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.
- 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.
· 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 antihelminthic 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.
· 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.
• Reports of 31 cases acute
poisoning in South Africa involving children from accidental ingestion
of seeds. Presenting manifestations were nausea, vomiting and abdominal cramps. (21)
Study has shown antibacterial activity against S aureus and E coli.
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)
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)
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. curcuas 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)