By: Aleeza Nawab
Castor oil plant “Ricinus Communis” is a plant species of family ”Euphorbiaceae”. It is a fast-growing perennial shrub. It can reach up to height of a small tree. Castor oil plant is native to Africa and India. Its seeds are poisonous both to human and animals because of presence of toxic enzyme called “Ricin”. Peoples of the old times used castor oil as medication because it boosts immune system and promote healing. It is used as a natural remedy to treat irritations in eyes. Even it has been used for a long time by women to stimulate labor pain during pregnancy. Castor oil is obtained from the seeds of “Ricinus communis”. These seeds contain 50% castor oil by weight along with ricin. During the heating process of castor oil, the ricin is deactivated and is produced as mesh at the end. So, the oil can be used safely by peoples. Ricinus communis has pharmaceutical, industrial and medicinal uses in addition to traditional uses. It is highly anti-inflammatory and is used to treat Arthritis, sore muscles, joint pain and constipation.
Ricin is highly “Anti-cancerous “and is used in cancer therapies to kill cancer cells. Ricin is a cytotoxic plant protein obtained from beans of “Ricinus communis” and is ribosome inactivating protein which destroys the cell by inhibiting protein synthesis. It conjugates with antibody to form and immunotoxin for melanoma treatment. In 2007, edition of Guinnes world record ranks “Ricinus communis “one of the most poisonous plants in the world.
Although castor oil plant has some traditional uses, but Castor oil is also used as beauty agent. Blood circulation is increased when we apply castor oil on our scalp due to presence of ricinoleic acid and Omega 6 fatty acid. Castor oil and ricin has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties and protect the skin from bacterial infections and helps recovering irritated skin. It balances our uneven skin tone and keeps skin moisturized. A homoeopathic medicine named on plant” Ricinus communis “is made especially to treat acne, backache, coryza, diarrhoea, headache. So, by reviewing all the benefits of castor oil. We cannot say that it is used for single purpose but is used for multipurpose and this is the mystery behind the benefits of the amazing plant. One must use the organic sources to be protected from side effects of chemicals.