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Ricinus Communis

A purgative oil is expressed from the seeds, called “Aceite de Ricino” (castor oil)

USES.—A purgative oil is expressed from the seeds, called “Aceite de Ricino” (castor oil). It operates mechanically in the intestinal tract and its action is rapid and is indicated whenever it is desired simply to empty the intestines without producing any irritating effect; it is, therefore, a purgative indicated in diseases of children, in pregnancy, and in hemorrhoidal congestions where a nonirritating evacuation of the rectum is desired. It is an anthelmintic, though not ordinarily given alone, but in combination with other drugs of a purely anthelmintic action, the object being to expel the worms which have been attacked by the specific.

Oil extracted simply by expression is less purgative than that obtained by treating the seeds with bisulphide of carbon and absolute alcohol; also less purgative than the seeds themselves, because it contains only a very small proportion of a drastic principle existing exclusively in the seeds; this principle is completely dissolved in the oil extracted by chemical process.

It is pale yellow in color, very viscid, with a characteristic mouldy odor. The purgative dose is 10–30 grams. A small dose may purge as actively as a larger one provided that the patient drink abundantly after the administration of the drug. The best method of disguising its taste is by giving it in half a cup of very strong, hot coffee. Just before the dose, take a swallow of coffee to disguise the taste even more effectually.

Castor oil enters into the composition of elastic collodion (simple collodion, 30 grams, castor oil, 2 grams). The leaves pounded and boiled are applied as a poultice to foul ulcers.

BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION.—There are two forms of this variety in the Philippines, possessing the same properties and known by the same common name: R.

viridis, Müll. (R. communis, Blanco) and R. subpurpurascens, Müll.; the former is the more common and has a glabrous, fistular stem. Leaves peltate, palmately cleft in 7 or 9 lobules, lanceolate, serrate. Petioles long. Flowers greenish, monoecious, the staminate ones in large panicled clusters below the pistillate.

Filaments numerous, subdivided into several anther-bearing branches. Pistillate flowers, 3 sepals, 3 styles. Seed vessel, 3 prickly capsules, containing solitary seeds.

The R. subpurpurascens is distinguished from the former by bearing 2 glandules at the base of the leaves, the mulberry color of which latter suggests its common name, Tag̃antag̃an na morado, Tag., Vis.

HABITAT.—Very common in Luzon, Mindanao and other islands.

Reference book: The Medicinal Plants of the Philippines

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