Brand Name: Castor Oil Latin Name:Ricinus communis
Other names: Castor Bean, Mexico
Seed, Oil Plant, Palma Christi
A Remedy For
Taken internally, Castor Oil is also
used as a treatment for intestinal
inflammation and worms. Powder from
the Castor bean and leaves is
applied externally to relieve skin
inflammation, boils, abscesses, earache
(otitis media), and migraine,
although there's no proof of its effectiveness for these ailments. In Asian
medicine, Castor Oil is used as a remedy for joint pain, dry stool, indigestion,
facial paralysis, boils, and ulcers.
Homeopathic practitioners prescribe
it for digestive ailments.
What It Is; Why It Works
Castor Oil has been used as a
laxative since antiquity. It's mentioned by the ancient Greek historian
Herodotus, and beans from the Castor plant have been found in Egyptian tombs.
The plant can be found from
temperate latitudes to the tropics.
Castor Oil's laxative effect stems
from its ability to prevent absorption of liquids from the intestinal tract.
While the oil is relatively safe, the beans are extremely poisonous (as few as
12 can be fatal), and they should
never be taken internally. They can
cause severe fluid loss and lethal
Don't take Castor Oil if you have
nausea, vomiting, an intestinal blockage, appendicitis, severe inflammatory
intestinal disease, or any abdominal
pain of unknown origin. Not
recommended for pregnant and nursing women and children under 12.
Habitual use of Castor Oil
discourages normal activity in the intestinal tract, leading to laxative
dependence. Prolonged use can also result in an unhealthy depletion of minerals,
particularly potassium. In rare cases, an allergic skin rash may develop.
Possible Drug Interactions
Potassium depletion due to habitual
use can increase the body's
sensitivity to certain heart
medications, such as digitalis and digoxin (Lanoxin).
Special Information If You Are
Pregnant or Breastfeeding
Do not use during pregnancy or while
How to Prepare
Castor Oil is supplied commercially.
For acute constipation or worms, the
dose is at least 10 grams (2
teaspoonfuls). Follow the
manufacturer's directions whenever available.
An overdose will irritate the
stomach, leading to queasiness, vomiting, cramps, and severe diarrhea. If you
suspect an overdose, seek medical