Croton is an extensive flowering plant genus in the spurge family, Euphorbiaceae, established by Carl Linnaeus in 1737. The plants of this genus were described and introduced to Europeans by George Eberhard Rumphius. The common names for this genus are rush foil and croton, but the latter also refers to Codiaeum variegatum. The generic name comes from the Greek κροτον (kroton), which means "tick" and refers to the shape of the seeds of certain species (Gledhill, 2008). 1.0
DESCRIPTION OF CROTON SEED
Croton seeds are commonly known as Turk's Cap (Yoruba; Awororoso, Igbo; Ogwuaki or Aki Ozura) thought to originate from Malaysia. The croton plant is a tropical evergreen plant widely distributed in southern part of Nigeria. The seeds are of a dull cinnamon-brown colour and oblong outline; they are about 12 mm. in length, and resemble castor seeds in size and shape, though, they are rather more angular in transverse section, the ventral and dorsal surfaces being separated by a prominent line. The kernel is yellowish and oily, and consists of a large endosperm enclosing papery cotyledons and a small radicle. The kernel is oily in nature and has an unpleasant acidic taste. The seeds have no marked odour (chestofbooks.com).
A labelled diagram of the croton seed (Croton penduliflorus) is shown below.
Fig. 1.0 Labelled diagram of the internal structure of croton seed 1.1
ASSESSMENT OF THE CHEMICAL COMPOSITION OF CROTON SEED OIL EXTRACT Croton seeds contain about 50 per cent of fixed oil which possesses violent cathartic and vesicant properties due to a resinous constituent and croton-resin (Dunstan, 1895). The seeds also contain the toxic albumoses; croton-globulin and croton-albumin, which together are also known as crotin, and resemble ricin. Croton oil is brownish yellow and slightly fluorescent. The oil is less dense than water and insoluble in water. It consists of a mixture of esters (the glycerides of stearic, palmitic, myristic, lauric and oleic acid. It is soluble in less than its own volume of absolute alcohol, but on further addition of alcohol two layers are formed, the active constituent of the oil being contained in the alcoholic layer. The solubility appears to depend on the proportion of free acid present and tends to increase with the age of the oil.
The chemical structure of Crotin is shown below.
Fig. 1.1The structure of Crotin
MEDICINAL USES OF CROTON SEED OIL EXTRACT
Croton seeds are credited with antimicrobial, antivenom, antiparalytic, rubefaciant and anti-tumor potencies. It is also used in the treatment of cancer, constipation, diabetes, digestive problems, dysentery, external wounds, fever, hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, inflammation, intestinal worms, malaria, pain, ulcers, weight-lost and as contraceptive (Salatino et al., 2007; Odugbemi, 2008; Babalola, 2009). Croton seed and its oil have been used in treatment of wide range of disorders in the past both in pregnant and non pregnant individuals (Oyesola et al., 2009). 1.3
JUSTIFICATION OF THE PROJECT WORK
The results obtained from the proximate analysis of Croton seed oil extract shows that the oil extract is very rich in crude fibres and crude fat, as well as some mineral salts that are required by the body. Although they are valuable in terms of their low moisture content which makes the seed to be easily stored for a longer period of time, the seed is very rich in minerals which include Ca, Mg and K. while these are useful in some important metabolic processes in the body, consumption of croton seed oil extract has been implicated in its pungent and toxic properties asides it use as a powerful purgative. The project work is carried out to characterize the proximate composition and physicochemical properties of the seed extract that makes it viable for use as a purgative used in the treatment of stomach disorders. 1.4
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE PROJECT
On the basis of...
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