Chaulmoogra Oil

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Chapter: Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry : Drugs Containing Lipids

Chaulmoogra oil is the fixed oil obtained by cold expres-sion from ripe seeds of Taraktogenos kurzii King, (syn. Hydnocarpus kurzii (King) Warb.), Hydnocarpus wightiana Blume, H. anthelminticta Pierre, H. heterophylla, and other species of Hydnocarpus, belonging to family Flacourtiaceae.


CHAULMOOGRA OIL

 

 

Synonyms

 

Hydnocarpus oil; gynocardia oil.

 

Biological Source

 

Chaulmoogra oil is the fixed oil obtained by cold expression from ripe seeds of Taraktogenos kurzii King, (syn. Hydnocarpus kurzii (King) Warb.), Hydnocarpus wightiana Blume, H. anthelminticta Pierre, H. heterophylla, and other species of Hydnocarpus, belonging to family Flacourtiaceae.

 

Geographical Source

 

The plants are tall trees, up to 17 m high, with narrow crown of hanging branches; native to Burma, Thailand, eastern India, and Indo-China.

 

Characteristics

 

The oil is yellow or brownish yellow. Below 25°C it is a soft solid. It has peculiar odour and sharp taste. It is soluble in benzene, chloroform, ether, petrol; slightly soluble in cold alcohol; almost entirely soluble in hot alcohol and carbon disulphide.



          Hydnocarpus kurzii


Chemical Constituents

 

Chaulmoogra oil contains glycerides of cyclopentenyl fatty acids like hydnocarpic acid (48%), chaulmoogric acid (27%), gorlic acid with small amounts of glycerides of palmitic acid (6%), and oleic acid (12%). The cyclic acids are formed during last 3–4 months of maturation of the fruit and are strongly bactericidal towards the Micrococcus of leprosy.

 

The seeds of H. wightiana contain a flavonolignan hydnocarpin; isohydnocarpin, methoxy hydnocarpin, apigenin, luteolin, chrysoeriol, hydnowightin, epivolkenin, and cyclopentenoid cyanohydrin glycosides.

 

 

Uses

 

The oil is useful in leprosy and many other skin diseases. The cyclopentenyl fatty acids of the oil exhibit specific toxicity for Mycobaeterium leprae and M. tuberculosis. The oil has now been replaced by the ethyl esters and salts of hydnocarpic and chlumoogric acids. At present organic sulphones have replaced Chaulmoogra oil in therapeutic use.

 

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