Jatropha curcas is a species of flowering plant in the spurge family, Euphorbiaceae, that is native to the American tropics, most likely Mexico and Central America. It is cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions around the world, becoming naturalized in some areas. The specific epithet, “curcas“, was first used by Portuguese doctor Garcia de Orta more than 400 years ago and is of uncertain origin. Common names include physic nut, Barbados nut, purging nut, or JCL (abbreviation of Jatropha curcas Linnaeus).
What Is Physic Nut?
Physic Nut Tree is a smooth, erect branched shrub that grows 2 – 6 meters high. The branches are stout, cylindric and always green. This shrub is very popular and grows anywhere in Nigeria; you can always see this in thickets, along roadsides and sometimes used as a hedge or fence. In Yoruba, this is called “Ewe Botuje or Ewe Lapalapa” .
Physic Nut Tree grows in tropical and subtropical areas or regions and can grow on almost any terrain or even on wasteland. It is mainly propagated by cuttings and can grow on poor and stony soils. We have Physic Nut Tree on our backyard because of its medicinal purposes.
What Are Its Useful Part?
Health Benefits of Physic Nut
The seeds contain 27-40% oil (average: 34.4%) that can be processed to produce a high quality biodiesel fuel, usable in a standard diesel engine. Edible (non-toxic) provenances can be used for animal feed and food.
Seeds are collected when ripe and used whole or pressed for oil. Leaves, roots, and bark are collected as required and used fresh in decoctions and poultices. Juice (latex) from stems is used fresh or dried into a brittle brown substance.
The oil is used in the manufacture of soaps and candles, and in oil lamps.
Medical/Healing Benefits of Physic Nut
- Ulcers, bleeding wounds, piles, eczema, itch, herpes and ringworm.
- Scabies and a mouthwash to straighten the gums.
- Boils and sores.
- Laxative and narcotics.
- Oedma, paralysis and worms.
- Irregular menses