Crotons are plants which grow from underground. They have been used since ancient times as medicinal herbs and even as food. Today they are still widely used in folk medicine. They are native to Europe and Asia and have become popular around the world due to their ability to produce vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, essential fatty acids and other beneficial compounds.
The word “croton” comes from the Latin word cristatus meaning “crab”. These plants belong to the family of Asteraceae (a group of flowering plants). There are over 500 species of these plants worldwide.
Croton plants are found in almost every region of the world, but especially in temperate climates where they thrive. Some common names include crab apple, crabapple or crab apple tree. They have been cultivated for centuries and are now grown commercially throughout most of the world. Croton trees may reach heights up to 30 feet tall and spread out along fences, walls and trellises.
The leaves are shaped like maple and are 3-5 inches long and 2-4 inches wide with a pointed tip. The leaves are usually shiny, dark green and smooth on the top surface, but hairy and a bit rough on the bottom. They grow alternately on straight, slender stems. The trunk is thick and strong with few branches.
They grow quite rapidly in warm conditions. Most croton varieties have red flowers, but there are some which have yellow, purple or white flowers. They bloom throughout the year, but the peak blooming period is during spring and summer.
Crotons have many traditional health benefits. They are used in herbal medicine to treat a wide variety of conditions including skin irritations, nerve pain, fungal infections, muscular aches and more. They can be taken internally as well as applied topically to the skin for treatment of skin diseases. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, it is also used to treat sunburns.
It is one of the most commonly used herbs in traditional medicine.
The leaves, bark and roots of this plant are used to make medicine. It can be prepared as a decoction, infusion, tincture, powder or ointment. The fresh or dried leaves are used to prepare tea and taken by mouth for stomach ulcers, heartburn, liver disease, hemorrhoids and other conditions. The dried roots are used for skin diseases such as eczema and psoriasis.
The inner bark of the croton plant is used to treat nerve conditions such as sciatica, numbness, tingling and paralysis. In some cases, it is also used to relieve pain during childbirth. It is also used to treat fungal infections of the mouth and throat. The oil from the seeds of this plant is used to treat earache.
Crotons are used to prepare medicines, food, drinks and other products. The seeds can be chewed like chewing tobacco or made into candies. They are also used to flavor beer and liquors. In some regions of the world, the dried leaves are smoked like tobacco for smoking supplies.
Some of the other common names of this plant are all heal, scarlet bush and Spanish flag (the latter referring to its red, white and green leaves).
If you are interested in preparing Croton Tea, here’s what you need:
1. Dried leaves of the croton tree (amount needed varies)
3. Container for decoction
4. Stove or hot plate
Here’s what you do:
1. Put the dried leaves in a container and cover with water.
2. Bring the water to a rolling boil for five minutes.
Let it steep for 10-15 minutes (the water should be a light brown).
3. Strain the tea into a cup and drink warm or let it cool to drink later.
You can also put the leaf and water mixture in the refrigerator and drink it cold.
It is best to just drink the tea on an empty stomach and you can take 2-3 cups per day.
It really is that simple to prepare!
The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should check with your health care professional before starting any vitamin or supplement program.
Sources & references used in this article:
Effects on catchment water balance from the management of Pinus plantations on the coastal lowlands of south‐east Queensland, Australia by KA Bubb, JT Croton – Hydrological Processes, 2002 – Wiley Online Library
The influence of shading levels on foliage plant growth and quality by S Freud, R Friedman, K Kane, MA Principe – New York, NY: New York City …, 2003
Taspine is the cicatrizant principle in Sangre de Grado extracted from Croton lechleri by D Scuderi, A Li Rosi, C Cassaniti, A Paratore… – … System Management …, 2007 – actahort.org
Studies on the Pruning and Harvesting Systems of a Thai Medicinal Plant, Plau-Noi Tree (Croton sublyratus) KURZ by AJ Vaisberg, M Milla, M del Carmen Planas… – Planta …, 1989 – thieme-connect.com
Biased sex ratios in the dioecious annual Croton texensis (Euphorbiaceae) are not due to environmental sex determination by E MATSUNAGA, C DOMETHONG… – Japanese Journal of …, 1990 – jstage.jst.go.jp
Crofelemer, an antisecretory antidiarrheal proanthocyanidin oligomer extracted from Croton lechleri, targets two distinct intestinal chloride channels by KL Decker, D Pilson – American Journal of Botany, 2000 – Wiley Online Library
The Growth Form of Croton pullei (Euphorbiaceae) ‐ Functional Morphology and Biomechanics of a Neotropical Liana by L Tradtrantip, W Namkung, AS Verkman – Molecular pharmacology, 2010 – ASPET
Doveweeds (Croton Spp.): Section 7.4. 2, US Army Corps of Engineers Wildlife Resources Management Manual by F Gallenmüller, U Müller, N Rowe, T Speck – Plant Biology, 2001 – Wiley Online Library