Castor Plant

May 27, 2019 | posted in: | by

Ricinus communis is a much-branched, short-lived perennial plant with stout, hollow stems that become more or less woody and persist.

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Description

Ricinus communis is a much-branched, short-lived perennial plant with stout, hollow stems that become more or less woody and persist. A fast-growing plant in the wild, where it can grow up to twelve metres tall, in cultivation it is usually smaller, rarely exceeding four metres

The plant has a long history of cultivation as an oil-bearing and medicinal plant, having been grown in ancient Egypt besides it is still widely cultivated for its seed in tropical and sub-tropical zones

There are many named varieties, some developed for ornamental use and others for oil production.

The oil from the seed is a very well-known laxative that has been widely used for over 2,000 years.

It is considered to be fast, safe and gentle, prompting a bowel movement in 3 – 5 hours, and is recommended for both the very young and the aged.

It is so effective that it is regularly used to clear the digestive tract in cases of poisoning.

It should not be used in cases of chronic constipation, where it might deal with the symptoms but does not treat the cause.

The flavour is somewhat unpleasant, however, and it can cause nausea in some people

The oil has a remarkable antidandruff effect

The oil is well-tolerated by the skin and so is sometimes used as a vehicle for medicinal and cosmetic preparations[

Castor oil congeals to a gel-mass when the alcoholic solution is distilled in the presence of sodium salts of higher fatty acids

This gel is useful in the treatment of non-inflammatory skin diseases and is a good protective in cases of occupational eczema and dermatitis.

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