Cotton is best known for the numerous amounts of textiles it is used in the production of. The seed that remains is used to produce cottonseed oil, which can be consumed by humans. Cottonseed oil can be used in cooking, just like regular vegetable oil. This oil is a valuable tool for pregnant or nursing women because it helps with lactation. Cotton oil contains large amounts of unsaturated fatty acids and also can be used to aid in nutrition.
The medicinal parts are the seeds.
Flower and Fruit
Single axillary, radial flowers are structured in fives. The calyx is approximately 4.5 cm long, fused, divided into 5 sections and surrounded by 3 large, deeply dentate, epicalyx sepals. The 5 petals are 5 to 7 cm long, free, white to cream-yellow. The stamens are numerous, and the filaments are fused into a tube. The ovary is superior, and the carpels are fused. There is 1 style, with 3 to 5 stigmas that project through the stamen tube. The fruit is a walnut-sized capsule that opens on 3 to 5 sides and has 8 to 10 reniform, 3 to 5 mm thick, black seeds. These are covered in single-celled hair up to 46 mm long.
Leaves, Stem, and Root
This evergreen shrub grows up to 2 m high and is typically cultivated as an annual. The leaves are alternate, long-petiolate, 3- to 7-lobed, with serrate margins, a rounded base, and stipules that drop.
The plant is indigenous to the U.S., China, Commonwealth of Independent States, India, Pakistan, and Egypt.
Cotton seeds are the ripe seeds of Gossypium hirsutum, Gossypium oleum, and Gossypium herbaceum, as well as other cultivated Gossypium species. Cotton seed oil is the refined, fatty oil from the seeds. The oil is extracted using solvents or pressing followed by refinement with a yield of approximately 19%. Gossypium semen is derived from the industrial extraction of cottonseed oil.
Not to be Confused With
Mistaken identity can occur with sesame and kapok oil, which are sometimes used to adulterate Cotton oil preparations.
American Cotton Plant, Cotton Seed
Actions & Pharmacology
Compounds: Cotton Oil
Fatty oil: chief fatty acids include linoleic acid (55%), palmitic acid (22%), oleic acid (15%), myristic acid (5%), as well as stearic acid, eicosanoic acid, di- cyclopropene-fatty acids malvalic acid and sterculiac acid
Lignans: gossypol (traces)
Steroids: sterols, particularly beta-sitosterol, as well as campesterol, stigmasterol, delta7-stigmasterol, 24-methyl cycloartenol
Tocopherols (vitamin E): including 0.04% alpha-tocopherol, 0.04% gamma-tocopherol
Effects: Cotton Oil
The oil contains large amounts of unsaturated fatty acids and is chiefly used as a dietetic.
Compounds: Cotton Seed
Fatty oil (20 to 30%): chief fatty acids include linoleic acid (55%), palmitic acid (22%), oleic acid (15%), myristic acid (5%), as well as stearic acid, eicosanoic acid, the cyclopropene-fatty acids malvalic acid and sterculic acid
Protein (20 to 25%)
Lignans: (+)-gossypol and (-)-gossypol (0.1 to 6.0%, yellow to red in color); there are also cultivated forms that are low in gossypol (gossypol content
Monosaccharides/oligosaccharides (7%): saccharose, raffinose, stachyose, glucose, fructose
Effects: Cotton Seed
The pigment substance gossypol contained in the seeds inhibits enzymes of the energy metabolism, decouples the respiratory chain from the oxidative phosphorylation, reduces the cellular ATP concentration, lessens membrane potentials, and inhibits the acrosomal sperm proteinase acrosine (antifertility effect). A cytostatic effect has been demonstrated.
Indications & Usage
Folk medicine indications for Gossypii oleum have included hypercholesterolemia and vitamin E deficiency. It is also used when a nonnitrogenous or parenteral nourishment is required.
Among indications in Indian medicine are headache, coughs, dysentery, constipation, gonorrhea, chronic cystitis, fever, poor lactation, epilepsy, and snake bites. Reference is also made to use as an abortifacient and aphrodisiac. Efficacy for these indications has not yet been proved.
Precautions & Adverse Reactions
No health hazards are known in conjunction with the proper administration of designated therapeutic dosages. Animal experiments over a period of several weeks involving the administration of cyclopropene-fatty acids led to elevated cholesterol and triglyceride blood levels in rabbits and to a delayed sexual development in young female rats.
The drug is toxic, due to its gossypol content. Chronic ingestion of Cotton seed will lead to fertility disorders in men. After feeding sheep and cattle a total of 2 to 3 kg of Cotton seed press cakes over a period of 3 to 4 weeks, they exhibited gastroenteritis, kidney damage with hematuria, and icterus. Death occurred 24 to 48 hours after first appearance of symptoms. Eye damage (Cotton-seed blindness) was also noted.
Emulsion 10 to 15%: sterilization is carried out at 150º C for 1 hour.
Emulsion 40%: 60 ml p.o. in a single dose.