- 7 Benefits and Uses of Castor Oil
- Toxicology Q&A Answer: Castor Beans Can Kill, and the Oil Is Iffy, Too
- 10 Foods You Should Never Eat Raw
7 Benefits and Uses of Castor Oil
People ingest castor oil to relieve constipation , to induce labor, and for other naturopathic purposes, but you should never eat whole raw castor beans [source: Times of India ]. Castor bean plants are beautiful. They have vibrant, red leaves and they produce red and yellow flowers. They're also extremely toxic to both people and animals. Like red kidney beans, castor beans contain high concentrations of a particularly harmful lectin. The lectin in castor beans is called ricin.
These seeds, which are known as castor beans, contain a toxic enzyme called ricin. However, the heating process that castor oil undergoes deactivates it, allowing the oil to be used safely. It's commonly used as an additive in foods, medications and skin care products, as well as an industrial lubricant and biodiesel fuel component. In ancient Egypt, castor oil was burned as fuel in lamps, used as a natural remedy to treat ailments like eye irritation and even given to pregnant women to stimulate labor 1. Today, castor oil remains a popular natural treatment for common conditions like constipation and skin ailments and is commonly used in natural beauty products. Perhaps one of the best-known medicinal uses for castor oil is as a natural laxative. When consumed by mouth, castor oil is broken down in the small intestine, releasing ricinoleic acid, the main fatty acid in castor oil.
The castor plant is a beautiful, large semi-woody shrub that can grow to feet tall in the right environment. The star-shaped leaves can grow more than 2. Each lobed leaf has serrated edges and prominent central veins that vary in color from green to red to white. Many species have glossy green leaves; others can be purplish, dark red, or maroon. The stems are often a striking red color.
By on. Someone in the audience commented that you can actually eat several castor beans and you would only get a mild stomach ache. The caster bean plant, Ricinus communis , is a native of tropical Africa and is grown in many gardens in North America for its fabulous large leaves. Here in zone 5 it is an annual that can grow to 5 feet in one season. The caster bean plant itself is not poisonous to humans, but the seeds are. The seeds contain a protein called ricin and there is no question that ricin is very poisonous to humans, animals and even insects.
A number of oilseed crops happen to be good plants for bees, including the castor bean Ricinus communis. Reportedly native to Africa and possibly Asia, this species now occurs in most areas of the globe. Also known as castor bean plant, it is often grown as an ornamental. The bold, showy, shrubby plant lends a tropical look to the landscape. Requiring minimal care, it is suitable for all regions of the country.
Toxicology Q&A Answer: Castor Beans Can Kill, and the Oil Is Iffy, Too
10 Foods You Should Never Eat Raw
Ricinus communis , the castor bean  or castor oil plant ,  is a species of perennial flowering plant in the spurge family, Euphorbiaceae. It is the sole species in the monotypic genus , Ricinus , and subtribe , Ricininae. The evolution of castor and its relation to other species are currently being studied using modern genetic tools. Its seed is the castor bean, which, despite its name, is not a true 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.
Castor beans, sometimes used in traditional therapies, contain ricin one of the most toxic substances known. It may cause an acute and potentially fatal gastroenteritis in addition to neurological and ophthalmological lesions. Poisoning may also lead to delayed visceral damages; however, the latter is quite rare. The toxicity is dose related and depends on the amount of castor beans ingested. There is no specific treatment and symptomatic management to reduce the load of the toxin needs to be initiated quickly and early when a case of poisoning is suspected so that serious complications will be avoided. Increasing the awareness of the population to the dangers of ricin would be a way to avoid the utilisation of castor seeds in traditional therapies.
Some manifestations of toxicity are subtle.
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Castor Oil Plant seeds, both fresh green and dried, showing entire pods, and the pod split into three parts, and the exposed seed. Here's what we know about the toxin. What it is: Ricin is a toxic protein that comes from the castor oil plant. Castor beans are not all that dangerous on their own because they are surrounded by an indigestible capsule. How much is too much: It takes the pulp of about eight beans to kill an adult.