Jatropha curcas: A Review


Shivani Sharma1*, Hitesh K. Dhamija2, Bharat Parashar3

1Research Scholar, Department of Pharmacy, Manav Bharti University, Solan (H.P).

2Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacy, Manav Bharti University, Solan (H.P).

3HOD and Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacy, Manav Bharti University, Solan (H.P).

*Corresponding Author E-mail: shivanimpharma@gmail.com



Jatropa curcas belongs to the family Euphorbiaceae. The uses of are various parts of Jatropa  plant are well known to Indian rural population from ages. The latex of Jatropa has anti-cancerous properties, roots act as an antidote for snakebite, oilcake is used as manure, and leaves are used as a food for Tasser silk moths. Forestation and re-forestation of degraded wastelands with Jatropa can convert unproductive lands into productive national assets. Jatropa is seen by many to be the perfect biodiesel crop for India. All parts of Jatropha (seeds, leaves and bark) have been used in traditional medicine and for veterinary purposes for a long time. Uses of various parts of Jatropha in the treatment of disease. Some compounds (Curcacycline A) with anitumor activities were reportedly found in this plant. Substances such as phorbol esters, which are toxic to animals and humans, have been isolated and their molluscicidal, insecticidal and fungicidal properties have been demonstrated in lab-scale experiments and field trials. The seed oil can be applied to treat eczema and skin diseases and to some other rheumatic pain. Rhizomes infusion or decoction is recommended in paraguyan traditional medicine as a digestive to treat rheumatism human gout and to induce abortion. Diagnosis by case history and presenting symptoms. A definite diagnosis can only be made if there is a history of ingestion and the ingested plant material has been positively identified as Jatropha. Jatropha is generally used for the preparation of diesel oil. Jatropha has gained importance worldwide due to its medicinal uses and for the preparation of oil.


KEYWORDS: Jatropha curcas, Anti-cancerous, Antidote, Traditional medicine, Diagnosis.


Jatropha curcas  belongs to the family  Euphorbiaceae. The genus name Jatropha is derived from the Greek “iatros” (doctor) and “trophe” (food)  as related to its medical use. It is known in English as “physic nut” or “purging nut”, in Dutch as “Purgeernoot” or “Schijtnoot” and in Arabic as “hab el meluk[1]. Fortunately, inedible vegetable oils, mostly produced by seed-bearing trees and shrubs can provide an alternative. With no competing food uses, this characteristic turns attention to Jatropha curcas, which grows in tropical and subtropical climates across the developing  world.[2]




SANSKRIT-Kananaeranda, parvataranda;

HINDI-   Bagbherenda, Jangliarandi, Safedarand; 

BENG.-   Bagbherenda, Erandagachh;

MAR.-    Mogalierenda, Ranayerandi;

GUJ.-      Jamalgota, Ratanjota;

TEL.-      Nepalamu, Peddanepalamu, Adaviamidamu;

TAM.-                    Kadalamanakku, Kattamanakku;

KAN.- Adaluharal, Bettadaharalu, Maraharalu, Karnocchi;

MAL.-                    Kattavanakka, Kadalavanakka;

ORISSA- Jahazigaba;

ASSAM- Bongalibhotora,

GARO HILLS -Borbandong.



Kingdom:               Planae,

Order:                     Malpighiales,

Family:                   Euphorbiaceae,

Subfamily:             Crotonoideae,

Tribe:                      Jatropheae,

Genus :                   Jatropha   L.


Jatropha glandulifera Roxb, Jatropha gossypifolia Linn., Jatropha multifida Linn., Jatropha nana Dalz. and  Gibs.,  Jatropha panduraefolia Andr., Jatropha podagrica Hook.



Jatropha curcus L.  is a large shrub 3-4m high occurring almost throughout India. Leaves are alternately arranged, 10-15cm x 7.5-12.5 cm, they are broadly ovate, conate, acute usually palmately 3 or 5 lobed, glabrous; flowers in loose panicles of the cymes, yellowish green, fruits are 2.5cm, long ovoid ,black, seeds are ovoid – oblong, dull brownish black. The seeds are collected and exported for the extraction of oil. The seed resembles castor seed in shape but are smaller in size and dark brown in colour.



Soil and climate: Jatropha curcus grows almost everywhere even in any kind of soil it may be sandy, acidic or alkaline or having  pH  ranging from 5.5 to 8.5. Jatropha curcus donot need any special requirement for the plantation.



Propagation of Jatropha on large scale is done by both seeds and stem cuttings. Cultivation by seeds is done in commercial cultivation. For sowing well developed and  plumpy seeds are selected. Before sowing of seeds, seeds are socked in cow dung solution for 12 hours and then kept under the wet gummy bags for 12 hours. For good germination of seeds hot and humid weather is preferred. Seeds or cuttings can be directly planted in the field.


Seed rate:

In one hectare of field about 5-7.5 kg seeds are required for plantation. If the propagation is done by stem then fruiting starts from 2nd year but if the propagation is done by seeds then it will take 1 year more for fruiting.


