Castor oil plant or castor bean is a species of perennial flowering plant whose botanical name is Ricinus communis and belongs to the spurge family, Euphorbiaceae.
It is a fast growing, suckering shrub that can reach the size of a small tree, around 12 m (39 ft), but it is not cold hardy.
Its seed is the castor bean, which, despite its name, is not a bean. Castor is indigenous to the southeastern Mediterranean Basin, Eastern Africa, and India, but is widespread throughout tropical regions (and widely grown elsewhere as an ornamental plant.
Chemical Composition –
It is a rich source of Ricinoleic acid, which represents up to 90% of the total castor oil content. It also consists up to 4% linoleic, 3% oleic, 1% stearic, and less than 1% linolenic fatty acids.
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
▪︎ By mouth –
• For constipation: 15 mL of castor oil is commonly used.
• For emptying the colon before a colonoscopy: 15-60 mL of castor oil given 16 hours before the procedure.
• For childbirth: A variety of dosage schedules have been used. Single doses vary from 50-120 mL of castor oil. A one-time dose of 60 mL in fruit juice is commonly used.
• Powerful Laxative
It is one of the best-known medicinal uses for castor oil is as a natural laxative. It works as a stimulant laxative for reducing constipation when taken by mouth.
It’s classified as a stimulative laxative, meaning that it increases the movement of the muscles that push material through the intestines, helping clear the bowels.
• Natural Moisturizer
It is rich in ricinoleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid. These types of fats can be used to moisturize the skin. They act as humectants, which retain moisture by preventing water loss through the outer layer of the skin.
• Dry eye
Using eye drops containing castor oil might reduce symptoms in people with dry eyes.
• Promotes Wound Healing
Applying castor oil to wounds creates a moist environment that may help promote healing and prevent sores from drying out. Ricinoleic acid, the main fatty acid found in castor oil, has anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing properties. It may help reduce skin inflammation, support healing, and aid in pain reduction in people with wounds.
Taking a single 60 mL dose of castor oil might start labor within 24 hours in some women who are at their delivery date but have not gone into labor.
• Supports Hair Growth
It is being used for natural hair treatment. This is because it has moisturizing properties, which could help lubricate the hair shaft, increasing flexibility and decreasing the chance of breakage.
• Helpful for Cleaning Dentures
Candida species, like C. albicans, are especially problematic for people who wear dentures because they easily adhere to denture surfaces and mouth tissues. An overgrowth of Candida fungi can lead to a condition called denture stomatitis. Cleaning dentures with castor oil may help reduce the risk of developing denture stomatitis because it can help kill bacteria and fungi.
▪︎ By mouth –
• For emptying the colon before a colonoscopy: For children younger than 2 years, 1-5 mL is commonly used. For children 2-11 years of age, 5-15 mL is typically used. The dose for children over 12 is 15-60 mL given 16 hours before the procedure.
Side Effects –
When taken by mouth: Castor oil is LIKELY SAFE for most people when taken as a single dose. In some people, it can cause stomach discomfort, cramping, nausea, and faintness.
When taken long-term or in large doses, castor oil is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. It might cause fluid and potassium loss from the body when used for more than a week or in doses of more than 15-60 mL per day.
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