Castor Oil 
 
The castor bean plant, Ricinus communis, is a "native of tropical Africa cultivated in several varieties for the oil found in its leaves and for its bold foliage." (Alber and Alber) 

The "stalked leaves consist of usually eight radiating, pointed leaflets with slightly serrated edges and prominent central veins. Many varieties are green, but some are reddish brown." (Cooper and Johnson) The flowers are green and inconspicuous, but pink or red in the pigmented varieties. Many stamens are near the base and branching pistils are near the top of the flower. The soft-spined fruits containing attractively mottled seeds are distinctive features of the plant. 

Castor beans are pressed to extract castor oil which is used for medicinal purposes. Ricin (a toxic substance present in the plant) does not partition into the oil because it is water-soluble, therefore, castor oil does not contain ricin, provided that no cross-contamination occurred during its production.

Although it is native to the Ethiopian region of tropical east Africa, the castor bean or castor plant (Ricinus communis) has become naturalized in tropical and warm temperate regions throughout the world, and is becoming an increasingly abundant weed in the southwestern United States. Castor plants are very common along stream banks, river beds, bottom lands, and just about any hot area where the soil is well drained and with sufficient nutrients and moisture to sustain the vigorous growth. Although the seeds or beans are extremely poisonous, they are the source of numerous economically important products and are one of earliest commercial products. Castor beans have been found in ancient Egyptian tombs dating back to 4000 B.C., 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 nature's finest natural oils.

The seeds from the castor bean plant, Ricinus communis, are poisonous to people, animals and insects. One of the main toxic proteins is "ricin", named by Stillmark in 1888 when he tested the beans extract on red blood cells and saw them agglutinate. Now we know that the agglutination was due to another toxin that was also present, called RCA (Ricinus communis agglutinin). Ricin is a potent cytotoxin but a weak hemagglutinin, whereas RCA is a weak cytotoxin and a powerful hemagglutinin. 

Poisoning by ingestion of the castor bean is due to ricin, not RCA, because RCA does not penetrate the intestinal wall, and does not affect red blood cells unless given intravenously. If RCA is injected into the blood, it will cause the red blood cells to agglutinate and burst by hemolysis. 

Perhaps just one milligram of ricin can kill an adult. 

It is advisable to keep children away from the castor bean plant or necklaces made with its seeds. In fact don't even have them in or around a house with small children. If they ingest the leaves or swallow the seeds, they may get poisoned. The highly toxic seeds beaded into necklaces, cause skin irritation at the contact point. 

If the seed is swallowed without chewing, and there is no damage to the seed coat, it will most likely pass harmlessly through the digestive tract. However, if it is chewed or broken and then swallowed, the ricin toxin will be absorbed by the intestines. 

It is said that just one seed can kill a child. Children are more sensitive than adults to fluid loss due to vomiting and diarrhea, and can quickly become severely dehydrated and die. 
 
Castor bean plants in a garden should not be allowed to flower and seed. A good practice is to "nip it in the bud". 

Symptoms of Deficiency or Need:
Problems: cholecystitis (inflammation of the gall bladder), poor elimination, epilepsy, various liver conditions such as cirrhosis and torpid liver, scleroderma, headaches, appendicitis, arthritis, incoordination between assminilations and elimination, colitis, intestinal disorders such as stricture and colon impaction, incoordination between nervous systems, neuritis, and toxemia.

Supplemental value:
The part of the plant that is used medicinally is the oil extracted from the beans. The rest of the plant is poisonous.

Edgar Cayce endorsed abdominal castor oil packs as a home remedy for all types of problems involving lymph flow, such as inflammation, congestion, constipation, liver, kidney, and pelvic disorders. 

Preliminary studies on castor oil packs done at the George Washington School of Medicine indicate that they improve immune system functioning. 
 
Suggested Dosage:
Applied to the lower abdomen, at least three times per week for sixty minutes each time to improve blood flow. This regimen should be followed for at least three months and then can be tapered to once a week. Packs should not be used while you are bleeding heavily. 

Where can you get it?
Buy the oil from your local pharmacy.

Natural Sources?
Given the toxicity of the plant to insects, animals and humans, probably it is best to buy the oil and not take a chance on accidental poisoning...

Related Articles:
Instructions for Castor Oil Packs
Edgar Cayce On Castor Oil Packs

Improved technique for Cayce Castor packs
Castor packs and Carcinoma Tumor

Related Sites:
The Castor Bean
The Cayce Herbal - Remedies

Instructions for Castor Oil Packs
Applied to the lower abdomen, at least three times per week for sixty minutes each time to improve blood flow. This regimen should be followed for at least three months and then can be tapered to once a week. Packs should not be used while you are bleeding heavily. They are made by saturating wool or cotton flannel, folded four-ply, with cold-pressed castor oil (cloth should not be dripping). The oil and flannel can be purchased at a health food store or directly from the company that makes them.

The oil-saturated flannel is then placed directly on the skin of the lower abdomen and covered with a piece of plastic, such as a plastic bag. Heat, in the form of a hot water bottle or heating pad , is then applied over the pack. A blanket or towel can be placed over the heat source to keep everything in place.

