megalocarpus Hutch. Croton megalocarpus is a multipurpose tree used as a source of timber, firewood, medicine and auxillary plant. The tree is commonly planted as an ornamental or shade tree in villages, also used as a shade-bearer on coffee plantations and other crops and has been used as a boundary marker of home gardens and agricultural fields for centuries 1 , 2.

Croton megalocarpus has gained interest for large-scale planting programmes as a commercial poultry feed and biofuel crop with low agro-ecological demands mainly in Kenya and Tanzania 2. The ground seeds of C. As traditional herbal medicine, C. Croton megalocarpus is considered a priority medicinal plant species in Kenya 3 and conserved on farm or deliberately allowed to persist when wild habitats are converted into agricultural lands.

Croton megalocarpus is traded in herbal medicine muthi markets in Thika and Nairobi, Kenya 4 and the bark of the species is commercially collected as traditional medicine for sale in Uganda 5. It is against this background that the current study was undertaken, aimed at assessing if there is correlation between the ethnomedicinal uses of C.

The present review collates the fragmented information on traditional uses, phytochemistry and pharmacology of the species. It is hoped that this information will highlight the importance of C. Chemical database sites such as ChemSpider and PubChem were used as sources of chemical structures of the documented compounds. Additional literature, including pre-electronic literature such as dissertations, theses, international journal articles, scientific reports from international, regional and national organizations, conference papers and books were sourced from the University of Fort Hare library in South Africa.

This review draws heavily on the research results published in international journals 60 , books four , book chapters three , dissertations, theses and websites two each , conference proceedings and scientific reports from international organizations one each. Botanical profile, taxonomy and distribution of Croton megalocarpus : The genus name " Croton " was derived from a Greek word "kroton", a tick, referring to thick smooth seeds, a common feature of most Croton species which belong to the Crotonoideae subfamily of the Euphorbiaceae family 6 - 8.

The synonym of C. Research by Maroyi 2 revealed that C. Croton megalocarpus is a medium sized to a fairly large monoecious or occasionally dioecious tree up to 35 m tall with a cylindrical, branchless bole up to 20 m tall and 1 m in diameter with a spreading and flat crown 11 , The bark is pale to dark grey in colour and smooth when young, slightly rough, cracking and longitudinally fissured in older trees 11 , The leaf blade is elliptic-ovate to ovate-lanceolate in shape, shortly acuminate, entire at the apex and cordulate at the base with two to four sessile or shortly stipitate basal glands on the under surface or near the petiole apex 10 , The inflorescence is an upright, terminal raceme, 7.

The fruit is ellipsoid-ovoid to subglobose with a woody endocarp, Ethnomedicinal uses of Croton megalocarpus : The bark, leaves and roots of C.

A total of 41ethnomedicinal uses of C. Croton megalocarpus is mainly used to treat colds, cough, respiratory diseases ten citations , fever, malaria, ethnoveterinary diseases, ailments with nine citations each , gastro-intestinal tract diseases eight citations , wounds four citations and intestinal worms with three citations Fig.

Some of these diseases or ailments treated by C. In Kenya, the root decoction of C. Leaf decoction is used as herbal medicine for diabetes, intestinal worms, pneumonia, respiratory problems and whooping cough 21 , 23 , 37 , while root bark decoction or leaf sap or a mixture of bark and leaves is applied on wounds 19 , 20 , Bark and leaf decoction of C. In Tanzania, bark decoction of C. The resource limited farmers in East Africa, use bark, leaf and root decoctions of C.

In Kenya, bark decoction of C. Phytochemistry: Many researchers have investigated the phytochemical constituents of C. Phytochemical screening of C. Research by Addae-Mensah et al. The clerodane diterpenoids have been evaluated for many pharmacological principles and have been found to be potentially useful as antitumor, antiviral, antimicrobial, antipeptic ulcer, antifungal, antifeedant, insecticidal and psychotropic properties Other compounds isolated from the stem bark of C.

Croton megalocarpus seed oil contain saturated fatty acid s such as la uric acid , myristic acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid and arachidic acid Table 3. Monounsaturated fatty acid s isolated from seed oil of C. Some of the monounsaturated fatty acid s isolated from C. Very long fatty acid chains present in C.

Pharmacological activities: A number of pharmacological activities of C. Such pharmacological activities include antibacterial 54 , 55 , antifungal 42 , anti-inflammatory 54 , antinociceptive 56 , antioxidant 54 , molluscicidal 43 , 57 , wound healing 44 and Epstein-Barr virus-activating potency Antibacterial: Matu and van Staden 54 evaluated antibacterial activities of aqueous, hexane and methanol extracts of leaves, roots and stem bark of C.

