What are Castor Seeds? Health Benefits, Uses & Side Effects of Ricinus Communis - A Complete Guide

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. What are Castor Seeds? 
3. Ayurvedic properties of Castor Seeds
4. Health benefits of Castor Seeds
5. Uses of Castor Seeds
6. Side Effects of Castor Seeds


1. Introduction

Castor seed’s botanical name is Ricinus Communis, some other common names are arandi, endi, ernada, bedanjir. Castor is a small annual plant with well-developed roots and green and reddish stems that become hollow with age. The fruit is a spherical capsule with small grey seeds with brown spots.

Castor seeds were an important item of commerce in ancient Egypt, it has been found in tombs dating from 400 BC. In India too, castor has been used since ancient times, in the Susruta Atharvaveda dating back to 2000 BC. It is referred to as an indigenous plant and its oil was used for lamps.

2. What are Castor Seeds?

The castor plant originated in eastern Africa, especially around Ethiopia, it now grows throughout the warm-temperate and tropical regions and flourishes can be grown almost anywhere. This is one of the castor’s greatest virtues.

The castor seed plant contains alkaloid ricinine and toxalbumin ricin, they yield a fixed oil, which is used for medicinal purposes. Though castor plant or its oil is not a food, it is one of the most used oils which is sued as a safe purgative and drug for reducing irritation of the skin and alleviating swelling and pain.

castor seed RED

There are two varieties of castor seeds, red and white, the oil was and still is used extensively in local medicines mainly as a laxative but also to soften dry and coarse skin. For centuries the Chinese have used the oil for medicinal purposes.


Castor oil consists of ricinoleate of glycerol or triricinolien with a small amount of palmitin and stearin. Unlike most fixed oils, castor oil possesses the remarkable property of mixing with absolute alcohol and glacial acetic acid in any proportion. The glycerides of ricinoleic acid in castor oil are mainly responsible for its purgative effect.

3. Ayurvedic properties of Castor Seeds

Castor seeds, scientifically known as Ricinus communis, are used in Ayurveda for their various medicinal properties. Castor oil, derived from seeds, is particularly valued in traditional medicine for its therapeutic effects.

Ayurvedic properties of Castor Seeds and Castor Oil:

1. Rasa (Taste): Castor seeds are believed to have a bitter (Tikta) taste.

2. Virya (Potency): They are heating in nature (Ushna Virya).

3. Vipaka (Post-digestive taste): The post-digestive taste is pungent (Katu Vipaka).

4. Dosha Effects: Castor seeds and castor oil primarily balance Vata dosha due to their heating nature. However, in excess, they may increase Pitta dosha and aggravate Kapha dosha.

Ayurvedic Uses:

  1. Laxative: Castor oil is a potent laxative and is used to relieve constipation. It stimulates bowel movements and helps in easing the passage of stools.

  2. Anti-inflammatory: Castor oil possesses anti-inflammatory properties and can be applied topically to manage inflammation and reduce swelling.

  3. Skin Health: It is used in certain Ayurvedic formulations to improve skin health and manage skin conditions like acne, rashes, and dryness.

  4. Joint Health: Castor oil is used in traditional Ayurvedic massage to soothe joint pain and improve joint mobility.

  5. Detoxification: Castor oil is known for its detoxifying properties and is sometimes used for cleansing purposes.

  6. Hair and Scalp Health: It is used in hair care to nourish the scalp and promote healthy hair growth.

4. What are the benefits of Castor Seeds?

Castor is used very effectively in the treatment of rheumatic and skin disorders. It is a harmless purgative. It is beneficial in ailments like multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy, pain from rheumatism, gastrointestinal problems, menstrual disorders, migraines, age spots, skin abrasions, and inflammation.

Here are some health benefits of castor seeds

For Constipation

Castor oil is a harmless purgative which can be used without limitation of weather and the physiological nature of the patient. Generally, spring is the best season to administer purgative, but castor oil can be safely used throughout the year. It simply passes out after completing its purgative action, except for a mild irritation in the anus.

