Herb of the Month
(Botanical Name -
Caster Seed / Ricinus communis Linn)
It is a tall shrub, sometimes becoming treelike. Leaves very
large, broad, roundest in outline but partly divided into 7
(sometimes 9) lobes, margins toothed. Flowers large, in big
terminal bunches. Fruit a prickly capsule, rather marked into six
parts. Seeds oblong, seed coat crustaceous. One form of this
plants is almost perennial with woody stems and large red seeds.
This is said to yield an oil suitable only for illumination and
lubrication. The other form which is grown as an annual crop, has
gray and brown mottled seeds, these yields oil suitable for
medicinal uses. there is still another form with purple bronze
leaves, it is grown only for ornaments.
The castor 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 gray
seeds with brown spots. Castor seeds were an important item of
ancient Egypt. The oil was and is still, used extensively in local
medicines mainly as a laxative, but also to soften dry and coarse
skin. The Chinese have used the oil for medicinal purpose 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 castorís greatest virtues.
Healing power and curative properties:
Castor is used very effectively in treatment of rheumatic and skin
disorders. It is a harmless purgative.
Frozen shoulder :
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Erand can be applied on frozen shoulder, gout & rheumatic
swellings with beneficial results. A decoction of the roots of
castor plant is very helpful in treating lumbago & rheumatism.
disorders : For
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A poultice of castor leaves is useful as an
external application to boils & swellings. Castor leaves coated
with coconut oil, then heated & applied over guinea-worm sores to
extract the worms.
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Castor oil if used regularly as hair oil, helps
to cure dandruff & helps the growth of hair.
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Administration of castor oil as a purgative is
very simple. About 30 to 60 gms of pure odorless castor oil is
given orally with 250 to 350 gms of Luke worm milk. It acts just
after an hour. Those who find it unpalatable can take it with
ginger or gripe water. This reduces its unpleasantness, while
destroying mucous & promoting healthy appetite. Castor oil is a
simple, harmless purgative and can be safely used round the year
without any rigid consideration & limitation of weather & the
physiological nature of the patient.
Breast milk secretion :
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Castor oil massaged over the breasts of
lactating mothers (after childbirth), increasing the flow of milk,
by stimulating mammary glands. Castor leaves can also be used to
foment the breast, for the same patient.
Other uses :
Castor oil massaged over the body, before bath, keeps the skin
healthy & imparts sound sleep. Such oil over may be taken once in
a week. Applying castor oil over hand & feet before going to sleep
keeps them soft. Applying similarly over eyebrows & eye lashes
keep them well groomed. A word of caution, large doses of castor
oil as purgative during early months of
pregnancy may cause
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