Planting in field:

Before plantation of seeds the land should be ploughed once or twice depending upon the nature of soil. In direct planting the seeds or cuttings should be planted in the main field with the onset of monsoon having space between them of 3 x 2m. Actual spacing depends on the condition of the soil.



Two or three weedings are necessary for plantation of seeds if the plantation is done in rainy season then supplementary irrigation is not required. Jatropha is deciduous in nature. The organic matter from fallen leaves increases the fertility of the soil.



Manuring is necessary for the plantation of seeds depending upon the soil nature NPK should be applied near the crown following ring method before the propagation of seeds. Generally the application of super phosphate improves the yield of plant from second year.



Some shade loving crops like tulsi, smilax china and other crops are grown under Jatropha for the first two years. Jatropha plantation gives first harvest of leaves after four months of planting. Short duration pulses and vegetables can be cultivated under jatropha successfully.



In rainy season flowering occurs and the plant bears fruits and matures in winter. Pods are collected when they are turned yellowish and after drying seeds are separated  mechanically or manually. Flowering is less and delayed when grown in shady conditions. In July –September more flowering occurs. The dried pods are collected and seeds are separated either manually or mechanically. Seeds are dried for 4-5 days to reduce moisture level 10% before packing.


Image of Jatropha curcas 



It is traditionally used in the treatment of scaticia, dropsy, paralysis, rheumatism, dysentery, diarrohea and various skin diseases. Seeds are used to treat arthritis, jaundice and contractives. Nuts are used as contraceptives. Bark is used as fish poison. Bark is used as fish poison. Latex is used to inhibit watermelon mosaic virus. Shrub is used in hepatotoxicity and antiobesity. Tender/twig/stem are used in toothache, gum inflammation, gum bleeding, pyorrhoea. Plant sap is used in dermatomucosal disease. Plant extract is used in the treatment of allergies, burns, cuts, wound inflammation, leprosy, leucoderma and smallpox. Water extract of branches used to treat HIV and tumor. Plant extract is used to treat wound healing.


Uses of different parts of J. curcas L. in medicines [3-6]:

Part used



To treat arthritis, gout, jaundice and contraceptives




As fish posion.


To inhibit watermelon mosaic virus


Hepatoprotective and antiobesity



Toothache, gum inflammation, gum bleeding, pyorrhoea

plant sap

Dermatomucosal disease

Plant extract

Allergies, burns, cuts , wound inflammation, leprosy, leucoderma and smallpox

Water extract of branches

HIV, tumor

Plant extract

Wound healing



Antioxidant effect and associated changes in antioxidant enzymes in controlling browning and necrosis:

Shoots of  Jatropha curcus shows anti-oxidant activity, shoots contain higher concentration of glutathione reductase, ascorbate peroxidise and guiacol peroxidise. Shoots  having anti-oxidant enzymatic protective system which determine the ability of oxidative stress and upregulation of enzyme help to reduce the built up of reactive oxygen species. Acetic acid plays a great role in controlling lethal browning and disease incidence of tissue culture shoots. High activity increases concentration in tissue which triggers programmed cell death and ultimately causes browning and necrosis. The imbalance between production and antioxidant defences results in oxidative damage of photosynthetic machinery in chloroplasts resulting in tissue browning/necrosis. [7]


Coagulant and anticoagulant activities:

In the presence of 1 ml (1.05 g) of whole latex, the mean of clotting time was significantly (P< 0.01) reduces from 5.83+- 1.25 to 3.83+- 1.01 minute with a range of 2-5 minutes. Use of control i.e. PBS instead of latex, increasing the mean clotting time to 6.29+-1.28 minute with the range of 5-9. It was also observed that the clotting time increasing as the dilution i.e. volume of latex increasing. So clotting time is inversely proportional to each other. [8]


Antibacterial Diterpenoids:

Japodagrin and japodagrone are two macrocylic diterpenoids having lathyrane and jatrophone skeletons, isolated from root of Jatropha podagrica Hook. This compound showed antibacterial activity against some gram-positive bacteria. Japodagrin was active against Bacillus subtilis and Staphylococcus aureus, Japodagrone only showed activity against B.subtilis, japodagrone showed activity against B.subtilis. Along with this the hexane, chloroform, and methanolic extract also showed activity against gram positive bacteria in agar disk diffusion    assay. [9] 


Anti-Inflammatory Activity:

Methanolic extract of Jatropha curcus obtained from the roots showed anti-inflammatory activity against carrageenan induced rat paw odema. [10]


Pregnancy terminating effect:

The fruits of Jatropha curcus showed abortifacient activity, Foetal resorption activity. The methanol, petroleum ether and dichloromethane extract of fruit showed abortifacient property in rats. 100% Anti-fertility effect was observed when female rats were fed with fruit and seeds. The anti-fertility effect of Jatropha curcus may be due to the presence of cytotoxic agent jatrophone. [11]


Anti-diabetic activity:

50% of ethanolic extract of leaves of Jatropha curcus L. shows antihyperglycemic effect was studied in normal or alloxon induced diabetic rats. [12]


Anthelmintic activity:

