Castor Seed

The castor oil plant, Ricinus communis, is a species of flowering plant in the spurge family named Euphorbiaceae. Castor belongs to a monotypic genus, Ricinus, and sub tribe, Ricininae.

Castor seed oil was and is still, used widely in local medicines mainly as a laxative, but also to soften dry and coarse skin. The Chinese have used the castor seed oil for medicinal purposes for centuries.

The castor plant appears to have originated in eastern Africa, especially around Ethiopia. It now grows throughout the warm temperate and tropical regions and flourishes under a variety of climatic conditions. It can be grown almost anywhere and this is one of castor’s greatest virtues.

Castor seeds were an important item of trade in ancient Egypt. It has been found in tombs dating from 4000 BC. In India too, castor has been used since ancient times. In the Susruta Atharvaveda, dating back to 2000 BC, it is referred to as indigenous plant and that its oil was used for lamps.

Though castor plant or castor oil is not a food, yet it is one of the most commonly used oils allover the world as a safe purgative and drug for reducing irritation of the skin and alleviating swelling and pain. The castor seed plant contains alkoloid ricinine and toxalbumine ricin. They yield a fixed oil which is used chiefly for medicinal purposes.

Unlike most fixed oils, castor oil possesses the remarkable property of mixing with absolute alcohol and glacial acetic acid in all proportions. The glycerides of ricinoleic acid in castor oil are mainly responsible for its purgative effect.

Castor Curative Properties

Castor is used very effectively in the treatment of rheumatic and skin disorders. It is a harmless purgative.

Rheumatism: A poultice of castor seeds can be applied with beneficial results to gouty and rheumatic swellings. A decoction of the roots of castor plant with carbonate of potash is useful in the treatment of lumbago, rheumatism and sciatica.

Skin Disorders: A poultice of castor leaves is useful as an external purpose to boils and swellings. Coated with some bland oil such as coconut oil and heated, the hot leaves can be applied over guinea worm sores to extract the worms and to scrofulous sores and boils due to tuberculosis of lymph nodes.

Problem of Breast Milk Secretion: Castor oil massaged over the breast after child birth increases the flow of milk, as it stimulates the mammary glands. Castor leaves can also be used to foment the breasts for the same purpose.

Dandruff: If castor oil used regularly as hair oil, it helps the growth of the hair and cures dandruff.

Constipation: Castor oil is a simple, harmless purgative and can be used without any rigid consideration and limitation of weather and the physiological nature of the patient.

Uses Of Castor Bean Seed

The Castor oil expels worms from the body, after other suitable remedies have been given. When applied externally, Castor oil eases cutaneous complaints such as ringworms, itch and leprosy, while it is used as carrier oil for solutions of pure alkaloids, e.g. atropine or cocaine, from Belladonna, that these drugs can be used in eye surgery. Castor is used for a range of industrial purposes from soap making to warnishes.

Castor Specification Details

The castor plant is a small annual plant. It ranges from 1 to 7 meters in height. It has well developed roots, with green and reddish stems which become hollow with age. The fruit is a spherical capsule with small grey seeds with brown spots.

Castor oil plant or castor bean plant, is the common name for a wind pollinated flowering plant, Ricinus communis, of the Euphorbiaceae family, characterized by large, palmately lobed leaves, flowers during most of the year in dense terminal clusters, with female flowers above the male flowers, and clusters of spiny, red to bronze fruit or seed capsules that contain seeds with intricate mottled designs. Castor seeds are the source of both the commercially important castor oil, which has medicinal and industrial uses, and the extremely poisonous ricin, which has been used as a biochemical agent.

Active Ingredients of Castor Seed oil

Castor seed oil contains: 90% ricinoleate (12-hydroxyoleate or 12-hydroxy-oleate) a hydroxy fatty acid. Castor oil contains small amounts of Stearic acid but is free from palmitin or olein.

Castor chief constituents are ricinolein (C3H5[C18H33O3]3), isoricinolein, and dihydroxystearin. Ricinoleic acid (C18H34O3) is the principal acid of the oil; it forms a thick oily liquid, solidifying below 0° C. (32° F.), soluble in alcohol and ether.

Castor Seeds Specification

Fiber 16% Minimum
Nitrogen 4%
Protein 29% Minimum
Oil Content 47% Minimum
Phosphorus 1%
Moisture 8% Maximum


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