A non-electric heat source is best. A hot water bottle known as a Fomentek bag is OK. The patient reclines with this on her lower abdomen for sixty minutes. A supplement to this is that during this treatment you pay attention to thoughts, images, and feelings that arise and make note of them in a journal. Preliminary studies on castor oil packs done at the George Washington School of Medicine indicate that they improve immune system functioning. The flannel can be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator and used over again. Add extra castor oil as needed.

After the treatment, you can clean your skin with a solution of two teaspoons of baking soda dissolved in one quart of water.

Edgar Cayce on Castor Oil Packs

The most frequent use of castor oil is in castor oil packs. The packs are recommended for: cholecystitis (inflammation of the gall bladder), poor elimination, epilepsy, various liver conditions such as cirrhosis and torpid liver, scleroderma, headaches, appendicitis, arthritis, incoordination between assminilations and elimination, colitis, intestinal disorders such as stricture and colon impaction, incoordination between nervous systems, neuritis, and toxemia.

"Heat the Oil; dipping two, three to four layers of flannel in same, wring out and apply directly to the body. Well that dry heat be kept over same during the period of an hour or the like when the Packs are on the body. Bathe off the body afterwards, of course, with a weak soda solution, to cleanse the body from the acidity and from the natural secretions that arise from same." [Reading #1034-1]

"Be well to put oil paper or cloth over the Packs, for we should have great quantities of the Oil. Do not make them TOO hot, but so as to at least drive them into the body. It is well to put these on and then apply external heat; as the electric pad or salt bags or the like. DRY heat, though, rather than wet heat." [Reading #1312-3]

The suggested use of the castor oil pack varied from: several hours at a time, until relief is obtained; to continued use according to a cycle, such as three days of use alternated with four days off.
 
The following reading excerpts give further information on the function of the castor oil packs:

"The effect of these oil packs is to enliven, through the activity of the absorption through the perspiratory system, the activities in such natures and measures as to produce a greater quantity (than at present) and a superficial activity of the lymph circulation; hence setting up drainages to such measures that the poisons will be eliminated from the system..." [Reading #631-4]

"Or there may be the use of hot Castor Oil Packs that may assist in so dissolving the gravel in the gall duct and the gall bladder that it might be drained osteopathically, after a long series. This would require a much longer period but would be a much safer manner." [Reading #3160-1]

"From EVERY condition that is of true epileptic nature there will be found a cold spot or area between the lacteal duct and the caecum. Over this area every other day, in the afternoon when the body rests from its physical exercise in the open, apply Castor Oil packs, for a period of at least TWO times every other day... We will break up this tendency for the lymph ducts, in the ducts of the lacteals and in the caecum and colon (ascending here), that tendency for contraction and for the activities that help to bring on the conditions that produce incoordination to the nerve forces of the body." [Reading #567-4] 

Use for warts and moles
There were a few cases in which castor oil was recommended for internal dosage although other readings strongly cautioned against it.
In the majority of cases castor oil was recommended to be used in a great variety of external uses: A mixture of castor oil and baking soda applied on callouses on the feet, moles, ingrown toenails and warts.
"Apply a paste of baking soda with Castor Oil. Mix together and apply of evenings. Just the proportions so it makes almost a GUM; not as dough but more as gum, see? A pinch between the fingers with three to four drops in the palm of the hand, and this worked together and then placed on - bound on. It may make for irritation after the second or third application, but leave it off for one evening and then apply the next - and it will be disappearing!" [Reading #1179-4]

Castor oil was also recommended to be massaged on callouses, cancer (skin and breast), cysts, bunions, moles, tumors and warts.
Edgar Cayce Readings © 1971 Edgar Cayce Fdtn

Improved technique for Cayce Castor packs
We have "improved" on cayce's use of castor packs by using ginger with
it... with great success... have used it for kidney stones, gallstones
(chronic conditions, not necessary for simple acute stones which respond
so well to potato water), for various liver problems such as congestion,
hepatitis, jaundice, even cirrhosis... of course for these "heavier"
dis-eases this was only part of the protocol which was worked out with
and through physicians...
 
We rub the castor oil over the upper abdominal area, after creating a
decocttion of the ginger root slices... we soak a cotton cloth in the
decoction, place it as hot as the patient can take it over the castor
oiled area, cover this with a thick cotton towel, wrap a blanket around
it all to keep the heat in... sometimes even use a hot water bottle
between the towel and the blanket... keep it on for about an hour... the
client feels "chemical-burning-like-sensations in the livers as the
actions begin... this disappears rather quickly (in minutes) and then the
healing has begun...
 
Serious chronic cases have to do this twice a day for a few days, then
cut to once a day, then a few times a week, then once a week... and the
liver and gallbladder and kidneys all get strong and after a few months
no treatments are required, no stones are produced...
 
Castor packs and Carcinoma Tumor
I personally know of a woman who had a renal clear cell carcinoma tumor on
her kidney. She had it surgically removed the first time with homeopathic
follow-up care. About a year later a cat scan showed that the tumor had
started to regrow. She was deeply depressed so I suggested she try the
castor oil pack as recommended by Cayce along with a "Prayer for Healing"
from the Cayce readings. "Anything to avoid surgery, again." she replied.
She followed the directions and two months later she reported that the cat
scan could not find any evidence of a tumor and of course the doctors were
really amazed.

During the time she was wearing the pack she learned to make it a time of
meditation. During that meditation time she realized that she needed to
retire and change her lifestyle. Today, many years later, she is still
alive and in good health.
Armand & Lorie

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