Castor Oil

  • 6 April, 2008 at 19:26 #506

    [html] We all have memories of castor oil remedies, but do we know all the properties of this plant?CASTOR OIL – Ricinus communis Probably everyone has at one time in their life had the rather unpleasant experience of taking castor oil attempting to disguise the disagreeable taste with peppermint or fruit juice. Although native to East Africa it has become naturalized in tropical and temperate regions around the world. Although the seeds or beans are extremely poisonous, due to a toxin called ’ricin’, they are the source of numerous, economically important products and are one of the earliest commercial products. Castor beans have been found in ancient Egyptian tombs dating back to 4000 BC and the oil was used thousands of years ago in wick lamps for lighting. To many people the castor plant is just an overgrown, undesirable weed and yet it produces one of natures finest natural oils, which are used in the production of plastics, soaps, textiles, paints, cosmetics, inks, dyes and numerous other products. The shiny seeds of castor plants have very beautiful and intricate designs, like human faces, finger prints or the spots on a leopard, no two seeds are exactly the same pattern. They are unquestionably among the most deadly seeds on earth, and it is their irresistible appearance that makes them so dangerous. Castor beans are pressed to extract castor oil which is used for medicinal purposes. Ricin does not partition into the oil, because it is water soluble, therefore castor oil does not contain ricin, providing that no cross- contamination occurred during its production. It is possible that one milligram of ricin can kill an adult! The whole castor bean seeds themselves can kill people or animals, too if chewed or swallowed. In 1978 ricin was used to assassinate Georgi Markov, a Bulgarian journalist who spoke out against the government. He was stabbed with the point of an umbrella, whilst waiting at a bus stop near Waterloo Station in London. They found a perforated metallic pellet embedded in his leg that had presumably contained the toxin ricin. Mussolini famously used castor oil as a weapon of sorts against dissidents in Italy in the 1920’s. Fascist operatives would capture their opponents and force feed them a large quantity of castor oil. This produced severe diarrhoea. In some cases this led to death. The American Cancer Society currently states that castor oil is used in conventional medicine and considered safe in proper doses. However side effects may be abdominal pain, cramping, colic, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.This article submitted by Hibiscusgirl [/html]

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