Background: Croton membranaceus is used as herbal medicine against benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH), cough, diabetes, diarrhoea, fever, flatulence, measles, nausea and urinary retention problems. Objective: The aim of this study was to review the medicinal, phytochemical, pharmacological and toxicological properties of C. membranaceus, a potentially useful medicinal plant species in West Africa.
Methods: Literature focusing on the botany, phytochemical, pharmacological and toxicological properties of C. membranaceus were obtained from scientific databases such as SCOPUS, ScienceDirect, Pubmed, SciFinder, Medline and Google Scholar. Pre-electronic literature such as books, book chapters, journal articles, conference papers and other scientific documents were obtained from the University library.
Results: Literature search revealed that the phytochemical compounds isolated from C. membranaceus include coumarin, diterpene, glutarimide alkaloid, glutarimide peptide, labdane diterpene and phytosterol. Pharmacological studies of C. membranaceus extracts and compounds isolated from the species revealed antibacterial, antifungal, antihyperglycaemic, antioxidant, antiplasmodial, antiproliferative, cytotoxicity, hypoglycaemic and prostate growth inhibitory effects of the species.
Conclusion: The phytochemical, pharmacological and toxicological studies done so far support the uses of C. membranaceus in traditional medicine. Therefore, future research on the species should focus on detailed in vitro, in vivo and clinical studies using compounds isolated from the species as well as crude extracts.
Croton membranaceus, ethnopharmacology, Euphorbiaceae, traditional medicine, West Africa