Tubang-bakod is a smooth, glabrous, erect, branched shrub 2 to 5 meters high. Branches
are stout, cylindric, and green. Leaves are entire, orbicular-ovate, angular or somewhat
3- to 5-lobed, 10 to 18 centimeters long, acuminate with a cordate base.
Petioles are long. Flowers are greenish or greenish-white, unisexual, 7 to
8 millimeters in diameter, borne on axillary cymes, the staminate ones villous inside, the petals
reflexed. Stamens are10, the filaments of the inner 5, connate.
Fruits are capsules, at first fleshy, becoming dry, rounded,
with 2 to 3 one-seeded divisions, 3 to 4 centimeters long.
- Very common in and about towns,
in thickets and hedges along roadsides throughout the Philippines. The name derives from
its cultivation and use as a hedge or fence (bakod).
- Introduced at an early date in colonial history from Mexico.
- Now pantropic.
• Seed has a toxic principle, toxalbumin curcin, belonging
to the same group as croton and ricin. Comparatively, curcin causes
less gastrointestinal irritation. 8 drops of this oil has been reported
to cause severe vomiting, followed by diarrhea.
contains a considerable amount of chlorophyll, reducing sugars or reducing substances, saponin, a small amount of tannin, resin, and a trace of volatile oil. Bark also yields a wax which is a mixture of melissyl alcohol and its melissinic acid ester.
• Latex contains alkaloids: jatrophine, jatropham and curcain
with its anti-cancerous properties.
• Leaves yield alkaloids, flavonoids, saponins, tannins, phenolic compounds, steroids, terpenoids.
• Leaves contain apigenin, vitexin, isovitexin, etc used for malaria,
rheumatic and muscular pains.
• Physic-nut oil consists of glycerides of palmitic, oleic,
and linoleic acids.
• Seed contains a yellow fixed oil,
29-40 %, known as Hell oil, Pinhoen oil, Oleum infernale, and
Oleum ricini majoris; the activity is greater than castor oil
and less that of croton oil. It consists of the glyceride of a characteristic acid, in the same group as ricinoleic and crotonoleic acid, but not identical with either, with an activity greater than castor oil and less than croton oil.
• Lipid composition of J. curcas seed oil yielded unsaponifiable lipids 3.8%, stereo esters 4.8%, triglycerols 88.2%, free fatty acids (FTA) 3.4%, diacylglycerols 2.5%, sterols 2.2%, monoacylglycerols 1.7%, polar lipids 2.0%. Fatty acid composition of seed oil yielded palmitic acid 11.3%, stearic acid 17.0%, oleic acid 12.8%, linoleic acid 47.3%, arachidic acid 4.7%, arachidoleic acid 1.8%, behenic acid 0.6%, (C24:O) 44%. (33)
• Study of roots yielded 13 compounds viz., 5α-stigmastane-3, 6-dione (1), nobiletin (2), β-sitosterol (3), taraxerol (4), 2S-tetracosanoic acid glyceride-1(5),5-hydroxy-6,7-dimethoxycoumarin (6), jatropholone A (7), jatropholone B (8), 6-methoxy-7-hydroxycoumarin (9), caniojane (10), 3-hydroxy-4-methoxybenzaldehyde (11), 3-methoxy-4-hydroxybenzoic acid (12) and daucosterol (13) (Ling-yi K et al, 2015. Chemical Constituents from Roots of J. curcas. The Institute of Botany, the Chinese Academy of Sciences Acta Botanica Sinica Volume 38 Issue 2.) (33)
• Study of various root extracts yielded polyphenols, flavonoids, alkaloids, cardiac glycosides, coumarins, saponins, terpenoids, steroids, triterpenoid saponins, polyacetylated compounds, carotenoids, phlobatannins, tannins, oxalates, phytates, cyanates, VOCs. (35)
• Proximate analysis of leaf (L), stem bark (SB) and root (R) of J. curcas (%) yielded moisture 11.90 L, 5.77 SB, 9.77 R, crude fat (12.30, 16.70, 6.80), crude protein 26.00, 4.70, 5.66, total carbohydrate 36.33, 12.23, 15.00, total reducing sugar 5.87, 0.52, 1.27, ash content 14.10, 11.83, 7.93, crude fiber 17.67, 50.53, 43.33, and energy value (kJ/100g) 1514.77, 907.00 and 602.93, respectively. (35)
• Mineral composition of leaf (L), stem bark (SB) and root (R) (mg/100g, dry mass basis %) yielded Fe 70.33, 61.33, 62.00, Ca 65.00 56.67, 50.00, Na 47.00, 24.67, 31.33, Mg 127.30, 43.00, 80.67, K 1.95, 0.67, 0.40, Al 11.40, 4.04, 3.00, Zn 50.67, 14.33, 26.67, P 4.47, 0.70, 1.33, Se 0.46, 0.30, 0.20, respectively. (35)
- Bitter-tart tasting, cooling
natured, antipyretic, antispasmodic, anti-vomiting, haemostatic,
- Toxic; observe caution with internal use.
