Hydnocarpus wightiana seed oil
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.
Physical characteristics and composition
The oil is semi-solid at room temperature and does not have a strong odor. Gas–liquid chromatography analysis has shown the oil to contain the following fatty acids - hydnocarpic acid, chaulmoogric acid, gorlic acid, lower cyclic homologues, myristic acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid, palmitoleic acid, oleic acid, linoleic acid and linolenic acid.
The active ingredient that produces antimicrobial activity has been identified as hydnocarpic acid, a lipophilic compound. It acts by being an antagonist of biotin. The oil was used intravenously or intramuscularly in the early part of the twentiety century against leprosy. An ethyl ester of the oil was developed by Alice Ball in 1916  which led to the preparation and marketing of it by Burroughs Wellcome in the early 1920s. This was also used intravenously for leprosy patients often producing local reactions. The oil was also often obtained directly from India by several doctors in Africa, such as the East African Rift. The doctors would locally prepare ethyl esters to treat their patients. In June 1927, Burroughs Wellcome released the commercial preparation, sodium hydnocarpate marketed as Alepol, which produced lesser disagreeable symptoms of pain, swelling, irritating cough and blocking of the veins. In May 1928, doctors reported cure of leprosy in some patients after treatment with alepol 
The oil contains 5′-methoxyhydnocarpin, an amphipathic weak acid. Although a minor component in the oil with no antimicrobial activitiy on its own, it plays a role in preventing multidrug resistance among some bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus. It potentiates the action of berberine by preventing its removal from within bacteria thus leading to accumulation of berberine in the cells. Several berberis medicinal plants producing berberine also synthesize an inhibitor of the multidrug resistance pump of a human pathogen Staphylococcus aureus. Berberine alkaloids, which are cationic antimicrobials produced by a variety of plants, are readily extruded by multidrug resistance pumps. They are constituents of several Native American herbal medicine preparations. By extracting and using hydnocarpic acid only, western medicine could not utilise the action of the other ingredients of the oil which have been now shown to have synergistic antimicrobial activity.
Collection and preprocessing − processing − extraction
Fruits plucked by climbing up to the tree or using long sticks with sickle tied to it. Fruits are peeled by knife and seeds are washed in water, and dried in sun. Seeds are decorticated (dehusked) by mallet, hand hammers or by decoricator. The kernels yield 43% oil in ghani. Also crushed in expeller and rotary. Extracted oil is stored in Zinc barrels and exported
Properties and fatty acid composition
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
|Acid||hy.kurzil||H. wightiana||H. odorata|
|Lower cyclic homologues||0.3||4.6||..|
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
|Refractive Index, at 400C||1.472-1.476|
|Acid value||Max. 25.0%|
Uses of oil
||This section needs more medical references for verification or relies too heavily on primary sources. (February 2015)|
- 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.[medical citation needed] Also used in veterinary practice. Dose of oil, 5 or 10 to 60 minims. Gynocardia Ointment, I.C.A.[unreliable medical source?]
- Chaulmoogra is used in the treatment of skin diseases such as eczema. It is also used for bruises, sprains, sores, wounds, and scrofula.[medical citation needed] Chaulmoogra is sometimes used in the cosmetics industry to even the pigmentation of the skin.[unreliable source?]
- Despite serious safety concerns, people put chaulmoogra powder, oil, emulsion, or ointment on the skin to treat skin problems including psoriasis and eczema.[medical citation needed] Chaulmoogra is given intravenously (by IV) for leprosy.[medical citation needed] This is not surprising since the first drugs used for treating leprosy used chemicals found in chaulmoogra seeds.
- This oil is thought to possess antibacterial properties[medical citation needed] and has been used for ages for treating various health conditions, including eczema, skin inflammations, sprains, arthritis and bruises.[medical citation needed] 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.[unreliable source?]
- The oil is used to make soaps with a musk-like odor
- 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.
- Sengupta, A.; Gupta, J. K.; Dutta, J.; Ghosh, A. (1 June 1973). "The component fatty acids of chaulmoogra oil". Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. 24 (6): 669–674. doi:10.1002/jsfa.2740240606. PMID 4737104.
- Jacobsen, PL; Levy, L (March 1973). "Mechanism by which hydnocarpic acid inhibits mycobacterial multiplication.". Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. 3 (3): 373–9. doi:10.1128/aac.3.3.373. PMC . PMID 4799554.
- Mendheim, Beverly (September 2007). "Lost and Found: Alice Augusta Ball, an Extraordinary Woman of Hawai`i Nei". Northwest Hawaii Times. Retrieved 20 May 2013.
- Simpkin, Alice (December 1928). "The Treatment of Leprosy". British Journal of Nursing: 313–4. Archived from the original on 25 April 2012. Retrieved 22 October 2011.
- Ranganathan, KR; Seshadri T R (1974). Indian Journal of Chemistry. 12: 993. Missing or empty
- Stermitz, F. R. (3 February 2000). "Synergy in a medicinal plant: Antimicrobial action of berberine potentiated by 5'-methoxyhydnocarpin, a multidrug pump inhibitor". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 97 (4): 1433–1437. doi:10.1073/pnas.030540597. PMC . PMID 10677479.
- Lukens, RM (1922). "CHAULMOOGRA OIL IN THE TREATMENT OF TUBERCULOUS LARYNGITIS". JAMA. 78 (4): 274–275. doi:10.1001/jama.1922.02640570018009.
- SEA HandBook, 2009 by the Solvent Extractors' Association Of India
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- Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Bio-Medecine - Rita Singh - Google Books. Books.google.co.in. Retrieved 2013-11-21.
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- "Butterfly Expressions". Butterfly Expressions. Retrieved 2013-11-21.
- "CHAULMOOGRA: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions and Warnings". WebMD. Retrieved 2013-11-21.
- "Chaulmoogra". Herbs2000.com. Retrieved 2013-11-21.