Similarly, Kariuki et al. The activity of the water extracts was the highest, followed by ethanol and chloroform extracts, respectively The documented antibacterial activities of C. Ouattara et al. Research by Borges et al. Duric et al. These results support the traditional use of C. Antifungal: Kiswii et al. Both extracts showed antifungal activity with minimum inhibition concentration MIC and minimum fungicidal concentration MFC values of The documented antifungal activities of C.

Lall et al. Similarly, Nisar et al. Anti-inflammatory: Matu and van Staden 54 , evaluated anti-inflammatory activities of aqueous, hexane and methanol extracts of C.

All the extracts showed some anti-inflammatory activities, with methanolic root extract displaying the highest inhibition of cyclooxygenase at a level of The anti-inflammatory activities of C. Lin et al. This study therefore, demonstrated that betulin possess analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects which may be related to decreasing the levels of MDA and NO in the edema paw by increasing the activities of antioxidant enzymes in the liver. Nirmal et al. Singh et al. Research by Zhao et al. These findings by Zhao et al.

The documented anti-inflammatory activities of C. Antinociceptive: Gichui 56 evaluated the antinociceptive activities of C. The nociceptive tests used by Gichui 56 were the writhing, tail flick and the formalin tests using Swiss albino mice of both sexes in a randomized design.

In the tail flick test, the mice were injected intraperitoneally with doses of the plant extract, morphine and the vehicle. In the formalin test, the mice were injected with doses of the plant extract, morphine, aspirin and the vehicle.

In the writhing test, all the doses of the plant extract exhibited antinociceptive effects compared to the vehicle.

In the late phase, all the doses of the plant extract exhibited antinociceptive effects compared to the vehicle The observed antinociceptive properties of C. These results showed that the extracts of C. Wound healing: Wambugu and Waweru 44 evaluated wound healing potential of ethanolic extract of C. Percentage wound contraction was determined at 3 day intervals and a histopathology examination of wound tissue was done on day 10 of post application of the extracts to evaluate the different stages of wound healing in the different treatment groups.

The observed wound healing properties of C. Ebeling et al. Mechanistical studies carried out by Ebeling 70 showed that betulin and lupeol transiently upregulated pro-inflammatory cytokines, chemokines and cyclooxygenase-2 on gene and protein level. In a previous research, Lewinska et al. Linolenic acid ameliorated the process of wound healing as judged by improved migration of fibroblasts to the wounding area Wound healing properties of C.

Molluscicidal: Waiganjo et al. Similarly, Kindiki et al. Both aqueous and methanol extracts of C. Based on the molluscicidal activities demonstrated by C. Other activities: Mwangi et al. Preliminary evaluation of C.

There are several gaps in the understanding of correlation between ethnomedicinal uses and pharmacological properties of C. Although contemporary research involving C. There is not yet enough systematic data regarding the phytochemistry, pharmacological properties, pharmacokinetics and clinical research on C. Clinical research should be carried out to evaluate the possible therapeutic effects and investigate any side effects and toxicity of C.

The antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antinociceptive, molluscicidal, wound healing , toxicity and Epstein-Barr virus-activating potency of C.


The generous tree

Croton megalocarpus Hutch. Email this to a friend Print Share on facebook Tweet this. Showing 0 of 0 comments. Croton megalocarpus 1, tree habit; 2, flowering twig; 3, seeds. Redrawn and adapted by Achmad Satiri Nurhaman. Croton megalocarpus Croton eleuteria x - 20k - jpg en. Croton megalocarpus


Croton megalocarpus Hutch. in Tropical Africa: Phytochemistry, Pharmacology and Medicinal Potential

We are working on a subset of plants in the PFAF database identified as having the most potential for inclusion in such designs. We are adding search terms and icons to those plants pages, and providing a range of search options aligned to categories of plants and crop yields, with Help facilities including videos. Indigenous to Sub-Saharan Africa, Croton megalocarpus is a fast growing deciduous tree that reaches up to 36 m high upon maturity. The bark is dark grey or pale brown in colour. The leaves are long and oval-shaped.


Croton megalocarpus

We are reopening the gardens for limited numbers of people who can get to us safely and enjoy the fresh air. You must book a time slot in advance to visit Kew Gardens or Wakehurst. You can still visit Virtual Kew or donate today to help protect the future of Kew. Discover Croton megalocarpus — the multipurpose tree in Africa. By Dr Moses K Langat. Biofuels, cosmetics, fertilisers and livestock feed are just some of the valuable commercial products produced from the nuts of the African tree Croton megalocarpus.


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Burrows, J. Page Includes a picture. Dowsett-Lemaire, F. The flora and phytogeography of the evergreen forests of Malawi.

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