CASTOR OIL - An Age Old Remedy

Castor oil is a vegetable oil pressed from castor beans. It is a colourless to pale yellow liquid with a distinct taste and odour.

Erand is an ordinary looking tall shrub that sometimes grown to the height of a small tree. Known as gandharvahasta in Sanskrit and Ricinus communis botanically, the plant is usually seen growing near habitations and wasteland. But it is also cultivated as a commercial crop. Though the oil of erand which is known as castor oil is largely used as medicine. The leaves and root of the plant also possess curative properties.
One of the freemost herbs to treat vata disorders, erand has been mentioned in almost all the ancient ayurvedic texts. It has been described as sweet and pungent in taste but hot, sharp and heavy in efffect. All over the world, castor oil is commonly used as a safe purgative.
Castor oil has anti-inflammatory, analgesic and carminative properties. However, in ayurveda, it is best known for its anti-rheumatic action. It is also used in a number of diseases like the sciatica, lumbago syndrome, paralysis, parkinson’s disease, constipation and also in many skin problems. Here are a few tips indicating its common uses in different diseases.
The use of castor oil forms the basic treatment of rheumatoid arthritis in ayurved. In its early stage, taking ten to twenty ml of castor oil and two grams of the powder of dry ginger with a cup of warm milk daily for a fortnight at bed time reduces inflammation and early morning stiffness of the joints which is a characteristic feature of the disease.
Chronic backache and sciatica
The kheer of erand seeds after boiling them in milk, is a famous household remedy for the sciatica lumbago syndrome. The same recipe is also given to patients of  other vata diseases like hemiplegia and parkinson’s disease.
Varying in dose from patient to patient, castor oil is a simple and harmless purgative. Usually twenty to sixty ml, it can be taken at bed time with lukewarm milk. Castor oil works faster if it is taken during daytime.
Skin diseases
Castor oil and its leaves are used in many poultices which are applied over inflammed condition of skin. Its application is also beneficial if it is done on to the cracked feet.
Since erand is a drug of choice in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, there are various ayurvedic medicines containing castor oil and the bark of the erand root like Singhnad guggul, Rasna saptak qwath, Erandpak and Brihat Saindhavadi tailam are a few famous classic medicines.
An over dose of castor oil may cause nausea, vomiting and griping in the abdomen, whereas its habitual use results in rebound constipation. Castor oil should also be used with care in pregnant women.

Sanjivani Clinic,
Ludhiana (Pb.)