The important medicinal and industrial properties of Calotropis procera (Aiton) W.T.


Assistant Prof., Department of Natural Resources, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources, Razi University, Kermanshah, Iran


Calotropis (Calotropis procera (Aiton) W. T.) is a spreading shrub or medium-sized tree reaching 2.5 to 6 m in height. It has a deep taproot, 3-4 m deep, and a secondary root system with woody lateral roots that may rapidly regenerate adventitious shoots when the plant is injured. The stems are crooked and covered with a fissured corky bark. The grey-green leaves are 15- 30 cm long and 2.5-10 cm broad and have a succulent and waxy appearance, hence the name procera, which means wax in latin. Compounds derived from the plant have been found to have emetic-cathartic and digitalic properties. The principal active compounds are asclepin and mudarin. Other compounds have been found to have bactericidal and vermicidal properties. The root bark is an emetic. An infusion of bark powder is used in the treatment and cure of leprosy and elephantiasis. The extremely poisonous roots are used in the treatment of snakebites. The leaves are used for the treatment of asthma. The milky sap is used as a rubefacient and is also strongly purgative and caustic. The latex is used for treating ringworm, guinea worm blisters, scorpion stings, venereal sores and ophthalmic disorders, it is also used as a laxative. The local effect of the latex on the conjunctiva is congestion, epiphora and local anaesthesia. The latex contains a proteolytic enzyme called caloptropaine. The flower is digestive and tonic. It is used in the treatment of asthma and catarrh. The twigs are applied for the preparation of diuretics, stomach tonic and anti-diarrhoetics and for asthma. Also used in abortion, as an anthelmintic, for colic, cough, whooping cough, dysentery, headache, lice treatment, jaundice, sore gums and mouth, toothache, sterility, swellings and ulcers. Also, stem fibre used for various purposes, such as for making ropes, to form cheap cots, gunny bags, bow strings, fishing nets, and in the manufacture of paper, pulp and duplicating stencils.