Hura crepitans L.

Nota de alcance (en)

Ocurrence
Tropical America. In Venezuela the tree is very common in hot regions as well as in the lower belt of the temperate regions.

Ethnobotanical and general use

Economical utilization
The tree is sometimes cultivated as an ornamental plant. The plant is also used as a fish and arrow poison. The latex is fermented before use by some South American tribes. The fruits are occasionally used as sand boxes to  dry ink-writing. The English name of sandboxtree is derived from the early practice of hollowing out the immature capsules and using them as containers of blotting sand. The timber is used locally for interior construction, carpentry, boxes and crates.

Medical use
A decoction of the leaves heals colic. A decoction of the leaves mixed with castor oil is employed to burst pustular tumours. The seeds are a violent purgative (2-3 seeds are sufficient).

Toxicity
The seeds of the plant contain the very toxic polypeptide hurin. The latex is extremely caustic; it produces irritations on the skin and can even cause blindness. It contains hurin and crepitin. The seeds have been employed to poison coyotes and other animals; however, they are the favored food of red and blue macaws in Costa Rica. The latex, the seeds and a decoction of the bark have emetocathartic properties; in large doses, they are violently poisonous. Abortion may occur when pregnant cows feed on this plant. Besides the common storage proteins, the seeds of Euphorbiaceae may contain very toxic polypeptides, such as curcin in Jatropha curcas, hurin in Hura crepitans, and ricin in Ricinus communis. Huratoxin of Hura crepitans is an arrow poison.

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Stem: Decoction of bark used as a purgative and emetic; sap in bark reputedly is a remedy for leprosy.

Latex: Toxicity Mixed in a paste with Bixa orellana seeds for an arrow poison in French Guiana.

Leaf: Infusion as a body-rub for leprosy.
Leaf Toxicity: Milky sap is caustic and irritant.

Seed: Viscous oil is a very strong (drastic) purgative and emetic.

Nota de alcance

Distribución
Amazonas, Cajamarca, Loreto, Madre de Dios, San Martín, Ucayali.

Usos

Semillas
Laxante, purgante: las semillas se ingieren directamente, o tostadas y reducidas a polvo; se toma una cucharadita diluido en un vaso de jugo de naranja o de agua, en ayunas.

Hojas Sarna: la zona afectada se lava con el líquido de la decocción de 4 hojas en un litro de agua.

Toxicidad:
Es recomendable manipular la planta con mucho cuidado debido a la resina, que es tóxica y cáustica. Puede causar ceguera si entra en contacto con los ojos. La resina se utiliza como un ingrediente en la preparación del curare, compuesto venenoso utilizado en la caza. También se utiliza en la pesca, como sustituto del barbasco (Chondrodendron tomentosum Ruiz & Pav.).

Nota bibliográfica (en)

1) South American medicinal plants : botany, remedial properties, and general use / I. Roth, H. Lindorf. Berlin ; New York : Springer, c2002. -- p. 492.

2) Robertt, A., et al.. Medicinal Plants of the Guianas (Guyana, Suriname, French Guyana)/Smithsonian NMNH. cited online: 17-08-2017

3) Mejía, Kember; Rengifo, Eisa /Plantas medicinales de uso popular en la Amazonía Peruana.-- Lima : Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional, 2000. -- p. 286

Hura crepitans L.
Término aceptado: 27-Dic-2016