- Roots are emetic and purgative.
- Oil of the seed is a drastic purgative.
- Studies have shown anti-inflammatory, antimalarial, wound healing, antioxidant, pesticidal, antimicrobial, anticoagulant, anti-viral, hepatoprotective, smooth muscle relaxant properties.
· Fresh leaves.
· Collected the year round.
· In the Philippines, oil of seeds used as a drastic purgative.
· Decoction of roots used a cure for diarrhea.
· External applications for bleeding, ulceration of wound,
· Dosage: Use fresh leaves, 2 to 3 blades, remove petiole, pound
and extract juice, decoct in water.
· Seeds: 1-4 seeds is mildly purgative; an overdose causes drastic
· Decoction of leaves or roots used for diarrhea.
· Bark, slightly pounded, placed in the mouth as cure for snake bites; also applied to bites of various animals.
· The leaf decoction is also used as a cough remedy and as galactagogue.
· Poultice of bark used for sprains and dislocations. Sap is
used for toothaches.
· Leaves are applied to wounds and pruritic lesions.
· A vigorous massaging of the oil onto the abdomen is believed
to be abortifacient..
· Decoction of young leaves taken for fevers.
· Infusion of leaves, hot or cold, mixed with lime juice, used
as lotion for fevers.
· Twigs used for cleaning teeth.
· Used for scabies, eczema, and ringworm.
· Juice used for toothaches and strengthening the gums.
· Preparation from root-bark applied to sores.
· Emulsion of sap with benzyl benzoate used for scabies, eczema and dermatitis.
· Roots used as antidote for snake bites.
· In other countries, the seed is used as antihelmintic or abortive;
the leaves as insecticidal.
· Roots used as antidote against snake venom; root extract used
for bleeding gums.
· White latex used as mouth disinfectant; used externally for
· Fresh, viscid juice from the stem used to arrest bleeding or hemorrhage from wounds, ulcers, cuts, and abrasions; used to promote healing by coagulating blood and forming an air-tight film when dry, similar to that produced by collodion.
· In South Africa,
traditionally used by the Tswana as laxative.
· In Gambia,
leaves used to make mouthwash.
· In the Gold Coast,
leaves used as ingredient in enema preparations.
· In Southern Nigeria,
used as remedy for jaundice, applied by rectal injection. Leaves used for wound healing. Stem bark used for treatment of threatened abortion.
· In Malaya used as rubefacient. Malays use the latex as vulnerary.
· In the Cape Verde Islands, used to stimulate secretion of milk.
· In Cambodia, applied to sores and ulcers; the leaves considered insecticidal; the seeds considered abortifacient.
· In Brazil,
used as anthelmintic.
· In Goa, root-bark applied externally for rheumatism. Fresh stems are used as toothbrushes, to strengthen the gums and cure bleeding, spongy gums, or gum boils.
· In Madagascar and Guiana as an anti-diarrhetic; latex is applied to decayed teeth and wounds, and used as styptic; the roots given as emetic and purgative.
· In India, applied as cataplasm to the breasts and as lactagogue. Also, used as styptic.
· In Peru, traditionally
used for external wound healing and gastric ulcers.
- Curcas Oil / Illuminant / Lubricant: Used
as illuminant and lubricant. Belongs to a class of semidrying oils and used in the manufacture of soaps and candles.
- One of the Philippine plants (Tubang bakod, Malunggay,
Bani) that has been considered as an alternative biodiesel source.
Jatropha is easy to grow with minimum care, maturing in two years. However,
unlike malunggay which is gaining preferable status over tubang-bakod
(kasla), Jatropha is left with poisonous waste after oil extraction,
while all parts of the Malunggay plant are used.
