Castor oil, including castor oil (Oleum Ricini, Oleum Palmae Christi) was used already in ancient Egypt 4000 years ago. At that time, it was probably used in the construction of pyramids to cover blocks of stone in order to obtain a slip while they were moving. Today, however, we know the healing properties of castor oil, which is used both internally and topically.
It is classified as non-drying oils – it increases its density in the air, but does not harden. It is colourless or has a slightly straw-like colour. It has a sticky consistency and no aroma.
Castor oil origin
Obtained from castor seeds (Latin Ricinus communis) by cold pressing and then subjecting it to high temperatures together with water, then boiling. It is not without reason that the oil is obtained in thus many stages. Freshly harvested seeds contain lethal ricin, a protein which is degraded under the influence of high temperature.
Castor oil composition
As it is an oil from the group of non-drying, it contains a large amount of unsaturated fatty acids with long chemical bonds with double carbon-carbon bonds, that is Omega-3, Omega-6 and Omega-9.
1. main component (80%) – ricinoleic acid responsible for laxative effects.
2. glycerides of linoleic acid,
3. glycerides of linolenic acid,
4. glycerides of oleic acid,
Poison or medicine?
Ricin is a compound with thick lectin, so it does not mix with oils. This makes it possible to produce a liquid safe for the human body. However, if we give man plant raw materials with an admixture of poisonous protein, we can expect
- flu-like muscle and joint pains
- dehydration symptoms
- intensive vomiting combined with a very troublesome diarrhoea
In antiquity, its properties were used to poison unwanted children, get rid of a troublesome neighbour or a faulty spouse. It is hard to believe that properly processed seeds of the deadly plant are used in medicine and cosmetics.
In pharmacy, castor oil is used as a base for ointments, bases for oil solutions and emulsions used in the treatment of skin ulcers, burns, eczemas, spots, vaginal and cervical diseases and in ophthalmology. In the medicine, however, castor oil is most popular due to its strong laxative effect both orally and in the form of injections.
It is of the most importance to use the oil medicine properly and safely, due to the possibility of irritation of the gastrointestinal tract, too intensive emptying and, what is most important, excessive congestion not only of the intestines, but also of the small pelvic organs, which is particularly dangerous in pregnant women. It is a strong agent within the small intestine.
Under the influence of pancreatic enzymes, it is metabolized to the substances which irritate the wall of the small intestine, thus intensifying peristalsis, irritation of the mucous membrane and, in the final stage, the effect of bowel movements after 6 hours from taking it.
Application of Castor oil
- acute and chronic constipation
- food poisoning
- cleansing of the body
It is important to provoke the body once in a while to eliminate food deposits nesting between the intestinal villi. This can lead to constipation, bloating and a feeling of fullness in the stomach. Castor oil mobilises the body to get rid of the remaining food, improving the condition of the digestive system.
Castor oil contradictions
You should not use Castor oil if:
- You suffer from severe abdominal pains of unknown origin
- You have symptoms of appendicitis
- You have gastroenteritis
- You are pregnant