Jamalgota, also known as Croton tiglium, is an evergreen plant belonging to the family Euphorbiaceae. It grows as a small shrub (15-20 feet) in most of the Indian subcontinent and is one of the most well-known poisons and purgatives known to Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese medicine. 

The more you start to know this plant the more it amazes you. On one hand it is used as an arrow poison by the Himalayan tribes and on the other hand, it is used for the treatment of various gastrointestinal disorders including constipation, indigestion, abdominal distention, and visceral pain. It is used to stun fish but is also helpful as an antidote to snake poison. Croton seeds and oil can induce blood clotting when taken raw or in high doses and it is also used traditionally for reducing muscle and joint pain.

One of the many ironies of nature or just a miracle of medical science? 

This article will tell you more about all of these benefits of the Croton plant and much more. Read on to find out how you can use this plant for improving your overall health, what are its safety concerns and how can you avoid them.

Some basic facts about Croton tiglium:

  • Botanical name: Croton tiglium
  • Family: Euphorbiaceae
  • Common name: Purging croton, Jamalgota
  • Sanskrit name: Jayapala
  • Parts used: Seeds, Leaves, Roots, Seed oil
  • Native region and geographical distribution: This plant is native to tropical Asia. Croton plant is found growing wild in India, New Guinea, Java, Indonesia and China.
  1. Health benefits and medicinal use
  2. How to use jamalgota
  3. Jamalgota (croton tiglium) side effects and toxicity
  4. Anti-dote for jamalgota
  5. Detoxification/ Shodhna of jamalgota seeds

According to Ayurveda “even a strong poison can become an excellent medicine, if administered in proper doses, on the other hand, even the most useful medicine can act as a poison if handled incorrectly”. Consequently, jamalgota, being a poisonous plant, can still be effective in the treatment of several diseases. Let us explore some of the evidence-based health benefits of Croton tiglium plant.

Jamalgota benefits for stomach

Jamalgota is an excellent laxative and anti-inflammatory herb, which makes it the perfect medicine for the treatment of various stomach conditions. Mentioned below are some of the ways croton tiglium is helpful in the smooth functioning of your gastrointestinal system:

  • Relieves constipation: Purified jamalgota or croton seed oil are used for the treatment of severe and long-standing constipation when taken in minute doses. Research studies demonstrate that croton oil extracted from the roots, stem and seeds of jamalgota plant has a potent purgative action on the body. It irritates intestinal lining and promotes the expulsion of stools. It was further suggested that the laxative action of croton oil can be attributed to crotonoleic acid, a type of fatty acid. According to a preclinical study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, jamalgota increases gut motility (contraction and relaxation movements of intestines) to a certain degree, which makes the food pass easily through gut, facilitating the easy passage of stools.
  • Gastrointestinal ulcers: It has been indicated by research studies that purified croton oil is useful for the treatment of intestinal ulcers. Gastric ulcers are caused due to breakage of the internal lining of your gut. Croton oil has healing effects on the cell lining of the stomach leading to regeneration of healthy cells and resolving the condition.
  • Apart from this jamalgota is also effective in the management of intestinal inflammation and stomach pain.
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Jamalgota as pain killer and muscle relaxant

Croton seed oil goes a long way in relieving several kinds of pain and croton extracts are used to prepare painkilling medicines in both folk and Ayurvedic systems. Animal studies suggest that this oil has several bioactive ingredients including phorbol esters, which block pain stimulating receptors in body thereby relaxing smooth muscles and preventing cramps or pain.

The anti-nociceptive (preventing the sensation of pain) properties of jamalgota is not only helpful in relieving abdominal cramps and stomach pain but also it is effective in providing temporary relief from toothache, headache and migraine until proper treatment is available.

Anti cancer activity of jamalgota

Just like most plants, jamalgota has also shown potential for reducing the growth of cancer cells, though it is also known to be a potentially cancerous herb when used without purification or in wrong quantities.  

