Physic nut is a species of flowering plant in the spurge family, Euphorbiaceae, that is native to the American tropics, most likely Mexico and Central America. It is originally native to the tropical areas of the Americas from Mexico to Argentina, and has been spread throughout the world in tropical and subtropical regions around the world, becoming naturalized or invasive in many areas. The specific epithet, "curcas"
, was first used by Portuguese doctor Garcia de Orta more than 400 years ago. Common names in English include physic nut, Barbados nut, poison nut, bubble bush or purging nut. In parts of Africa and areas in Asia such as India it is often known as "castor oil plant" or "hedge castor oil plant", but it is not the same as the usual castor oil plant.
Physic nut is a perennial poisonous shrub, up to 5 m high. It is an uncultivated non-food wild-species. The plant, originating in Central America, whereas it has been spread to other tropical and subtropical countries as well and is mainly grown in Asia and in Africa. It is used as a living fence to protect gardens and fields from animals. The plant sports large green to pale-green leaves, 8-15 cm, broadly ovate, cordate, shallowly 3 lobed, petioles around 5-15 cm. The inflorescence is formed in the leaf axel; flowers are formed terminally, individually, with female flowers usually slightly larger. Flowers greenish yellow. Fruits 3 to 4cm, globuse, yellowish green. Jatropha Curcas seed can be used as Bio diesel for any diesel engine without modification.
The leaves, seeds and oil of Dravanti is used to treat ulcer, tumour, scabies, wound, haemorrhoid, wound, splenomegaly, skin diseases, rheumatism and paralysis. Paste of dravanti, applied on wounds to clean to promote quick healing. Seeds are severe purgative.