Toxicity / Poisoning
• Reports of 31 cases acute
poisoning in South Africa involving children from accidental ingestion
of seeds. Presenting manifestations were nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, burning sensation in the throat. Miosis is also a presenting sign. (21) (34)
• The poisonous property of J. curcas is mainly due to the presence of toxalbumin called curcin, ricin, and cyanic acid, related to ricinoleic acid. Although all parts are poisonous, the seeds have the highest concentration of ricin. (34)
• There is no specific antidote. Treatment is symptomatic and supportive. Treatment options are induction of emesis, gastric lavage with activated charcoal and a cathartic to hasten elimination, together with monitoring and observation for CNS depression and need for assisted ventilation. (34)
Study has shown a fertility regulatory effect of fruit of J curcas for
pregnant rats. The pregnancy interruption occurred soon after implantation,
with marked toxicity with extracts given for 10 days. (2)
• Anti-inflammatory / Roots:
Study confirmed the anti-inflammatory activity of topical JC root powder
in paste form in TPA-induced ear inflammation in mice. The anti-inflammatory
activity could be due to several mediators and involve the cyclo-oxygenase
/ prostaglandin pathway. (4) In a study of various extracts of J. curcas, a hexane partition from root extract showed the highest anti-inflammatory activity. It also showed high cytotoxicity towards RAW 264.7 cells at 1 mg/ml. Findings suggest hexadecanoic acid methyl ester, octadecanoic acid methyl ester and octadecanoic acid could be responsible for the anti-inflammatory activity of the root extract. (29)
Study with J curcas, A diffusa and P galioides showed significant wound-healing
• Disinfectant / Antiparastic / Antimalarial
Study of the sap and leaves of J curcas showed the sap exerted germicidal actions on the S aureus, Bacillus and Micrococcus species. Also showed an inhibitory effect on larval growth of mosquito. Study suggest JC could provide a very cheap and readily available disinfectant and malaria vector control agent. (6)
• Toxicity Studies:
Accidental ingestion in children caused a clinical syndrome of restlessness, vomiting and dehydration. A study in mice showed toxic effects manifested as macroscopic anal hemorrhage and death, with post-mortem findings of widespread hemorrhages of the colon and lungs, and and infarction of the liver. (7)
• Coagulant / Anticoagulant Activities:
Study showed the whole latex significantly reduced the clotting time of human blood. Diluted, however, it prolonged the clotting time; at high dilutions, it did not clot at all. Results suggest JC possesses both procoagulant and anticoagulant activities. (9)
• Mutagenicity Study:
Study on five increasing amounts of latex of J curcas showed not mutagenicity activity. (10)
• Phornbol Esters / Toxins:
Phorbol esters are the main toxins in J. curcas seed and oil. In a toxicity study in mice, LD50 indicates purified phorbol esters isolated from the oil are highly toxic to mice and produce severe pathological symptoms. Phorbol esters are present in leaves, stems, flowers and roots and therefore the consumption of J. curcas in any form, oil, seeds, seed cake, or extracts is toxic to animals. In ruminants, force-feeding studies using decorticated seeds caused acute toxicity with dose-dependent 100% mortality. (13)
• Antimicrobial / Phytochemical Screening:
Ethanol, methanol and water extracts of stem bark of JC were investigated for antimicrobial activity. All the extracts exhibited antimicrobial activities and appreciable activity against all fungal species tested. Phytochemical screening yielded saponin, steroids, tannin, glycosides, alkaloids and flavonoids. (14)
• Antioxidant / Polyphenolic Content:
Study showed a correlation between the amount of phenolic compounds and percentage inhibition of DPPH radicals scavenging activity of the extract. Results suggest a good potential as a source of pharmaceutical based products. (15)
• Termite Repellent:
Oil of the physic nut, J. curcas, was evaluated for its barrier and repellent activity against Philippine milk termite Coptotermes vastator. Results showed JC oil had anti-feeding effect, induced reduction in tunneling activity and increased mortality of C. vastator. Toxicity and repellent thresholds were higher than those reported for other naturally occurring compounds tested against the Formosan subterranean termite. (16)
• As Coagulant in Waste Water Treatment:
