A fixed oil expressed (in Britain) from the seeds of Croton Tiqlium. East Indies.

Fig. 220.   Croton Oil Seeds.

Fig. 220. - Croton Oil Seeds.

Characters. - Slightly viscid; colour brownish-yellow, taste acrid, odour faintly nauseous.

Composition. - Very complex. It contains several fatty acids. Its active principles have not yet been separated. An oily substance named crotonal is said to possess the irritant properties of croton oil.

Dose. - Of the oil 1/3-1 min. placed on the tongue, or formed into a pill with crumb of bread. As an adjunct 1/12 min. upwards.

B.P. Preparation. Linimentum Crotonis (vide p. 516) (1 volume in 8).

Action. - Externally it is an irritant and gives rise to a pustular eruption. This effect is increased by the addition of an alkali.

Internally it is a violent purgative, causing great congestion of the intestinal canal, and may cause death from gastro-enteritis with collapse.

Uses. - Externally it is used as a counter-irritant in phthisis, bronchitis, inflammation of the brain and its membranes, and inflammation of the ovary, in the form of the liniment.

Internally it is given as a purgative in obstinate constipation (1/2-1 min. in pill). It is especially useful in paralysis, mania, and apoplexy, when there is a difficulty in swallowing and a purgative of small bulk is required. It can be mixed with a little bread-crumb and placed on the back of the tongue, and will be swallowed involuntarily. It is sometimes added to castor oil to increase its effect.

One drop of croton oil with 1 drachm of chloroform in 1 ounce of glycerine has proved an effectual anthelmintic, removing tape-worm after other remedies had failed. It should be given the first thing in the morning, and its efficacy is increased by a saline purgative given overnight.

Treatment in Poisoning. - Evacuate by stomach-pump after giving demulcents (linseed, oatmeal, &c), or give linseed-tea or gruel, mixed with mustard, and thus procure emesis.