A medical expert said croton leaves were not edible and as such urged people not to consume them.
Dr. Channa Jayasumana, who heads the Pharmacology and Toxicologist Department of the Rajarata University's Medical Faculty, said the croton plant contains oil which was violently purgative and irritating qualities and is also suspected of being a co-carcinogen.
“Even when dried the plant retains its poisonous properties. Although certain South East Asian and South American tribes are able to detoxify croton leaves it is a complex procedure. In Chinese medicine, croton is used to induce loose motions,” he said.
Dr. Jayasumana said there were a few reports during the past couple of days that some people had consumed croton leaves resulting in abdominal symptoms though they were not of a serious nature.
“It is surprising as to why the Director General of Agriculture described croton as a consumable plant while we have hundreds of edible plants in the country, “he said.(Kelum Bandara)