(Synonyms – Purging croton).
All parts of the plant are poisonous but the seeds contain maximum concentration of the active principles. The seeds are dark brown in colour, oval in shape and are of the size of smaller variety of castor seeds. Crotin, a toxalbumin and crotonoside, a glycoside are the active principles. Croton oil is extracted from the seeds which is also toxic, though it does not contain the toxalbumin crotin, which is retained in the pressed cake.
Fatal dose – 4 – 5 seeds and 15 ml. of croton oil.
Fatal period – Some hours to 2 – 3 days.
Action and signs and symptoms – Actions are same as in case of abrus and castor. When taken by mouth it causes burning pain in throat and abdomen with vomiting and purging. It also causes vertigo, prostration and circulatory collapse. Croton oil causes erythema and blister formation of the skin.
Treatment – Stomach wash, demulcent drink, maintenance of circulation and other supportive treatment.
Postmortem findings – As in case of castor seed poisoning.
Medicolegal aspects – Accidental poisoning occurs due to ingestion of croton oil by mistake for some other substance. Suicidal uses occur but are not common. Homicidal use is very rare. Croton oil is used as abortifacient agent. Root may also be used locally with the same purpose. Croton oil is also used as arrow poison.