Jamalgota, also known as Purging Croton, is an evergreen medicinal plant belonging to the family Euphorbiaceae. It goes with the botanical name Croton Tiglium, which is valued as a powerful laxative that has a stimulant action on bowel movement. In the holistic system of medicine, this herbal plant is used in treating baldness, dyspepsia, dysentery, gastrointestinal disorders, intestinal inflammation, ulcers, headache, and pimples. While it is also known for its toxic action and seeds are used as detritus. Thus, its name is purgation croton.
Jamalgota is available in the form of seeds that is similar to castor seeds. It is pungent in taste and has dry, heavy, and sharp qualities. It grows as a small shrub (15-20) feet height and is widely distributed in the Northeast And South Indian subcontinent. The leaves are 2-4 inches long with thin veins and bears greenish-yellow flowers that are unisexual in nature. The fruit is 1 inch long, white in colour, round, and has 3 ridges. The seeds, leaves, roots, outer bark, and seed oil of this plant are used largely for medicinal purposes. The croton seeds and oil can induce blood clotting when ingested raw or taken in high doses and it is also used as an age-old remedy for easing muscle and joint pain. The seeds are poisonous and contain croton and it is blended with cow’s milk which is used to treat constipation after the detoxification process.
Jamalgota kernels comprise 50-60% croton oil and seed oil encompass about 17 fatty acids. The main fatty acid present in the seeds includes linoleic acid, oleic acid, and eicosenoic acid. While jamalgota kernels are a good source of stable oils such as tigalic acid,penitic acid, crotonic acid, and crotonol.
Common Names of Jamalgota
This plant is known by different vernacular names such as Jamalgota in Hindi, Jayapala in Bengali, Nepali in Gujarathi, Nepala, Japala in Kannada, Neervalam in Malayalam, Narchalam in Tamil, Japolota in Punjabi, and Nepalamu in Telugu.
Medicinal Properties And Uses
The seeds and oil of this plant are acrid, bitter, thermogenic, emollient, purgative, digestive carminative, antihelminthic, anti-inflammatory, vermifuge, expectorant, vesicant, and rubefacient traits that are valuable in treating various health disorders.
Topical application of croton oil irritates the skin, and most people use this as a colon cleanser. As they believe that loose stools triggered by croton Tigilium aid in healing skin conditions because this process gets rid of toxins through the large intestine.
In Ayurveda, Jamalgota is used in Panchakarma purgation therapy (Virechana) for eliminating the toxins in the system and supporting better assimilation of ayurvedic medicines. But these days Jamalgota is used rarely for this, instead a safe and tolerable remedy like Trivit Lehyam is used.
Seed Purification (Shodhana)
Ayurveda suggests purifying (shodhana) the seeds of jamalgota before using it for medicinal purposes. The main aim of this process is to lessen its irritant and harmful qualities. The shodhana process includes the below steps:
- Soak the seeds overnight
- Discard the outer coating of croton seeds
- Remove the leaf like cotyledons from inside the croton kernels
- Tie in a cotton cloth and form bag for steaming kernels
- Then add cow's milk in stainless steel vessel and heat it to boil and steam well
- Now, hang the cotton bag with seeds above the milk container and immerse the bag in milk container for 3 hours
- Then take the seeds from cotton cloth and wash them well with warm water
- Press the kernels between two blotting papers to further lessen side effects of kernels. Additionally wash kernels with lime juice thrice to remove the toxins
- Remove the residual croton oil
- Then dry in the sun and store it in earthen or glass jar
Uses Of Jamalgota
The paste of the purified seeds is applied over the scalp to treat alopecia and over the skin surfaces to heal skin infections. In case of snake poisoning, the seed paste is combined with lime juice and applied as collyrium. Furthermore, for reducing sweeling of the body, the paste of jamalgota seed is useful to induce purgation and reduce swelling.
Health Benefits Of Jamalgota
The purified croton kernels are used largely in ayurvedic medicine for constipation. The appropriate mixture that is recommended in ayurvedic manuscripts to lessen the side effects of jamalgota is 8 parts (20 grams) blended with 1 part (2.5 grams of tankan bhasma to relives the symptoms of constipation, regularise bowel movement and improve the appetite. Though purified kernels may be beneficial to treat constipation, it is unsafe to use them frequently, as regular use may cause intestinal discomfort and reduce natural peristalsis.
The topical application of jamalgota root paste is beneficial to heal external and non-bleeding haemorrhoids. The extract is made by blending the fine powder of croton roots and buttermilk. This works by shrinking and drying out the inflamed haemorrhoid tissue. Furthermore, being a natural pain killer, jamalgota offers relief from piles pain. And this is effective only for healing non-bleeding piles.
The external bark of jamalgota roost is blended with jaggery and taken orally as advised by ayurvedic practitioners for increasing bile secretion from the gall bladder and liver. This helps in treating jaundice and reduces white stools.
Heals Skin Infections
Jamalgota extracts are attributed to have potent anti-microbial actions that are effective in suppressing the growth of pathogens like fungi, and bacteria that cause skin infections. It was used in folklore medicines for treating scabies and carbuncles. Always check with your ayurvedic practitioner before using jamalgota for skin problems, as overuse of this extract can cause severe skin irritation.
Unpurified jamalgota seed is likely unsafe and can cause severe irritation and inflammation in the alimentary canal. Also, it can result in following side effects:
- Severe cramps
- Abdominal tenderness
- Burning sensation in the abdomen
While the external application can lead to following adverse reactions
- Burning sensation
The seed and seed oil are used for therapeutic purposes in ayurvedic medicine for treating several health maladies. The therapeutic dosage of Jamalgota varies from person to person depending upon their age, the severity of health conditions, and the effects on doshas. It is always advised to consult an ayurvedic practitioner, as he or she will recommend the right dosage for a specific period.
Jamalgota plant is highly unsafe in pregnancy and breastfeeding. As all of its formulations can result in miscarriage and birth defects in children. Also, it can cause severe diarrhoea in breastfeeding babies, if lactating mothers take it for treating constipation. Furthermore, Jamalgota is contraindicated in the following health problems:
- Before and after surgery
- Bleeding problems
- Abdominal pain
- Ulcerative colitis