CROTON OIL-PURGING NUT. (Croton-kpwrov, kroton, a tick, which the seeds are supposed to resemble.).
Croton oil, we, as well as the old school, obtain from the seeds of the India and Ceylon Croton tiglium, is largely adulterated as found in commerce. While we use the seeds only, we can remember that “the purgative principle of the oil exists in all parts of Croton tiglium” (Bartholow), and as one author puts it, “every part-wood, leaves and fruit-seems to participate equally in the energy.”
The first provings were made by Dr. Hermann, of Germany, and for our use one part, by weight, of alcohol (87 percent.), making our strongest preparation, or tincture, strictly speaking, the 1st.
Croton tig. is a powerful hydrogogue cathartic and in certain susceptible persons has produced diarrhoea when rubbed on the skin. When applied on the skin, by friction, it excites inflammation and causes an eruption of small vesicles and pustules, with inflamed areolae.
In the eye Croton tig. is useful in pustular conjunctivitis (76) and even for ulcers on the cornea (77), characterized by excessive photophobia, super-ciliary pain and an eruption on the lids, about the eyes and on the face (77). It has a ciliary neuralgia (75), with the sensation as if a string were pulling the eyeballs back into the head (77).
In the abdomen under Croton tig., we find gurgling (11) and swashing, as if there were nothing but water in the intestines, and when the patient has a movement, he is convinced that there was nothing but water there and that it was under high pressure. The diarrhoea is characterized by a sudden griping in the abdomen, which demands instant attendance at, and is relieved by stools (61). The are watery and yellow, with sudden expulsion; passed with a gush (59), “coming out like a shot” (Hering).
There is great aggravation from taking anything into the stomach and the stool occurs immediately after eating (57) or drinking (57); solids or liquids seem to pass right through one; it is as though water were passed through a twisted tube that was open at both ends, with the added sensation of a gripe as the fluid passed each bend in the tube. In an artist were to represent the Croton tig. condition, he would picture the patient as partaking of nourishment while sitting at stool. Associated with the diarrhoea we may have nausea and vomiting, sometimes with pain following the colon down to the rectum, or possibly the stool may be painless, but always with the aggravation after eating and drinking and the sudden expulsion.
Croton tig. has a symptom found in nursing women who have very sore nipples, where there is excruciating pain running from the nipple back to the scapula on nursing (146).
The eruption on the skin, caused by and cured by Croton tig., is vesicular at first and later pustular, with painful burning and redness, very like herpes and especially like herpes zoster (114), and Dearborn says the itching and burning are worse from “washing (65) and exposure to the air.” It seems to have an especial affinity for the face and genital organs and it is of value for eczema of the scrotum (164) and penis, with intense itching.
Croton tig. has been my usual choice for the vesicular eruption due to poisoning by Rhus tox. (163), it causing an eruption very similar to that produced by the poison ivy.
I use Croton tig. 2d.