Creole cotton

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  • Botanical: Gossypium barbadense
  • Family: Malvaceae
  • Hits: 1010
Creole cotton


Gossypium barbadense



Known as

Sea Island Cotton; Egyptian cotton; Gossypium barbadense L.; sea-island cotton

Old Use

medical, industry

Parts Used

leaves, roots, seed


herbaceius, spicy


acne, antiseptic, bronchitis, bile weakness, bronchitis, bruises, cancer, coughs, cramps, cramps stomach, diarrhea, digestion, indigestion, vomiting

Infection & Inflammation


Respiratory System


Stomach & Intestinal

cystitis, diarrhea

Skin & Hair

blemished skin


abortifacient, antibacterial, antiseptic, aphrodisiac, emmenagogue, galactagogue, nervine, tonic


Subshrubs or shrubs, perennial, 2-3 m tall, hairy or only hairy on petiole and veins on abaxial surface. Branchlets dark purple, angular. Stipules lanceolate-falcate, ca. 10 mm, usually caducous; petiole longer than leaf blade, with black glandular spots; leaf blade 3-5-lobed, 7-12 cm in diam., lobes ovate, oblong, oblong-lanceolate, or obovate, more than 1/2 as long as blade, central lobe longer, lateral lobes usually extending, base cordate, apex long acuminate. Flowers terminal or axillary. Pedicel usually shorter than petiole, stellate villous, with black glandular spots. Epicalyx lobes 5 or more, free, broadly ovate, 3.5-5 cm, base rounded-cordate, 10-15-toothed, teeth 3-4 × as long as wide. Calyx cup-shaped, truncate, with black glandular spots. Corolla pale yellow, purple or crimson in center, funnelform; petals 5-8 cm, stellate villous abaxially. Staminal column 3.5-4 cm, glabrous; filaments closely appressed, upper ones longer. Capsule 3(or 4)-celled, oblong to oblong-ovoid, 3-7 cm, with obvious glandular spots abaxially, base larger, apex acute to beaked. Seeds black and smooth when hair fallen, free or aggregated, ovoid, ca. 8 mm, beaked, with white wool and easily detached short fuzz on one or both tips.

Properties & Uses

The root of Gossypium arboreum is used in fever. The seeds are used in gonorrhoea, gleet, chronic cystitis, catarrah and consumption. The seeds of Gossypium barbadense are used in dysentery. The seed oil is used to clear freckles and spots from the skin. The seeds of Gossypium herbaceum are used as a demulcent, laxative, expectorant, galactagogue, aphrodisiac, to procure abortion, as a nervine tonic given in headache. The root and the bark are emmenagogue and galactagogue. The juice of the leaves is used against scorpion sting and snakebite. The leaves and seeds of Gossypium hirsustum are used in Guinea as an emollient and emmenagogue. In general, the cotton plant has the following medicinal uses: a cold infusion of the cotton leaves with lime juice is given in dysentery; the root bark is an emmenagogue and oxytocic; the leaves and crushed seed kernels are used as a poultice on sores bruises and swellings. The most widespread use of cotton is in surgical bandages, for which no substitute has been found. In Nigeria, the root is considered as an emmenagogue, with action similar to that of ergot. American Negroes also use the root bark to induce abortion. Decoction of the root is given in amenorrhoea. The south American Africans use the decoction of the root as a contraceptive.

other use

Cotton seed oil goes into the manufacture of hydrogenated fats (such as vanaspathi). Seed cake is fodder and seed husk is used as fuel. The kernel oil is composed of 47 per cent of linoleic acid, 23 per cent palmitic acd and 23 per cent of oleic acid, with small amounts of myristic and myristoleic acids. The residual cake is 97 per cent protein. The root bark also contains vitamin E. The root bark and the pigmented glands of the seeds contain gossypol, a toxic orange red polyphenol, which is insoluble in water and is thermolabile. Hence heating makes the oil suitable for consumption. Gossypol was shown to be antiviral, influenza virus is inactivated by it. Gosssypol is effective against herpes. The roots of Gossypium barbadense and Gossypium hisrsutum contain 6-methoxygossypol and 6,6’-dimethoxygossypol. 


Gossypol is a nerve and cellular poison, causing liver congestion and oedema of the lung. A horse weighing 450 kg cannot tolerate more than 450 g of the oil cake per day. Gossypol can cause haemorrhage, inflammation, haematuria, muscular weakness, respiratory difficulties and paralysis, as well as abortion and blindness. Gossypol is spermicidal.


below 1500 m. Guangdong, Guangxi, Hainan, Yunnan, India; Africa (Egypt), tropical Asia, North America (United States), Pacific islands, tropical South America


Root bark contains ca 3% of a reddish acidic resin, a volatile oil, a phenolic acid (probably 2,3-dihydrobenzoic acid; salicylic acid, a colorless phenol, betaine, a fatty alcohol, a phytosterol (C27H46O), a hydrocarbon (probably triacontane), ceryl alcohol and oleic and palmitic acid, isoquercitrin, quercimeritrin, quercetin-3'-glucoside, hirsutrin, isoastragalin, palmitic acid, oleic acid, linoleic acid, -pinene, -caryophyllene, bisabolol, caryophyllenepoxide, bisabolenoxide, abscissin II, serotonin, chrysanthemin, gossypicyanin and histamine. Gossypol (polyphenol).

For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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