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Home » Plant infomation

Ricinus communis  L.


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Botanical Name


Ricinus communis L.

English Name


Castor or Castor Oil



Palma christi; Ricinus dicoccus, Ricinus europaeus, Nees., Ricinus laevis, DC., Ricinus viridis, Willd. Ricinus lividus, Jacq. Ricinus africanus, Mill.





General Info


The leaves are placed alternately on the stem, on long, curved, purplish foot-stalks, with drooping blades, generally 6 to 8 inches across, sometimes still larger, palmately cut for threefourths of their depth into seven to eleven lance-shaped, pointed, coarsely toothed segments. When fully expanded, they are of a blue-green colour, paler beneath and smooth; when young, they are red and shining. The flowers are male and female on the same plant, and are produced on a clustered, oblong, terminal spike. The male flowers are placed on the under portion of the spike; they have no corolla, only a green calyx, deeply cut into three to five segments, enclosing numerous, much branched, yellow stamens. The female flowers occupy the upper part of the spike and have likewise no corolla. The three narrow segments of the calyx are, however, of a reddish colour, and the ovary in their centre is crowned by deeply-divided, carmine-red threads (styles). The fruit is a blunt, greenish, deeply-grooved capsule less than an inch long, covered with soft, yielding prickles in each of which a seed is developed. The seeds of the different cultivated varieties differ much in size and in external markings but average seeds are of an oval, laterally compressed form. The smaller, annual varieties yield small seeds- the tree forms, large seeds. They have a shining, marble-grey and brown, thick, leathery outer coat, within which is a thin, dark-coloured, brittle coat. A large, distinct, leafy embryo lies in the middle of a dense, oily tissue (endosperm).

Herb Effects

Laxative (seed oil); lowers blood sugar (leaf and stem); diuretic and poisonous (can be fatal) (seed); antiviral and stimulates milk production and flow (leaf decoction); anticancer and antiprotozoal (stem and root); kills bacteria, contraceptive, emollient.


Ricinus communis L.
Ricinus communis
Herb Information
Plants for a Future


Active Ingredients

Ricin (a toxic seed albumin); ricinoleic acid and its glycerides (seed oil); ricinine, norlupan and lupeol (seed coat); various amino acids (leaf, root and stem); apigenin, hyperoside, rutin, chlorogenin and coumarin (flower); chlorogenic acid, kaempferol, quercetin (plant); ellagic acid, ferulic acid, gallic acid, isoquercitrin (leaf)

Chemistry of Active Ingredients
Product Categories






Product Categories
Ricinoleic acid 8040-35-5 12-hydroxyoctadec-9-
enoic acid
C18H34O Click Here To Enlarge
Ricinine Not Available 4-methoxy-1-methyl-2
C8H8N2O2 Click Here To Enlarge
Lupeol Not Available Not Available C30H50O Click Here To Enlarge
Apigenin 520-36-5 4,5-dihydroxy-2-(4-h
C15H10O5 Click Here To Enlarge
Hyperoside 482-36-0 2-(3,4-dihydroxyphen
(hydroxyme thyl)oxa
C21H20O12 Click Here To Enlarge
Rutin Not Available 2-(3,4-dihydroxyphen
[(3,4,5-tr ihydroxy
l] oxy-chromen-7-on
e trihydrate
C27H36O19 Click Here To Enlarge
Chlorogenin 562-34-5 Not Available C27H44O4 Click Here To Enlarge
Coumarin 60094-90-8 6-(1,2-dihydroxy-3-m
C15H16O5 Click Here To Enlarge
Chlorogenic acid 327-97-9 3-[3-(3,4-dihydroxyp
cyclohexan e-1-carb
oxylic acid
C16H18O9 Click Here To Enlarge
Kaempferol 80714-53-0 3-[3-[4,5-dihydroxy-
(hydroxyme thyl)oxa
-2 -yl]oxy-4,5-dihy
C33H40O21 Click Here To Enlarge
Quercetin Not Available 2-(3,4-dihydroxyphen
C15H10O7 Click Here To Enlarge
Ellagic acid Not Available Not Available C14H6O8 Click Here To Enlarge
Gallic acid 149-91-7 3,4,5-trihydroxybenz
oic acid
C7H6O5 Click Here To Enlarge
Isoquercitrin 21637-25-2 3-[5-(1,2-dihydroxye
,4-dihydro xyphenyl
C21H20O12 Click Here To Enlarge


Medicinal Use

As one of the best laxatives (seed oil); poultice for boils, rheumatism and sores (seed paste); skin diseases, such as ringworm, and itching, as an emmenagogue (leaf decoction);in temporary constipation and wherever a mild action is essential, and is extremely useful for children and the aged, for various cutaneous complaints, such as ringworm, itch, dropped into the eye to remove the after-irritation caused by the removal of foreign bodies (oil); used by nursing mothers as an external application, to increase the flow of milk, as a poultice to relieve headaches and treat boils and diabetes (leaves).


The seed is very poisonous; the oil should not be taken as a purgative for those suffering from kidney infections. It should also not be used when there is abdominal pain or intestinal infections.


Chandel et al., Biodiversity in Medicinal and Aromatic Plants in India.

The Himalaya Drug Company.

Bentley and Trimen, Medicinal Plants.

Sharma, Classical Uses of Medicinal Plants.



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