Calotropis procera A (Aiton) W.T. Aiton

Calotropis procera A (Aiton) W.T. Aiton


Botanical name:  Calotropis procera (Aiton) W.T. Aiton

Kingdom:         Plantae

Order:            Gentianales

Family:          Asclepiadaceae

Genus:          Calotropis                                                                                

Local name:   Akada

Sindhi name:    Aak

English name:  Giant swallow wort, milkweed

Part used: Whole plant


Calotropis procera (Aiton) W. T. Aiton) is a spreading shrub or medium-sized tree reaching 2.5 to 6 m in height. It has a deep taproot, 3-4 m deep, and a secondary root system with woody lateral roots that may rapidly regenerate adventitious shoots when the plant is injured. The stems are crooked and covered with a fissured corky bark. The grey-green leaves are 15-30 cm long and 2.5-10 cm broad, have a succulent and waxy appearance. Flowers are pentamerous, small, cream, greenish white at the base and purple violet at the extremity of the lobes. Fruit is a fleshy and inflated, up to 10 cm or more in diameter.1


Calotropis is native to Continental Asia, South-East, Australia, northern South America and Africa. In Africa it is recorded from Gabon, DR Congo, Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Angola and Mozambique, as well as from Seychelles and Mauritius.

 Ethnomedicinal uses in Skin Diseases:

Leaves of Calotropis procera (Aiton) W.T. Aiton is used for the treatment of scabies, ringworm, toothache,piles, asthma, snake and insect bite. Different parts of the plant are used as for the above mentioned information in Districts Jacababad, Kashmor, Sukkur, Mitiari, Ghotki and Tando jam.


Calotropis procera (Aiton) W.T. Aiton contains several primary metabolites such as pentacyclic, ursane triterpenes, cardinolides, phytosterols, triterpenoid, and saponins.  It also contains few secondary metabolites such as 5-hydroxy-3, 7-dimethoxyflavone-4′-O-β-glucopyranoside, 2β, 19-epoxy-3β, 14β-dihydroxy-19-methoxy-5α-card-20 (22)-enolide, β- anhydroepidigitoxigenin-3β-O-glucopyranoside, along with two known compounds, uzarigenine and β-anhydro epidigitoxigenin.2-3

 Chemical Structures:


Medicinal Uses and Pharmacology / Scientific:

Different extracts of Calotropis procera (Aiton) W.T. Aiton exhibited antipyretic activity and anti inflammatory activity. Bark and leaves are used for the treatment of leprosy.  Leaves, flowers and root bark oil are antimicrobial.4 Extract of roots and leave are used for the treatment of anticancer in lupus tuberculosis eczema, scabies, piles, especially abdominal tumors antipasmodic, alternative and skin dryness. Fresh leaves are used as bandage for swellings. Leaves and roots are used for piles and especially abdominal tumors. The powdered root bark is used to cure dysentery, elephantiasis, and leprosy.5 Stem is diaphoretic and expectorant, and is used for dysentery, spleen complaints, convulsions, lumbago, scabies, ringworm, pneumonia, and to induce labour. 6 The latex is used on stings, toothache, caries, ringworm, leprosy, syphilis, rheumatism and tumours, and also as an antiseptic, vermifuge, emetic and purgative.  The powdered flowers are given for coughs, colds and asthma. The crushed and warmed leaves are applied on burns, headaches and rheumatic pains, and as a tincture for intermittent fever.7


  1. Basu, A., & Chaudhuri, A. (1991). Preliminary studies on the antiinflammatory and analgesic activities of Calotropis procera root extract. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 31(3), 319-324.
  2. Chopra R.N., Nayar, S.L. & Chopra I.C. (1956). Glossary of India Medicinal Plants.  Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, 2(3), 46- 47.
  3. Khare, C.P. (2007), Indian Medicinal Plants, p. 113-114, Springer Reference, New York, USA.
  4. Sharma, S. (2003), Medicinal Plants of India, Vol. 3, 40-41, Daya publishing, New Delhi India.
  5. Arulprakash, R. & Veeravel, R. (2007). Effect of milkweed plant, Calotropis gigantea R. Br. on biochemical constituents of some important storage pests. Journal of Plant Protection and Environment, 4(2), 47–50.
  6. Duke, J. A., Duke, P. A. K. &  Cellier,   L. (2008),  Dukes Hand Book of Medicinal Plants of the Bible, p. 72-76,  CRC press, Taylor and Francis Group, New York.
  7. Amiri, S. & Joharchi, M. R.(2013). Ethnobotanical investigation of traditional medicinal plants commercialized in the markets of Mashhad, Iran. Avicenna Journao of  Phytomedicines, 3(3), 254–271.