CASTOR OIL PLANT, Ricinus communis


Latin name:   Ricinus communis

English name: Castor

Sanskrit name: Eranda

Indian name: Gandharva hasta

Medicinal parts used: Seeds

The Castor Oil plant is a native of India. It is merely a shrubby branched annual herb, rarely more than 4 to 5 feet high, with thick, hollow, herbaceous stems, which are cylindrical, smooth and shiny, with a purplish bloom in the upper part.

The seeds of Castor oil plant contain between 40% and 60% oil that is rich in triglycerides, mainly ricinolein. The seed coat contains ricin, a toxin, which is also present in lower concentrations throughout the plant.

Therapeutic use:

  • Castor Oil is regarded as one of the most valuable laxatives in medicine.
  • It is also used for expelling worms, after other special remedies have been administered.
  • Externally, the oil has been recommended for various cutaneous complaints, such as ringworm, itch, etc.
  • The fresh leaves are used by nursing mothers in the Canary Islands as an external application, to increase the flow of milk.
  • Castor Oil is an excellent solvent of pure alkaloids and such solutions of Atropine, Cocaine, etc., as are used in ophthalmic surgery.
  • It is also dropped into the eye to remove the after-irritation caused by the removal of foreign bodies.
  • The seeds made into a paste or poultices are reported to be applied to sores, boils and gouty or rheumatic swellings.

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