In an in vitro study (lab-based), purified croton tiglium extract was found to possess potent anti-tumour activity against lung cancer cells, when used in a concentration of 100 micrograms per ml. It does so by inhibiting the proliferation of tumour cells at the molecular level and inducing apoptosis (cell death) of the existing cancerous cells).

Jamalgota has also been suggested to slow down the progression of lymphocytic leukaemia, a type of blood cancer. This shows that croton tiglium has promising biological properties and hence deserves more research as a natural anticancer agent.

Anti HIV activity of jamalgota

HIV is a viral disease that slowly and gradually alters the immune system, making one prone to opportunistic infections. Despite all the advances in modern medicine, a definitive treatment for HIV is still unavailable. So, research scholars are now moving towards natural and plant-based medicines to combat this virus and improve the general well being of HIV positive individuals.

In a series of studies, it has been demonstrated that extracts of Croton tiglium can inhibit T cell (a type of immune system cell) damage caused due to the HIV-1 virus. Jayapala seeds contain many bioactive substances like anti-HIV-1 phorbol esters, 12-Oacetylphorbol-13-decanoate and 12-Odecadienoylphorbol-13-(2-methyl butyrate) that help in protecting immune system cells from damage by HIV.

According to a study done in the USA, Croton tiglium can be used to extract compounds such as prostratin and DPP, which are helpful in flush out HIV from T cells. This will expose the supposedly latent virus, making it easier for standard antiretroviral medicines to flush them completely out of the system. However, more studies are still needed to bring this drug into clinical practice and revolutionise modern medicine with this drug.

Haemorrhoids/ Piles

Croton preparations (mainly the paste of croton roots) have been used for the treatment of non-bleeding piles in Ayurveda. It helps in drying out the inflamed haemorrhoid tissue from the inside, thereby providing symptomatic relief to piles patients. As a natural painkilling herb, jamalgota is also helpful in reducing pain associated with piles.

Furthermore, croton soothes the gut and prevents constipation, two of the most common causes of inflamed haemorrhoids. Thus reducing the risk of recurrence of this condition. 

Jamalgota for skin infections

Croton tiglium extracts have been reported to exhibit broad spectrum anti-microbial activity in various lab studies. Croton oil, stem and leaves have been found to be effective in suppressing the growth of most common skin pathogens including fungi such as Trichophyton and Microsporum and bacteria such as Staphylococcus and Pseudomonas. It is also indicated to be useful in inhibiting the growth and spread of Candida albicans, a yeast that is responsible for causing thrush.

Croton tiglium is traditionally used for the treatment of scabies and carbuncles. However, this herb can cause severe irritation of skin when applied in larger doses, so it is best to check in with a doctor before using jamalgota for any of your skin complaints.

Jamalgota for rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition associated with pain and swelling in the joints, especially hands, wrists, and knees. Croton extracts along with a mixture of some other ayurvedic preparations are used for the treatment of rheumatic arthritis in Ayurveda. Clinical studies report that croton preparations are helpful in relieving rheumatic pain and swelling and improving joint movements within a week.

After 45 days of treatment with this preparation, lab investigations for rheumatoid factor (the marker of rheumatic disease) came out to be negative indicating a significant improvement in health.

Other uses of jamalgota

  • Croton tiglium seed extracts have shown some promising effect on controlling the onset, frequency and duration of seizures in a dose-dependent manner. Though its effectivity is less than allopathic medicines like sodium valproate, which are used for treating seizures. According to an animal-based study, a 500 mg extract of Croton tiglium is much more effective in preventing seizures than 250 mg Croton tiglium extract.
  • Croton extracts are also used to prepare homeopathic medicines for the treatment of diseases such as conjunctivitis, eczema, mastitis and gastroenteritis. Though these medicines are prepared using very dilute concentrations of croton and after detoxification of the seeds.
  • A poultice prepared from jamalgota is traditionally used to treat snakebite and poisoning.
  • Croton tiglium can be used in the form of pressed oil or in the form of extracts, paste or poultice of leaves, bark, stem and roots.
  • Jamalgota can be taken as an internal as well as external or topical application. Though it is a strong irritant and hence, it should always be used under the supervision of an experienced doctor.