Coagulants are widely used in conventional water and wastewater treatment. Residual coagulant in treated wastewater has been associated with chronic diseases. Alternative environmentally friendly biodegradable coagulants could alleviate these problem. Study evaluated J. curcas seed and presscake to reduce wastewater turbidity after coagulation. Jatropha seed showed to be an effective coagulant with more than 90% turbidity removal. Results suggest JC seed and presscake as a potential coagulant agent. (18)
• Seed Meal As Protein Supplement to Livestock: Studies have shown that J. curcas seed meal had 58-64% crude protein, with levels of essential amino acids (except lysine) higher than FAO reference protein. Both toxic and non-toxic varieties can be good protein sources for livestock. The seed meal from Jatropha varieties must be detoxified. Heat treatment and a combination of heat and NaOH and NaOCl treatments or extraction with aqueous ethanol or methanol hold promise for detoxification of the toxic varieties for use as Jatropha meals. (19)
• As Premiere Biofuel: Book presents biotechnological methodologies for in vitro propagation and plant breeding for sustainable production of biodiesel. Book also goes beyond the pro-contra debate on biofuels to search for possible sustainable trajectories. (20)
• Oil / Fatty Acid Composition: Fatty acid composition of Jatropha curcas oil from Nigeria and India showed the linoleic acid to be significantly higher than oleic, palmitic, and stearic acid. Results showed the oils have properties for good and quality shelf life, for domestic use if properly and adequately detoxified. (22)
• Anti-Influenza / Inhibition of Viral Hemagglutination Activity: Study evaluated aqueous and methanolic leaf extracts for cytotoxicity and potential to inhibit hemagglutinin protein of influenza virus. Study yielded major phytochemicals including flavonoids, saponins, and tannins. Results suggest the leaf extracts inhibit hemagglutination activity of influenza virus and demonstrates an anti-influenza effect via a mechanism that interferes with virus-cell attachment. (24)
• Potential Anti-HIV Activity / Leaves: Study evaluated the anti-viral activity of J. curcas leaf extracts against HIV isolates potentially resistant to AZT/3TC/d4T. The plant extracts showed effective antiviral activity in HIV p24 antigen inhibition assays. Results showed effective anti-viral and probably entry inhibition against potentially drug-resistant HIV. (25)
• Antibacterial / Leaves: Study evaluated various extracts of leaves for antibacterial properties. Phytochemical screening yielded saponins, steroids, alkaloids, phenolic groups and flavonoids. Various extracts showed varied degrees of zone inhibition against tested bacterial pathogens viz., E. coli, S. aureus, Proteus sp. and P. aeruginosa. Chloroform extracts showed the broadest spectrum of antibacterial activity and maximum zone of inhibition against E. coli and S. aureus. (26)
• Safety Evaluation of Formulation of Leaf Extract Ointment for Wound Healing: Study of leaf extract ointment formulation for wound healing in albino rats showed no harmful or adverse effects. Safety findings can be extrapolated to humans. (27)
• Smooth Muscle Relaxant / Triterpenes: Study of methanolic extracts of stem bark significantly abolished (p<0.0001) the spontaneous contraction of the uterus and reduced acetylcholine induced uterine contractions at a dose of 50 mg/ml. The tocolytic effects suggest the presence of active principle/s which can explain the ethnomedicinal use of stem bark to treat spontaneous abortion. Phytochemical screening yielded glycosides, tannins, saponins, and alkaloids. (28)
• Medicinal Soap / Antimicrobial: Study reports on the preparation of a soap using Jatropha oil. According to BIS norms, the soap can be categorized as Grade III soap and used for general bathing purposes. Study of antimicrobial activity on Staphylococcus aureus revealed that Jatropha Soap has more bactericidal effect than commercial antiseptic soap suggesting Jatropha oil can be utilized for production of high quality medicated soap. (30)
• Bio-Pesticidal / Anti-Termite / Anti-Cockroach / Biodye / Seed Oil: Study evaluated the biopesticidal potential of J. curcas seed oil against termites (Odontotermes obesus) and cockroach (Blattela germanica). Results showed 10% Jatropha oil caused 100% mortality in 48 hrs and 72 hrs and LD50 of 0.64% and 1.24% for termite and cockroach, respectively. Biodye synthesized by sulfonation resulted in a red biodye formation. (31)
• Hepatoprotective / Pesticidal / Biodye / Seed Oil: Study evaluated the hepatoprotective effect of ethanol leaf extract on chloroform induced hepatotoxicity in albino rats. The LD50 of the ethanol extract in mice was found to be more than 1900 mg/kg and less than 2600 mg/kbw. Results showed a significant reduction (p<0.05) in levels of elevated enzyme markers (ALT, AST, and ALP). (32)