Hydnocarpus wightiana seed oil

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Hydnocarpus wightiana or Chaulmoogra is a tree in the Achariaceae family. The oil from its seeds has been widely used in Indian medicine and Chinese traditional medicine for the treatment of leprosy. It entered early Western medicine in the nineteenth century before the era of sulfones and antibiotics for the treatment of several skin diseases and leprosy.[1]

Common names[edit]

Common name: Jangli Almond

  • Hindi: कालमोगरा Calmogara, Chalmogra, Chaulmoogra,[2] Jangli badam
  • Kannada: Chalmogra yenne mara, Mirolhakai, Surti, Suranti, Toratti
  • Malayalam: Kodi, Maravatty, Marotti, Nirvatta, Nirvetti
  • Marathi: Kadu Kawath
  • Sanskrit: Tuvaraka, Turveraka, Tuvrak, कुष्टवैरी Kushtavairi
  • Tamil: Maravetti, Maravattai, Marotti
  • Telugu: Niradi-vittulu

Botanical name[edit]

Hydnocarpus pentandrus (Buch.-Ham.) Oken Hydnocarpus pentandrus Family: Flacourtiaceae (Coffee Plum family) Synonyms: Chilmoria pentandra, Hydnocarpus laurifolia


In India: It grows Tropical forests along western Ghats, along the coast in Maharashtra to Kerala, Assam, Tripura, often planted on road sides in hilly areas.

Other countries: The tree is found in South East Asia, chiefly in Indo Malayan region. cultivated in Sri Lanka, Nigeria and Uganda.[3]


This is a tree up to 10 m tall,The tree is deciduous and as well as ever green too.. Bark is brownish, fissured; blaze pinkish. Branch lets are round, minutely velvet-hairy. Leaves are simple, alternate, carried on 0.7−2.2 cm long stalks. Leaves are 8−23 × 3.5–10 cm, usually oblong to elliptic-oblong, tip long-pointed, often falling off, base narrow, margin toothed, papery, hairless. Midrib is raised above, secondary nerves 5−7 pairs. Flower s are borne in short cymes or solitary, in leaf axils. Petals are white. Berry is woody, round, 6–10 cm across usually brown tomentose, black when young; seeds numerous[2]/The flowering takes place from to January to April.flowers are greenish white in color,grow solitary or recemes[3]

Trees of the species that yield Chaulmoogra oil grow to a height of 12–15 m and in India trees bear fruits in August and September. The fruits are ovoid some 10 cm in diameter with a thick woody rind. Internally they contain 10-16 black seeds embedded in the fruit pulp. The seeds account for some 20% of the fruit weight. A typical tree produces 20 kg of seed/annum. The kernels make up 60−70% of the seed weight and contain 63% of pale yellow oil (mukherjee). The oil is unusual in not being made up of straight chain fatty acids but acids with a cyclic group at the end of the chain.[4] Seeds are ovoid, irregular and angular, 1 to 1 1/4 inches long, 1 inch wide, skin smooth, grey, brittle; kernel oily and dark brown. A fatty oil is obtained by expression, known officially as Gynocardia oil in Britain, as Oleum Chaulmoograe in the U.S.A.[5]

Collection and preprocessing − processing − extraction[edit]

Fruits plucked by climbing up to the tree or using long sticks with sickle tied to it. Fruits are peeled by knife and seed s are washed in water, and dried in sun.Seeds are decorticated by millet,hand hammers or by decoricator. Kernels yields 43% oil in ghani. Also crushed in expeller and rotary.Extracted oil is stored in Zinc barrels and exported[3]

Properties and fatty acid composition[edit]

The crude oil is of pale greenish-brown tinged. The oil can be easily into white, watery oil. The oil contains three cyclopentene fatty acids.