Croton tiglium is an efficient purgative but it may cause toxicity and morbidity when taken in inappropriate amount, or in unpurified forms. This is because of the presence of irritant compounds such as phorbol esters in this herb. Unsupervised ingestion of jamalgota may be fatal due to severe dehydration and diarrhoea. Therefore, one must follow caution before taking this drug in any form (oil or paste of leaves, roots or stem). If any of the below-mentioned symptoms develop, contact the doctor as soon as possible.

Side effects caused due to the improper external application include:

  • Itching
  • Redness
  • Burning sensation 

Borax is used as an antidote for croton seed toxicity or poisoning.

According to ayurvedic texts, properties of milk and ghee act opposite to that of poison. Intake of warm water may help in decreasing the purgative action of this herb. Symptomatic treatment should be done to control dehydration, vomiting, diarrhoea, and cramps.

Consultation to a doctor should never be neglected in case of croton poisoning. 

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To reap all the benefits of jamalgota seeds and avoid toxicity, it is important to process it before use. This is done by the Ayurvedic process of shodhana. Shodhana not only reduces toxicity but it also enhances the therapeutic properties of croton seeds.

Usually, this procedure is done by cow’s milk but can also be done by ghee, cow’s urine and juice of few plants. If you are shopping for jamlagota seeds or oil, make sure it is in purified form or look for trusted brands with good quality product.

Medicines / Products that contain Jamalgota


  1. Liping Liu, Hongli Yu, Hao Wu, Xiaolin Yang, Yaozong Pan, Yeqing Chen, Kuilong Wang, Wei Wang, Wenying Zhang, Yangping Jin, Chengchao Zhang, Ai Jiang and Chunyan Xia. Toxic proteins from Croton tiglium L. exert a proinflammatory effect by inducing release of proinflammatory cytokines and activating the p38-MAPK signaling pathway. 2017 Jul; 16(1): 631–638. PMID: 28560398
  2. Zhen Liu, Wenyuan Gao, Jingze Zhang,and Jing Hu. Antinociceptive and Smooth Muscle Relaxant Activity of Croton tiglium L Seed: An In-vitro and In-vivo Study. 2012 Spring; 11(2): 611–620. PMID: 24250486
  3. El-Mekkawy S, Meselhy MR, Nakamura N, Hattori M, Kawahata T, Otake T. Anti-HIV-1 phorbol esters from the seeds of Croton tiglium.. 2000 Feb;53(4):457-64 .PMID: 10731023
  4. Shahid M, Tayyab M, Naz F, Jamil A, Ashraf M, Gilani AH. Activity-guided isolation of a novel protein from Croton tiglium with antifungal and antibacterial activities.. 2008 Dec;22(12):1646-9. PMID: 18844289
  5. Ashok Kumar Panda and Saroj Kumar Debnath. Overdose effect of aconite containing Ayurvedic Medicine (‘Mahashankha Vati’). 2010 Jul-Sep; 1(3): 183–186. PMID: 21170213
  6. Manmath Kumar Nandi, Dr. Narendra Kumar Singh. Detoxification of Croton tiglium L. seeds by Ayurvedic process of Śodhana. Ancient Science of Life / Jan-Mar 2014 / Vol 33 / Issue 3
  7. Meena R ,Ramaswamy R.S. Treatment of UthiravathaSuronitham (Rheumatoid Arthritis) with a Siddha Compound Formulation - A Case Study. . IOSR Journal Of Pharmacy Volume 5, Issue 9 (September 2015), PP. 50-52
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