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Tincture of ripe seeds
Plantae; Spermatophyta, Angiospermae - Flowering Plants; Dicotyledonae; Rosiflorae / Rosidae; Euphorbiales; Euphorbiaceae - Spurge Family
Proved and introduced by C. Hering 1848
Description of the substance
Jatropha curcas or Barbados nut or Physic nut is a poisonous shrub belonging to the Euphorbiaceae or spurge family. The plant, originating in Central America, is mainly grown in Asia and in Africa, where it is known as Pourghère. It is resistent to a high degree of aridity and as such does not compete with food crops. Moreover, its cultivation is uncomplicated. It thrives on a mere 250 mm of rain a year and only during its first two years does it need to be watered in the closing days of the dry season. Ploughing and planting are not needed regularly as this shrub has a life expectancy of approximately forty years. The use of pesticides and other polluting substances is no longer called for, thanks to the pesticidal and fungicidal properties of the plant.
The oily seeds are processed into oil, which may be directly used to fuel combustion engines or may be subjected to transesterification to produce biodiesel. Jatropha oil is not suitable for human consumption. A colourant can also be derived from the seed.
In the early 1990s, a growth trial in Nicaragua covering 2,000 hectares did not live up to expectations, yielding only a disappointing 200 litres of Jatropha oil per hectare. However, Jatropha is well able to yield as much as 1,900 litres of diester per hectare, largely exceeding the capacity of rapeseed.
Jatropha curcas seedIf just 3 per cent of Africa was planted with this crop, the revenue would easily run into tens of billions of euros. India is now preparing for the planting of 40 million hectares with Jatropha, and has done intensive testing of this biofuel. Three Mercedeses powered by Jatropha diesel have already put some 30,000 kilometres behind them. The project is supported by DaimlerChrysler and by the German Association for Investment and Development (Deutschen Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft, DEG).
questo arbusto così prolifico si trova lungo i grandi fiumi d'America del sud, nella zona tropicale, ed è utilizzato per creare ombra nei campi di vaniglia. le foglie assomigliano a quelle dell'edera, i fiori si aprono tutto l'anno in piccoli ombrelli verdastri, terminali o ascellari. questa pianta contiene un lattice maleodorante in abbondanza. i suoi semi neri fuoriescono da capsule rotonde, sono della grandezza di un fagiolo e contengono una toxoalbumina, la curcina e olio dagli effetti drastici, detto "oleum infernali". il lattice provoca violente irritazioni cutanee. l'effetto tossico di questo seme è molto superiore a quello del ricino. dosando questo olio con grande precauzione è possibile servirsene contro le stasi acquose, i depositi di acido urico.