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About Authors:
KM. Preeti*, Ansu Bala Verma
Department of Pharmacology, Rameshwaram institute of technology and management,
Lucknow- 227202,  India

In recent years, Ricinus communis Linn. has become a subject of interest because of its beneficial effects on human health. The present ethnopharmacological review was conducted to evaluate the therapeutic properties of  Ricinus communis by scientific evidences. It belongs to the family Euphobiaceae, which is commonly known as castor. Ricinus communis is found thoughout the hotter parts of India. This plant is extensively used in Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha, Homeopathic and Allopathic system of medicine as cathartic. Traditionally  this plant is used as laxative, purgative, fertilizer and fungicides etc. whereas the plant possess beneficial effects as antioxidant, antifertility, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, CNS stimulant, antidiabetic, insecticidal, larvicidal, antinociceptive, antiasthmatic, antiulcer, immunomodulatory, hepatoprotective, lipolytic, wound healing and central analgesic and many other medicinal properties. The extracts or the isolated compounds of this plant have been found to have potent activity against various ailments. The aim of present article is to explore the pharmacological or medicinal importance of the plant Ricinus communis linn.


PharmaTutor (ISSN: 2347 - 7881)

Volume 2, Issue 3

Received On: 19/01/2014; Accepted On: 27/01/2014; Published On: 05/03/2014

How to cite this article: KM Preeti, AB Verma, A Review on Ethnopharmacological Potential of Ricinus Communis Linn., PharmaTutor, 2014, 2(3), 76-85

Erand has been freely used all over India since centuries. In day to day life, it is commonly used as a purgative. The botanical name of erand is Ricinus communis and it belongs to family Euphorbiaceae.1 The seeds, seed oil, leaves and the roots of erand have great medicinal value. The plant is equally useful, both internally as well as externally. Externally, castor is effectively used in the diseases of vata associated with pain and swellings. Internally, erand is used as a potent drug in treating diseases of vata viz. arthritis, sciatica, facial palsy, paralysis, bodyache, tremors, headache etc.2 The plant is native of India and cultivated throughout the country in gardens and fields and also grows wild in waste places. R.communis is a small wooden tree which grows to about 6 meters in height and found in South Africa, India, Brazil, and Russia. Stems of Ricinus communis have Anticancer, Antidiabetic and Antiprotozoal activity.3 In the Indian system of medicine, the leaf, root and seed oil of this plant have been used for the treatment of inflammation and liver disorders4, as they have been found to be anti-nociceptive5, hepatoprotective6, laxative7 and diuretic8.

The castor oil plant is a fast-growing, suckering perennial shrub or occasionally a soft wooded small tree up to 6 meter or more, but it is not hardy in nature. This plant was cultivated for leaf and flower colors and for oil production9  Leaves are alternate, curved, cylindrical, purplish petioles, sub peltate, drooping, stipules large, ovate, yellowish, united into a cap enclosing the buds, deciduous, blade 6-8 inches across, palmately cut for three quarters of its depth into 7-11 lanceolate, acute, coarsely serrate segments, smooth blue green, paler beneath, red and shining when young. Flowers are monoecious, large, arranged on the thick rachis of an oblong, spicate panicle, which is at first terminal but becomes lateral by the growth of an axillary bud beneath it; male flowers shortly stalked, on branched peduncles at the base of the panicle, pedicels articulated about the middle; female flowers sessile, at the upper part; bracts broadly triangular. Fruit is blunt, greenish, deeply-grooved, tricoccus capsule, less than an inch long, with the prominences of the ovary becomes sharp, weak, spreading spines, 3-celled, dehiscing loculicidally and septicidally into 6 valves. Seeds are ovoid, flattened, nearly 5/8 inch long by ¼ broad, smooth, shining, pinkish- grey, prettily mottled with dark brown, caruncle large, subglobular, raphe faintly raised, running down centre of ventral surface, embryo large in axis of the endosperm, cotyledons foliaceous, broadly ovate, with a cordate base, veined.10 Roots are light in weight almost straight withfewrootlets, outer surface dull yellowish brown, nearly smooth but marked with longitudinal wrinkels.11

Vernacular names
English : Castor, Castor-oil plant
Hindi : Arand, Arand, Andi, Rend
Sanskrit : Gandharvahasta, Vatari
Gujrat: Erandio, Erando
Assam: Eda, Era
Kanada: Haralu, Oudala, Gida
Malyalam: Avanakku
Marathi: Errand
Bengali: Bherenda12

