Castor Oil Plant

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Biological Name: Ricinus communis, Ricinus dicoccusCastor Oil Plant

Family: Euphorbiaceae

Other Names: Bofareira, palma Christi, Castor Oil Plant, oil plant, Eranda, Mexico seed, Vatari, castor-oil plant, Rendi, Eramudapu, Verenda, Amanakkam-chedi, Sadabherenda, Amanakku, Ricinus, Amidamu, Ricin, Amudam, Panchangulam, Arand, Miniak-jarah, Aranda, Khirva, Audla, Kesusi, Avanakku, Heran, Ayrunkukri, Wunderbaum, Bedanjir, Gemeiner, Bherenda, hasthah, Chittavanakku, Gandharva Haralu, Chittamanakku, Eri, Chittmani, Erandthailam, Diveli, Erendi, Endaru, Erand, Endi

Additional Info: Castor oil plant is specially raised in subtropical and tropical areas. Castor bean belongs to annuals, and is mainly raised in temperate regions, reaching a height from 3 to 10 feet. This deciduous plant is commonly cultivated in the northern regions of the USA as a decorative plant. The thick stem features peltate leaves which commonly reach 4 inches wide. The plant commonly blossoms in the second half of summer. The fruit forms a capsule which consists of three parts, each having one seed. The seeds are black to brown-colored and smooth.

Elements Applied: The plant’s parts commonly applied in herbal medicine are root, seeds, leaves, and oil.

Active Components:

  • Tocopherols
  • Triglycerides (ricinoleic acid and other fatty acids, like 12-hydroxy-oleic acid);
  • Lectins (0.1-0.5 percent): like ricin D (which is highly toxic), and RCA-120 (which is less harmful);
  • Proteins (20-25 percent)
  • Fatty oil (42-55 percent)

Used For: The herb is known to produce a laxative effect, reduce pains, and soothe the nerves. Root bark is particularly valued for its ability to treat constipation.

Oil which is processed from the seeds has gained great popularity as a laxative remedy. In Ayurvedic medicine castor oil is valued as the most important laxative herb. Acids, contained in castor oil, prevent adsorption.

Castor bean seeds are known to fight viral infections.

The list of conditions in which castor oil plant is implemented includes:  lack of breastmilk, menstrual irregularity, joint pains, nervous conditions, lumbago, headache, fever, spleen and liver enlargement, colic, abdominal pains, sciatica and rheumatism.

As a topical remedy, leaves and seeds of the plant are applied as powder poultice to relieve skin inflammations, abscesses, migraine, middle ear inflammations, carbuncles, and boils.

As an oral remedy, castor oil is effectively applied to fight constipation (even severe cases), bowel helminthes, bowel inflammations, and induce childbirth.

According to “Medicinal Plants of India”, castor oil is applied in Ayurevidic medicine to treat the following cases:

Leaves, roots and oil are applied for a wide range of conditions. Oil, leaves and root bark treat constipation. Oil is applied for rheumatism and forms a variety of medications. Leaves are effectively applied for inducing lactation. Root decoction is used for bladder, head, and joint pains, rheumatism, leprosy, asthma, hernia, fever, dropsy, stomachaches, swellings, and phlegm. Also applicable for bladder stones. Seeds are used for liver conditions and rheumatism.

Preparation and Intake: The oil is given in the following doses: one teaspoon for children, two teaspoons to three tablespoons diluted in boiled milk or tea for grown-ups. The plant is used in form of paste, poultice, infusion and decoction.

As an oral remedy castor oil is taken in a quantity of 10 mg for severe cases of constipation and to purify the intestinal tract from helminthes.

As a topical remedy the plant is applied in form of ground seed paste. The paste is distributed over the inflamed skin area two times a day. The period of intake may be as long as two weeks.

Safety: Warning! Castor oil is not recommended in case of jaundice, bowel, bile duct, bladder, or kidney infections. Avoid using it if breastfeeding or pregnant.

The herb is completely safe to use if the dose used is normal and checked by a health-care provider.

Castor beans may result in strong poisoning. Ricinus lectins impede protein synthesis while damaging ribosomes. There are anecdotal reports of skin allergy to castor oil.

Prolonged application of castor oil may result in lack of electrolytes, especially K+ ions. This condition may lead to hyperaldosteronism, bowel peristalsis decrease and the increase in cardioactive steroid activity.

The remedy is not given to children until they reach 12 years of age.

Castor oil overdose may cause gastric disorder, associated with strong diarrhea, colic, vomiting, and queasiness. Twelve castor beans may lead to lethal outcome, if taken by a grown-up. Signs of poisoning are as follows: electrolytes and liquid lack, kidney inflammation, bloody stools, bloody vomiting, and strong gastroenteritis, accomplished by circulatory dysfunction. Lethal outcome commonly follows the hypovolemic shock.

Warning: Each part of the plant has a certain content of irritating agent which may lead to blood poisoning. The oil won’t threat the body as the poisoning agent is left in the seeds.