Ricinus communis

Ricinus communis L.

Euphorbiaceae

  • Castor-oil-plant
  • خِرْوَع
  • khirwa’
  • קִיקָיוֹן מָצוּי
  • qiqayon matzuy

Phanerophyte shrub

  • Disturbed habitats
Click Flora of Israel Online to view
distribution and other botanical details.

Medicinal Complaints / Uses

Ricinus communis L.

System/StateTraditional
Complaint/Use
Activity / Interpretation Traditional
Preparation/Administration

Parts Used

Source
Child Health

Chest pain infants

Analgesic

Apply oil externally as ointment.

Seed (oil)B
Dermatological

Hair loss

Hair restorer

Apply oil externally to affected areas & massage.

Seed (oil)B
Dermatological

Skin diseases.

Non-specific

1. Apply oil externally to affected areas & massage. (B)
2. Apply seed oil to affected area alone or made into salve + other ingredients. (Z)

Seed (oil)B, Z
Dermatology

Open boils

Vulnerary

Apply fresh leaf to boil until it opens; then clean + cotton dipped in castor oil.

Leaf, Seed (oil)Z
Dermatology

Pruritis of skin

Anti-pruritic

Cut skin with razor blade & drink laxative e.g.castor seed oil.

Seed (oil)Z
Ear, Nose, Throat (ENT)

Earache

Analgesic

Apply seed oil as ear drops.

Seed (oil)Z
Ear, Nose, Throat (ENT)

Obstruction, deafness & noises [tinitus] in ears.

Anti-tinnitus

Apply few drops of seed oil into ear. (See NOTES 1)

Seed (oil)Z
Gastrointestinal

Abdominal pain

Carminative

Use seed oil. (Admin. further details not specified.)

Seed (oil)Z
Gastrointestinal

Chronic diarrhea

Anti-diarrheal

Drink oil from seeds; after burn the patient with a hot iron on upper posterior part of arm, then eat pomegranate jam.

Seed (oil)Z
Gastrointestinal

Constipation

Laxative

1. Extract oil from seeds & drink (60 gm) (unclear if this refers to weight of the seeds or oil).
2. Chronic constipation: drink x1 small glass castor seed oil.
3. For babies: spread oil on abdomen & gently massage.

Seed (oil)Z
Gastrointestinal

Haemorrhoids

Anti-haemorrhoidal

Apply oil poultice from seeds onto affected area x2/ day.

Seed (oil)B
Helminth Infections

Intestinal worms (Z) Worms (B)

Anthelmintic, Vermifuge

1.Drink seed oil followed by infusion of mint tea. For ascaris: after above, eat dried, coconut in evening. Avoid eating peanuts (Arachis hypogaea). (Z)
2. Drink 1 cup oil on empty stomach x1/ day. (B)

Seed (oil)Z, B
Helminth Infections

Tapeworm

Anthelmintic, Vermifuge

After fasting for 2 days, eat 200 gm peeled buttercup squash (Cucurbita maxima) seeds. After 4 hr eat 60 gm "zeit kharw'a" (Olea ricini, castor seed oil) or 2 fingers (may mean a pinch between 2 fingers) of English salt (Epsom salt = MgSO4).

Seed (oil)Z
Infections

Gonorrhea

Anti-Infective

Drink 1-3 dirhams (See NOTES 1 & 2) of seed oil.

Seed (oil)Z
Infections

Tetanus

Anti-Infective

Use seed oil. (Admin. not specified. (See NOTES 1).

Seed (oil)Z
Mental Health

Tranquilizer & against insanity

Anti-psychotic, Sedative

Mix fruit + myrrh + saffron + salt + garlic + oil & apply externally. (Further details of Admin. not specified.)

FruitZ
Musculoskeletal/ joints

Ischias (sciatic pain)

Analgesic, Anti-inflammatory

Apply seed oil locally & massage.

Seed (oil)Z
Musculoskeletal/ joints

Rheumatic pain

Analgesic, Anti-arthritic, Anti-inflammatory

1. Cook leaves in olive oil & spread over painful areas. Avoid exposure to wind.
2. Apply seed oil locally & massage. ( See NOTES 1).

LeafZ
Nervous system

Facial paralysis

Nervine

Apply seed oil & massage.

Seed (oil)Z
Nervous system

Stoke; "paralysis of the brain "

Nervine

Apply seed oil as an enema.

Seed (oil)Z
Women`s Health

Contraception

Contraceptive

Drink x3 seeds (Preparation not specified) directly after birth. Contraceptive for 3 years.

SeedB
Women`s Health

Increase lactation, draw out milk

Galactagogue

Apply poultice of leaves to nipples. (See NOTES 3)

LeafZ
Wound Healing

Abscess

Anti-Infective

Apply oil poultice from seeds on affected area x2/day.

Seed (oil)B
Wound Healing

Burn & later to keep the wound open

Vulnerary

1. Apply seed oil alone or as salve + other ingredients.
2. Rub castor seed oil on burn then sprinkle with powder from roasted, ground lentils.
3.To keep wound open: apply poultice of leaves

Leaf, Seed (oil)Z
Wound Healing

Open closed lesions /wounds

Vulnerary

Apply poultice of leaves to lesion.

LeafZ

The authors of the Flora Palaestina Ethnobotany (FPE) web site do not take responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of the plants described here. Always seek advice from a health professional before using a plant medicinally or for other purposes

The seed of Ricinus communis (Castor seed) contains approx. 40-60% castor oil, is rich in triglycerides, mainly ricinolein & is used medicinally. The seed also contains ricin, a water-soluble toxic alkaloid present in lower concentrations throughout the plant. (See CAUTIONS) 1. Z notes that the castor oil is purchased at a pharmacy & not made at home.
2. Z notes that "dirham" in Arabic means a small coin & explains " thus 1-3 dirhams either means literally 1-3 coins worth or a small amount".
3. In the recipe for increasing lactation Z notes: "If poultice is applied to the back, it draws milk back into body & can be used to decrease or stop lactation".

Ricinus communis seed contains ricin, a water-soluble toxic alkaloid & deadly poison present in lower concentrations throughout the plant. Leaves are mildly poisonous. Estimated that 1 seed can kill a child and between 2-20 seeds kill an adult. Castor oil should not be used for more than 8-10 days with too frequent use associated with gastric irritation & allergic skin reactions. Castor oil is contraindicated in intestinal obstruction, abdominal pain of unknown origin, appendicitis & inflammatory bowel disease. Overdose of castor oil can cause severe diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea & vomiting. Castor oil should not be given to children under 12 yrs & should not be used in preganacy as it can induce premature labour & miscarriage.