Tuba-tuba is an erect, branched shrub usually less than one meter high. Petioles, leaf margins and inflorescences are covered with numerous, capitate-glandular hairs. Leaves are shining, smooth, palmately 3- or 5-lobed, 7 to 12 centimeters long, the lobes oblong-ovate and the younger leaves being purplish. Flowers are purple, small, borne on cymes. Capsules are usually 3-lobed, about 1 centimeter long.
- In waste places at low altitudes in Amburayan; in Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Rizal Provinces in Luzon; and in Biliran, Leyte, Negros, Cebu, and Mindanao.
- Native of tropical America.
- Now pantropic.
- Roots yield a very toxic alkaloid, jatrophine, 4 %.
- Stem yields an active principles, a glucoside and a resin.
- Reported to contain psychoactive substances: protease curcain, the alkaloid jatrophine, the cyclic heptapeptide, cyclogossine A, saponins and numerous fatty acids.
- Latex yielded a new cyclic octapeptide, cyclogossine B, together with the known cyclic heptapeptide, cyclogossine A.
Leaves, roots, latex, bark, seeds.
- In the Philippines, cataplasm of fresh leaves is applied to swollen breasts.
- In Venezuela, roots are used in leprosy; decoction of leaves used as purgative and stomachic.
- Latex used on ulcers.
- In Antilles, leaves are used as febrifuge for intermittent fevers.
- Decoction of bark used as emmenagogue.
- Leaves applied to boils and carbuncles, eczema and itches.
- In the Gold Coast, leaves and seeds used as purgative.
- Leaves are boiled and used as baths for fevers.
- Juice used for sores on babies' tongues.
- In the Gold Coast, the pith of old, thick stems yield a yellowish, brown substance which is placed in a clean cloth and squeezed into the nostrils, causing the patient to sneeze and cure the headache.
- Decoction of leaves used for venereal disease and as blood purifier.
- Seeds contain an oil which is purgative and emetic.
- Oil from the seeds used for leprosy.
- The Madoerese used the roasted seeds as purgative.
- Illuminant: Seeds contain 36% oil; used as an illuminant in Africa.
- Fire barrier / Magical powers: In Africa, swaths are planted around villages as fire barriers. Also believed to protect against lightning, snakes and violence.
• Toxins: Red physic nut contains toxins in the seeds, sap and other tissues which could be fatal to humans. Although, poisoning cases are rare, the use of seeds in herbal medicine should be avoided.
• Hemostatic / Procoagulant: A study investigating the coagulant activity of J gossypifolia stem latex as a hemostatic agent showed it to have procoagulant activity through precipitation of coagulant factors. (2)
• Hemostatic / Safety Studies: The efficacy of stem latex in stopping bleeding from the nose, gums, and skin has been established. Study on the safety of the stem latex on Wistar albino rats showed no adverse effects on liver, kidney and bone marrow functions. (8)
• Anti-Inflammatory / Analgesic: Study of the methanolic and petroleum ether extracts of Jatropha gossypifolia showed greater anti-inflammatory and analgesic activities compared to standard drugs, indomethacin and diclofenac. The methanolic extract showed more activity than the PE extract in the treatment of pain and inflammation. (3)
• Hepatoprotective: Study showed J gossypifolia with strong hepatoprotective action against carbon tetrachloride induced hepatic damage in rats. Petroleum ether extracts showed maximum protectivity. (4)
• Antimicrobial: Study on ten human pathogens showed methanol and ethanol extracts of leaves of Jatropha gossypifolia to have antimicrobial activity against S typhi, S aureus and P aeruginosa. Phytochemical screening revealed phlobatannins and tannins in the methanol extract of JG. (5)
• Insecticidal: Extract from senescent leaves of J. gossypifolia had significant toxicity against Spodoptera litura. (8) Leaf extract showed insecticidal activity against second instar of Spodoptera exigua. (9)
• Analgesic / Neuropharmacologic / Anti-Diarrheal / Fruits: In vitro study evaluated a methanol extract of fruits. Results showed highly significant analgesic activity by acetic acid induced writhing inhibition test. It showed significant sedative effect and highly significant anxiolytic activity. It also showed highly significant anti-diarrheal activity. (12)
• Antimicrobial / Anti-Inflammatory / Bark: Study evaluated J. gossypifolia bark extracts for antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory potential. The methanol extract showed prominent antimicrobial activity. Both methanol and petroleum ether extracts significantly reduced carrageenan-induced paw edema in rats. (13)