Croton tiglium. Croton oil seeds. N.O. Euphorbiaceae. Tincture of the seeds.
THE seeds of croton tiglium contain an inactive oil and a resinous anhydride called crotin, which is the active principal, and is a toxin resembling ricin and abrin but is less poisonous.
The provings were made by chewing the bean, swallowing the seeds, taking the oil by the mouth and by olfaction of the oil. The results were similar in all cases, except that those obtained from olfaction were much slighter and those obtained from inunction exhibited skin symptoms more markedly. They show that the force of the drug is expended on the alimentary canal and the skin.
Digestive Tract.-On swallowing a drop of the oil there is immediately produced prickling and burning in the mouth, tingling in the tip of the tongue, swelling of the palate and the inside of the gums, a bitter, flat taste and salivation with the accumulation of much watery mucus in the mouth and throat, which is constantly being spat out. Burning and scraping are felt in the throat and oesophagus and a pain in the latter on swallowing, as if a ball is being pushed through its walls. There is extreme nausea, amounting to positive loathing for food, burning pains are felt in the stomach, and frequently there is vomiting of bitter mucus, bile or food. The abdomen feels as if full of water and there are sensations and sounds of splashing in it. Stitching pains occur in both hypochondria as well as tearing pains in the situation of the transverse colon, while there are severe colic, griping and twisting pains in the neighbourhood of the umbilicus. There may be heaviness in the lower part of the abdomen with retraction of its walls, Colic is followed by and accompanied evacuations which are sudden and with much flatus. The suddenness of the stools is characteristic: they are evacuated forcibly in one gush, as if shot out, and are copious, pappy or watery, acrid, slimy, foetid, and of yellow or dirty green colour. There are burning and tenesmus in the anus and soreness and burning around it. The nates, where thy come together at the anus, burn and are swollen. The pains in the umbilical region are aggravated by touch, sitting, eating and drinking, and they are more violent when the patient is in a crouching position, as when at stool, than when walking or standing upright. The patient has a sensation of water moving about in the abdomen and a sense of great fulness in the rectum, which presses on the anus and urges to stool, the urging often being so great that the stool cannot be retained, it comes away suddenly with one expulsive effort or without effort and brings with it prolapse of the rectal mucous membrane. Pressure around the navel will bring on colic, which extends down to the genitals and the anus and is followed by a sudden, forcible evacuation. The diarrhoea is accompanied by chilliness in the back and a certain amount of heat in the head and face and is followed by much prostration.
Skin.-When croton oil is rubbed on the skin it causes an itching eruption of small, hard, red, raised spots, or small, yellow vesicles which turn to pustules and then dry off in scales. The effect extends beyond the part to which the oil is applied and the rash may appear on remote parts of the body. It occurs also from the internal administration of the drug. The seats of election are the face and genitals, but it may appear anywhere. Violent tingling and itching which goes on to burning- itching characterizes it, the itching being more prominent than the burning, in this respect differentiating it from the similar eruption caused by rhus with which burning is more marked than itching. It also differs from rhus in the respect that gentle rubbing relieves whereas with rhus it aggravates. Both drugs present a true picture of eczema and the similarity between them is sufficient to make croton a good antidote to rhus. Itching pustules on the scrotum and itching and biting sensations on the scrotum, pubes and glans penis are common.
The swelling of the nose and the eruption on the septum naris caused by croton are instances of its skin action.
Eyes.-The eye symptoms present lachrymation, itching and inflammation of the lids, pustules on the lids and conjunctivae and inflammatory redness of the conjunctivae. The eyelids quiver and the sight is dimmed. A peculiar symptom referable to the eye is a sensation as though it were being drawn back by a string into the brain (paris quad.); this is a clinical observation and is not found in the provings recorded in the “Cyclopaedia of Drug Pathogenesy,” although shooting, pressive and contractive pains in the eye are mentioned.
Ears.-A twisting, forcing outwards sensation in both ears has been caused by croton.