For Dandruff

Its regular use as hair oil promotes hair growth and cures dandruff, The oil boosts blood circulation to the follicles and promotes faster hair growth. The oil also has omega-6 essential fatty acids, responsible for healthy hair. The oil is also used for the correction of bald patches and hair darkening.

For Breast Milk Secretion

Castor oil is massaged over the breast after the child’s birth to stimulate the mammary glands and increase the flow of milk. Castor leaves can also be used to foment the breast for the same purpose.

For Rheumatism

A poultice of castor seeds can be applied, which gives beneficial results to gouty and rheumatic swellings. A decoction of the roots of the castor plant with carbonate of potash is useful in the treatment of lumbago. Rheumatism and sciatica.

For Skin Disorders

Castor leaves are a useful external application to boils and swellings, it helps to give relief from scrofulous sores and boils caused by tuberculosis of lymph nodes.

For Natural Birth-Control

According to Ayurvedic and Unani treatise, if a woman chews one castor seed daily for a period of seven days after the menstruation, she will not conceive during that month. This has been interpreted by many to mean castor seed is an herb for birth control. When pregnancy is desired, the practice can be given up and conception follows a year later.

Other Benefits

Castor oil massage before bath over the body keeps the skin healthy and imparts sound sleep. It can be taken once a week.

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5. How to use Ricinus Communis / Castor Seeds?

Castor oil is one of the natural products that fight several ailments. Castor oil is very effective for the treatment of skin problems like sunburn, acne, ringworm, wrinkles, fine Lines dry skin, and stretch marks. It also prevents infections like warts, boils, athlete’s foot, and chronic itching. The oil is a good skin moisturizer and disinfectant for wounds.

Dosage and uses depend upon the health problems and conditions or as recommended by an Ayurvedic doctor. The general recommended dosage is 3-6 grams of castor daily once a day.

Here are some home remedies for Ashoka Bark

  • Take 30-60 grams of odorless castor oil with 250 to 375 grams of lukewarm milk. Helps to give relief from constipation. If milk is not suitable for you then take it with ginger water or aqua anisi.
  • Apply castor leaves to increase breast milk.
  • Make a decoction of the castor roots with carbonate of potash is useful in the treatment of lumbago, rheumatism, and sciatica.
  • Make a paste of castor seeds without the embryo, boiled in milk, this will help to give relief from, rheumatism, and sciatica.
  • Take castor leaves and coated with a bland oil such as coconut oil and heat, the leaves can be applied over guinea-worms sores to extract the worms.
  • A poultice of castor seeds is also applied to scrofulous sores and boils caused by tuberculosis of lymph nodes.
  • Apply castor oil over hand and feet, before going to bed, keeps them soft.
  • Apply castor oil over eyebrows and eyelashes, keeping them well-groomed.

6. Side Effects of Castor Seeds.

All Ayurveda herbs are plant-based, and they don’t have any side effects, but they may react with some allopathy or homeopathy medicine. It is better to consult the doctor if you are on any medications or have unique health issues.

Repeated use of castor oil as a laxative may cause secondary constipation, that is, recurrence of the condition after some time. Persons suffering from kidney infections should not take castor oil as a purgative.

Here are some side effects of Castor Seeds.

  • Consult the doctor if you are breastfeeding.
  • Do not take without a doctor’s prescription if you are pregnant.
  • Do not take Castor Seeds if you are suffering from any kind of critical disease.
  • If you are on diabetes or hypertension medication. Consult first the doctor before consuming Castor Seeds
  • If you are above 65 years old and want to start Castor Seeds, consult the doctor, and talk about the health conditions.
  • If you are on any supplements, vitamins, or herbal medication, consult the doctor before taking Castor Seeds.
  • Stop taking Castor Seeds at least two weeks before a scheduled surgery.
  • Castor Seeds may interact with other medicines like blood sugar or blood pressure allopathy medicines.
  • Castor oil should not be used in abdominal pain or intestinal infections such as appendicitis, enteritis, inflammation of the small intestine and peritonitis.


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