Table:fatty acid composition of oil[6]

Acid hy.kurzil H. wightiana H. odorata
Hydnocarpic acid 23.೦ 22.9 ..
Chaulmoogri acid 19.6 35.0 ..
Gloric acid 25.1 12.8 ..
Lower cyclic homologues 0.3 4.6 ..
Myristic acid(C14:0) 0.6 0.8 0.4
Palmitic acid(C16:0) 8.4 5.6 11.8
Stearic acidC18:0) 1.6 4.7 ..
Palmitoleic acid(C16:1) 6.0 0.5
Oleic acid(C18:1) 5.4 3.6 21.8
Linoleic acid(C18:2) 1.6 1.8 29.3
Linolenic acid(C18:3) .. .. 31.2

The oil is used up to 15% in medicated soap .The oil is used internally and externally in leprocy treatment and skin diseases also.

Table of physical properties of oil[7]

properties Range
Refractive Index, at 400C 1.472-1.476
Iodine Value 98-103
Saponification value 198-204
Acid value Max. 25.0%
Melting Point
Specific Gravity25/250C,at 0.950-.960

Uses of oil[edit]

  • Employed internally and externally in the treatment of skin diseases, scrofula, rheumatism, eczema, also in leprosy, as a counter-irritant for bruises, sprains, etc., and sometimes applied to open wounds and sores. Also used in veterinary practice. Dose of oil, 5 or 10 to 60 minims. Gynocardia Ointment, I.C.A.[5]
  • Chaulmoogra is used in the treatment of skin diseases such as eczema. It is also used for bruises, sprains, sores, wounds, and scrofula. In England it is recommended in treatments for tuberculosis. Chaulmoogra is sometimes used in the cosmetics industry to even the pigmentation of the skin.[8]
  • Despite serious safety concerns, people put chaulmoogra powder, oil, emulsion, or ointment on the skin to treat skin problems including psoriasis and eczema.Chaulmoogra is given intravenously (by IV) for leprosy. This is not surprising since the first drugs used for treating leprosy used chemicals found in chaulmoogra seeds.[9]
  • This oil is thought to possess antibacterial properties and has been used for ages for treating various health conditions, including eczema, skin inflammations, sprains, arthritis and bruises. Several researches undertaken with chaulmoogra oil have demonstrated that this magical oil has the potential to be an effectual remedy for leprosy. In addition, chaulmoogra oil may be included as an active ingredient in several lotions, creams, balms, ointment, massage oil, lip balm as well as balm formulations for wound care[10]
  • The oil is used to make medicated soaps and musk like odor[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Norton, SA (October 1994). "Useful plants of dermatology. I. Hydnocarpus and chaulmoogra.". Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 31 (4): 683–6. doi:10.1016/s0190-9622(08)81744-6. PMID 8089304. 
  2. ^ a b "Hydnocarpus pentandrus - Jangli Almond". Flowersofindia.net. Retrieved 2013-11-21. 
  3. ^ a b c d SEA HandBook, 2009 by the Solvent Extractors' Association Of India
  4. ^ "Minor oil crops - Individual monographs (Allanblackia-Almond-Chaulmoogra-Cuphea spp.-Jatropa curgas)". Fao.org. Retrieved 2013-11-21. 
  5. ^ a b "A Modern Herbal | Chaulmoogra". Botanical.com. Retrieved 2013-11-21. 
  6. ^ "The component fatty acids of chaulmoogra oil - Sengupta - 2006 - Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture - Wiley Online Library". Onlinelibrary.wiley.com. Retrieved 2013-11-21. 
  7. ^ Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Bio-Medecine - Rita Singh - Google Books. Books.google.co.in. Retrieved 2013-11-21. 
  8. ^ "Butterfly Expressions". Butterfly Expressions. Retrieved 2013-11-21. 
  9. ^ "CHAULMOOGRA: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions and Warnings". WebMD. Retrieved 2013-11-21. 
  10. ^ "Chaulmoogra". Herbs2000.com. Retrieved 2013-11-21. 

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