Respiratory.-Croton exercises an influence on the respiratory system. It produces mucus in the larynx, catarrh, hoarseness, and cough, Mucus collects in the bronchi and cannot be expelled. The chest feels hollow, and is sensitive, there are burning lancinations towards the scapulae and in the region of the heart; anxiety and palpitation accompany these chest symptoms.
The urine is increased, and there is burning in the urethra and glans on urinating.
Back and Limbs.-Pressure and tension are felt in the cervical region and in the right humerus, tensive pains in the left hip and thigh, gouty tearing in the left foot and violent shooting pains in the big toes. A crawling sensation occurs in the loins.
Head.-The head is full and heavy and the patient feels drowsy, though he is often sleepless and restless at night. He is better after sleep. Dizziness and faintness with sweat on the forehead accompany diarrhoea. Pains occur in the sinciput, vertex, and temples, with a dazed, confused state of the brain, which makes the patient very indisposed to work and causes him to be morose, dissatisfied and depressed. The headaches are worse in the morning and after a meal.
IN orthodox practice croton has been used as a counter irritant in cases of bronchitis and other diseases of internal organs. It employed in tinea capitis, and when well diluted, to stimulate the growth of hair on bald patches. Internally, it has been used as a violent purge for alcoholics and for lunatics suffering from obstinate constipation, and also in cases of apoplexy.
Digestive System.-In homoeopathic practice, on the contrary, it used for diarrhoea with the characteristics forcibly expelled and sudden stools already described. This kind of diarrhoea occurs sometimes in cholera infantum and other diarrhoeas of children, and also occasionally in adults. THe abdominal pain accompanying the diarrhoea, which pain is worse from touch, pressure and motion, the flatulent rumbling, the sensation of water being moved about in the abdomen, and the painful forcing towards the rectum and anus are further indications for croton. It is a remedy for proctalgia when the rectum is very sensitive to touch.
Skin.-IN eczema, next to rhus, croton is perhaps the most frequently indicated remedy. Itching and tingling rather than burning should lead to its choice. It useful in erysipelas which itches exceedingly, also in urticaria, and in troublesome eczema of the scalp in children. It is a remedy of the first rank for pustular eruptions about the genitals and for itching with or without eruption, of those parts; it is worse at night. It is called for in pustular eruptions on the eyelids, conjunctiva and cornea, comparing with antim. tart in these complaints, and it is useful in purulent ophthalmia with ulceration and hypopyon. It is indicated in otorrhoea when there is much itching.
Respiration.-Croton has proved to be a good remedy for an asthmatic cough with dyspnoea and choking that comes on in the middle of the night, and compels the patient to sit bolstered upright in bed; it is due to extreme irritation of the air passages, so that the mere inspiration of air brings on spasm and cough.
Breast.-Croton is a boon to the nursing mother when, on the infant taking the breast, a sharp pain shoots through from the nipple to the back.
Kent calls attention to the fact that with this drug there is often an alternation of states: skin eruptions alternate with diarrhoea, asthma and cough alternate with skin eruptions, one condition disappears and the other takes its place. When the affection to be treated answers to the descriptions above and alternates with another of the state to which croton corresponds, that drug will be doubly indicated.
(1) Diarrhoea that is forcibly expelled in one sudden gush of copious, liquid or pappy stools.
(2) The same, associated with severe colic and borborygmi.
(3) The same brought on by the least food or drink (aloes, ferr., Arsenicum, chin.).
(4) Sensation in the abdomen as if full of water swashing about.
(5) Intolerable itching of eruptions; allayed by light rubbing.
(6) Pulling sensations: eye into head, nipple to back (while nursing child), abdomen towards spine.
(7) Alternation of skin, diarrhoea and chest symptoms.
(8) Eczema, especially of face and of genitals.
(9) Symptoms extend from below upwards (heat, &c.).
From touch, pressure, motion, sitting or crouching, open air (dizziness and faintness), eating and drinking; summer (diarrhoea), night (asthma and cough); morning (headache).
From sleep, during inspiration (throat).