The Jatropha is a plant native to Central America. The plant has a smooth bark with pale green leaves and grows upto 5 metres in height. The seeds are the most useful part of the plant. The oil extracted from these seeds is used to prepare dyes and bio-diesel.
Jatropha seeds take 3-4 months to mature. The oblong black seeds are highly toxic and are roasted before they are handled. They are then cleaned and the oil is extracted. The oil obtained is non-edible and is used to manufacture bio-diesel – diesel that is mixed with 5-10% jatropha oil. Besides this, the latex obtained from the bark contains an alkaloid that kills cancer cells. Jatropha root is useful in treating snakebites.