Taxonomical classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malpighiales
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Sub Family: Acalyphoideae
Tribe: Acalypheae
Sub Tribe: Ricininae
Genus: Ricinus
Species: communis

Benefits of the plant
Castor oil is widely used as a catharatic, and also for lubrication and illumination. The oil as such or after modification finds extensive applications in industry, particularly in USA. Bulk of the commercial oil is generally processed in a number of ways and then used for different purposes. The treated oil finds use in products like paints, enamels and varnishes, oiled fabrics, linoleum, patent leather, fly-paper, typewriting and printing inks, greases and special lubricants, polishes, waxes, cutting, dielectric and condenser oils, softening agent for gelatin in rayon sizing, nitrocellulose-baking finishes, hydraulic brake fluids, urethane foams and rubber substitutes, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and insecticidal formulations. Oil from the perennial types is used for illumination and lubrication while that from the annual types is preferred for medicinal use. Castor oil is often given orally, alone or with quinine sulphate to induce labour in pregnancy at term. The oil can be used as a vehicle for parenteral administration of steroidal hormones. It is used in the preparation of liquid disinfectants like phenyls. It is an excellent illuminant and has been used in lamps from very early times in India. It is used in soap making. Castor cake is used as manure in India. It is rich in nitrogen and other minerals, and has been found to be suitable as a manure for paddy, sugarcane, tobacco etc. Leaves are occasionally fed to cattle. They are reported to increase the yield of milk. The powdered leaves are used for repelling aphids, mosquitoes, white flies and rust mites. The insectisidal activity is probably due to the presence of the alkaloid ricinine in them. Expressed juice and aqueous and alkaline extracts of the leaves were active against mycobacteria and yeast. Leaves are said to used in the form of a poultice or fomentation on sores, boils and swellings. Leaves coated with oil and warmed, are commonly applied over the abdomen to give relief in the flatulence in the children. An infusion of leaves is used for stomache-ache, and as a lotion for the eye. Pounded leaves are said to give relief in caries, and are applied over guineaworm sores to extract the worm. Fresh juice of leaves is reported to be used as an emetic in the poisoning by narcotics like opium; it is also considered useful in jaundice. Leaves are considered lactagogue and are applied as poultice over the breasts or taken internally in the form of juice. Roots are administered in the form of a decoction for lumbago and allied complaints, in the form of a paste for toothache. Root bark is reported to be a powerful purgative.13,14,15

Phytochemical constituents
The presences of various phytoconstituents in different parts of Ricinus communis Linn have been reported.

Fatty acid
Seed oil of castor-plant showed the presence of  fatty acid, ricinoleic acid (12-hydroxyoctadec-9-enoic acid). Ricinoleic acid comprises over 84% while other fatty acids present were linoleic (7.3%), oleic (5.5%), palmitic (1.3%), stearic (1.2%) and linolenic (0.5%), respectively.16

Essential oil
The GC-MS analyses of R. Communis essential oil using capillary columns has showncompounds like @-thujone (31.71%), @-pinene (16.88%), camphor (12.92%) and camphene (7.48%).17

Triterpenoid saponin
The Seeds of Ricinus communis showed thepresence of Triterpenoid Saponin, 3-O-[β -D-glucoronopyranosyl-(1→ 3)-α –L-rhamnopyranosyl-(1→ 2)β- D-glucopyranosyl]-4α,20α-hydroxy methyl olean-12-ene-28-oic acid.18

Five types of castor bean seed oil triacylglycerols were identified as triricinolein, RRR (84.1%),diricinoleoylstearoylglycerol, RRS (8.2%), diricinoleoyloleoyl-glycerol, RRO (5.6%), diricinoleoyllinoleoylglycerol, RRL (1.2%) and diricinoleoylpalmitoyl-glycerol, RRP (0.9%) respectively.16

The dried leaves of R. communis showed the presence of six flavones glycosides kaempferol-3-Oβ-D-xylopyranoside, kaempferol-3-O-β-D-glucopyranoside, quercetin-3-O-β-D xylopyranoside, quercetin-3-O-β-D-glucopyranoside, kaempferol-3-O-β-rutinoside and quercetin-3-O-β-rutinoside.19 Seed and leaf of R. Communis also showed the presence of flavonoids like prunin 2’-o-para coumaroyl, prunin 6”-o-para coumaroyl.20

Seeds of ricinus communis contain three toxic proteins Ricin A, B and C and one ricinus agglutinin.21

Entire plant of  Ricinus communis showed the presence of steroid Brassicasterol and Campesterol .22


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