Calotropis procera

Botanical Name : Calotropis procera
Family: Asclepiadaceae
Genus: Calotropis
Species: C. procera
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales

Common Names ; Calotrope, Apple of Sodom, Sodom apple, Stabragh, Kapok tree, King’s crown, Rubber bush, or Rubber tree, Akund Crown flower and Dead Sea Fruit

Bengali Name : Akondo

Habitat :Calotropis procera is native to North Africa, Tropical Africa, Western Asia, South Asia, and Indochina.

Calotropis procera is a woody perennial shrub or tree with cork-like bark that carries white or lavender flowers. The branches are twisting and cork-like in texture. The plant has ash colored bark covered with white fuzz. The plant has silver-green large leaves that grow opposite on the stems. The flowers grow at the tops of apical stems and produce fruits....CLICK & SEE

The fruit of Calotropis procera is oval and curved at the ends of the pods. The fruit is also thick and, when opened, it is the source of thick fibers that have been made into rope and used in a multitude of ways…....CLICK & SEE 

Chemical properties:
The milky sap contains a complex mix of chemicals, some of which are steroidal heart poisons known as “cardiac aglycones”. These belong to the same chemical family as similar chemicals found in foxgloves (Digitalis purpurea). The steroidal component includes an hydroxyl group in the C3(bita) position, a second attached to the C14 carbon, a C/D-cis ring junction and an (alpha,bita)-unsaturated-v-lactone in the C17 position. In the plants, the steroidal component is commonly attached via a glycosidic link to a 2-desoxy or a 2,6-didesoxy sugar molecule. The features described are those required for toxicity but in addition there can be other substitutions into the steroid nucleus. These can be a C19-aldehyde in place of the more usual methyl group in this position as well as additional hydroxyl functions and sometimes epoxide structures.

In the case of the Calotropis glycosides, their names are calotropin, calotoxin, calactin, uscharidin and voruscharin (the latter two involve rare sugars with nitrogen and sulphur in the structures). The steroidal moiety (known as “calotropagenin”, formula C23H32O6) has one of the more unusual structures. The C-19 formyl (CHO) group is present and there is an additional secondary alcohol as well as the common C3 and C14 hydroxyl functions. The position of this third hydroxyl function remains in some doubt. It was apparently established by the Swiss group under Thadeus Reichstein as being in the C2 position with an equatorial configuration. However, this assignment does not explain some of the known features and behaviours of this molecule, in particular the absence of spin-spin coupling of the two axial protons associated with their geminal hydroxyl groups and the failure to react with iodate in a cleavage reaction which the presence of such a viscinal 1,2-diol would require.
Medicinal Uses:
Calotropis procera is considered a weed in its native India but has also been used traditionally as a medicinal plant. Ayurvedic medicine is a traditional Indian practice of healing. The Indian Journal of Pharmacology has produced a study on the effectiveness of extracted latex from Calotropis upon fungal infections caused by Candida. These infections usually lead to morbidity and are common in India so the promise of properties in Calotropis procera is welcome news.

Mudar root bark is the common form of Calotropis procera that is found in India. It is made by drying the root and then removing the cork bark. In India the plant is also used to treat leprosy and elephantiasis. Mudar root is also used for diarrhea and dysentery.

In India it has been used as a remedy for dysentery, diarrhea and other conditions, and topically for eczema. It has also long been used in India for abortive and suicidal purposes. Mudar root-bark is very largely used there as a treatment for elephantiasis and leprosy, and is efficacious in cases of chronic eczema.
Other Uses:
The wood yields a fibrous substance that is used for rope, fishing line and thread. It also has tannins, latex, rubber and a dye that are used in industrial practices.

Calotropis procera grows as a weed in many areas of India, but it is also purposefully planted. The plant’s root system has been shown to break up and cultivate cropland. It is a useful green manure and will be planted and plowed in before the “real” crop is sown.

Calotropis procera improves soils nutrients and improves moisture binding, an important property in some of the more arid croplands of India. The plant is tolerant of dry and salty conditions and can easily be established in over cultivated areas to help improve the soil conditions and reinvigorate the land.

The green globes are hollow but the flesh contains a toxic milky sap that is extremely bitter and turns into a gluey coating resistant to soap.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.