Botanical characteristic. Euphorbiaceae family. An annual, fast-growing plant, 1.5-2 m high. The root is taproot, branched, deepens into the soil up to 3 m. The stem is cylindrical, hollow, juicy, green. Stem and branches with red-violet pigmentation. Leaves alternate, numerous, palmately dissected. Flowers solitary, small, numerous. The fruit is a rounded three-celled box with three seeds. Seeds are oval, shiny.
Spreading. Castor beans are native to tropical Africa. In the USSR, they are grown in the North Caucasus, in the steppe zone of Ukraine, in Central Asia, the Volga region, Transcaucasia. The culture is thermophilic, requires a long daylight hours.
Medicinal raw materials. The fruits of the plant are harvested in the fall as they ripen in a mechanized way. Dried on currents until the seeds are completely dry, threshed and cleaned. Castor oil is obtained from the seeds.
Chemical composition. The seeds contain 40-50% fatty oil (castor oil), which consists mainly of glycerides of ricinolic and ricinisolic acids. Stearic, oleic, linoleic and other acids, glycerin, and a small number of unsaponifiable substances are also found in the oil. In addition to oil, castor bean seeds contain protein substances (globulin, albumin, poisonous ricin), nitrogen-free substances and fiber. Upon receipt of castor oil, ricin remains in the cake.
pharmacological properties.Castor oil has a laxative effect. After being administered orally in the small intestine, it is saponified under the influence of an alkaline environment and the lipase enzyme, releasing ricinolic acid and its salts. The latter irritate the receptors of the intestinal mucosa and reflexively increase peristalsis, causing a laxative effect. Salts of ricinolic acid are rapidly absorbed, and therefore the laxative effect is mainly limited to the small intestine. A reliable laxative effect begins only in carnivores and omnivores, in which the volume of the large intestine is small. In herbivores with a large large intestine, the laxative effect of castor oil is mild. The laxative effect begins 5-6 hours after taking the oil.
Application. Castor oil as a laxative is used for constipation, poisoning, intestinal blockage, etc., and externally in the form of Vishnevsky’s emulsion for ulcers, burns, to restore the epidermis of the skin, etc. Doses inside: horses 250 – 500 ml, cattle 250 -800, sheep 50-150, pigs 20-100, dogs 15-50, cats 10-30, chickens 5-15 ml.