Aqueous extract of leaves of Jatropha curcus shows anthelmintic activity against Pheritima poshtuma. [13]


Anti-diarroheal activity:

The methanolic extract of roots of Jatropha curcus shows anti-diarroheal activity in various species of albino mice. The result indicates that methanolic extract of  jatropha curcusin combition of elevated prostaglandins biosynthesis and reduce propulsive movement of small intestine. [14]


Anti-ulcer activity:                              

Methanolic extract of   Jatropha curcus showed anti-ulcer activity by using aspirin induced  gastric lesions in whister rats. [15]


Anti-diabetic and related action:

Chloroform extract of leaves of jatropha curcus at different doses shows antidiabetic activity in albino rats. It decreases the elevated level of serum glucose and also reverse the cholesterol, triglyceride values when compared with untreated diabetic rats. [16]


Gastroprotective effect and cytotoxicity of terpenes:

Rhizomes of  Jatropha isabelli possesses gastroprotective activity. Rhizomes infusion or decoction is recommended in paraguyan traditional medicine as a digestive to treat rheumatism human gout and to induce abortion. [17]


Reported phytoconstituents:

Aerial part of the plant contains organic acids (o and p-coumaric acid, p-OH-benzoic acid, protocatechuic acid, resorsilic acid), saponins and tannins. Stem bark contains amyrinsitosterol and taraxerol30. Leaves contains cyclic triterpenes stigmasterol, stigmasterol-5-en-3,7diol, cholest-5-en-3,7diol, campesterol, sitosterol, 7-keto-sitosterol, 7-keto-sitosterol as well as the d-glucoside of sitosterol. Flavonoids apigenin, vitexin, isovitexin. Leaves also contain the dimer of the triterpene terpene alcohol (C63H11709) and flavonoidal glucoside30, 31, 32. Latex contain curcacyline A, a cyclic octapeptide curcain (a protease)33. Seeds contain curcin, a lectin Curcin, a lectin Phorbolesters Esterases (JEA) and Lipase (JEB). Kernal and press cake contains phytate saponin and a trypsine inhibitor34. Roots contain Sitosterol and its d-glucoside, marmesin, propacin, the curculathyranes A and B  and the curcusone A-D, diterpenoids jatrophol and jatropholone A and B, the coumarin tomentin, the coumarinlignan jatrophin as well as taraxerol35,36 . [18-23]. Seed and oil contain phorbol esters.[24]. Deffated  meal of  Jatropha contain protein (58-66) and phytate) (9-11%).It has 66% phytate and 22% crude protein. [25]. Seed oil contains four fatty acid-palmitic acid, stearic acid, oleic acid and linolic acid. [26]. Jatropha  meals/seeds contain very high quantity of trypsin and phytate inhibitors. [27]. Crude Jatropha oil contains 78-80% of phorbol esters. [28]. The fatty acid composition of jatropha curcus oil is palmitic acid(C16:0),strearic acid(C18:2),oleic acid(C18:1) and linoleic acid(C18:2). Other fatty acids it contains include capric acid, mysteric acid (C14:0), palmitoleic acid (C16:1), linolenic acid(C18:3), arachidic acid(C20:0), behenic acid(C22:0), cis-11-eicosenoic acid (C20:1) and cis -11,14-eicosadienoic acid(C20:2). [29]


Curcusones A–D (1 – 4) [30]


           R1              R2

1              Me          H

2              H             Me

3              Me          OH

4              OH          Me


Lathyranes A (5) and B (5) [31]


5 Lathyranes A


6 Lathyranes A

Japodagrin (1) and japodagrone (2 )[9]


Bio-diesel production from Jatropha curcas L. (JCL)has become a booming business. The JCL oil contains more than 75% unsaturated fatty acid, which is reflected in the pour and cloud point of the oil. The fatty acid composition of JCL oil is dominated by oleic acid (C18:1) and linoleic acid (C18:2).[32]



I would like to thank my parents, and my respected teachers (which I listed above) who helped me a lot to complete this review article.



Jatropha curcas is a medicinal plant belongs to family Euphorbiaceae.It has several uses as a medicinal plant in various diseases like gout, jaundice, tumour, wound healing, toothache, blood cogulation from various ages. Plant extract is used in the treatment of allergies, burns, cuts, wound inflammation, leprosy, leucoderma and smallpox. Water extract of branches used to treat HIV and tumor. Plant extract is used to treat wound healing. Various parts of the plant are used in the treatment of various diseases. The fatty acid composition of jatropha curcus oil is palmitic acid (C16:0), strearic acid (C18:2), oleic acid (C18:1) and linoleic acid (C18:2). Other fatty acids it contains include capric acid, mysteric acid (C14:0), palmitoleic acid (C16:1), linolenic acid (C18:3), arachidic acid (C20:0), behenic acid (C22:0), cis-11-eicosenoic acid (C20:1) and cis -11, 14-eicosadienoic acid (C20:2). Thus Jatropha curcas is a worldwide used plant because of its medicinal uses and is very effective in the treatment of various diseases.



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Received on 26.06.2012          Accepted on 30.07.2012        

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