Compilation of herbal plants (description, geographical distribution, taxonomy, line drawings), biodiversity and herbarium.

Read More
Research & Publication

Description of herbal and T&CM research, searchable publication and process from medicinal plant discovery to clinical trial in producing a high-quality registered herbal drug.

Read More
Traditional & Complementary Medicine (T&CM)


Definition and description of therapies, policy, training and education, research in the practise of (T&CM) and integrated medicine system.           

Read More


News Update

Announcement & Advertisement

Forthcoming Events

Annual Congress on Traditional Medicine

From Wed, 12. May 2021 Until Thu, 13. May 2021

5th International Conference on Medical and Health Informatics (ICMHI 2021

From Fri, 14. May 2021 Until Sun, 16. May 2021

International Conference on Traditional Medicine and Phytochemistry 2021

From Mon, 12. July 2021 Until Wed, 14. July 2021

Asian Symposium on Medicinal Plants and Spices XVII (2020)

From Tue, 17. August 2021 Until Thu, 19. August 2021

Ricinus communis


No documentation.

Vernacular Names:

Malaysia: Jarak, Jarak Besar, Kayu arang (Kadazan)
English:  Castor oil plant, Palma Christi

Jarak (Java); Jarak, Jarak Kaliki, Jarak Jitun (Sunda)

Thailand:  Mahung
Myanmar:  Kesu, Kyeksu
China:  Bi-ma-zi (China); Bay-mar-gee (Hong Kong)
Japan:  Himashi
Korea:  Pi-ma-ja
India:  Haralu, Manda, Oudla (Kan); Avanakku (Mal); Amanakku, Kottaimuttu, Amanakkan ceti (Tamil); Erandamu, Amudamu (Telegu); Eranda (Urdu); Bherenda (Bengali); Arand, Rendi, Arandi, Erand, Rand (Hindi)

Eranda, Pancangula, rubuka (Sanskrit); Eudaru, Telendaru (Singhalese)

Nepalese:  Alha, Areta, Reri
Arabic:  Khirwa, Charua ; Kharouaa
Persian:  Bedanjir, Bedangir
French:  Ricin, Palma Christi, Ricin commun
German:  Wunderbaum, Palme Christie
Greek:   Kiki
Italian:  Fagiolo d’India, Caffe do olio
Hawaiian:  Koli ulaula, Koli keokeo [1][3][4][6][9]

General Information


Ricinus communis is member of the Euphorbiaceae family. It is a perennial shrub or small tree that can grow to 2-4m., branched, completely glabrous, a glaucous green with yellow parts that are often reddish. The leaves are simple, alternate, downy and with a long petiole bearing shield-like epidermic glands. The limb is palmate-lobed, divided to 7-9 lanceolated, irregularly toothed, glandulous lobes. The flowers are apetalous, set in several groups to form a wide-panicled inflorescence. The male flowers are found at the base of the bush; their stamens are undefined, with many pollen loculi, and they hang together in very ramified bushes. The female flowers, set at the top of the bunch, have three red, lengthwise bifid styles. The fruit is a 2-3 cm, capsule composed of three prickly shells; each loculus contains a shiny seed about the size of a haricot bean, with a caruncle, covered with a very hard yellow/brown marbled integument. The flowering occurs between the month of March and June. [2]

Plant Part Used

Root, seed, leaves, roots. [5][6]

Chemical Constituents

2”-O-p-coumaroylprunin; 3,4-dimethoxy-6,8-dihydroxy-coumarin; 30-nor-lupan-3-beta-ol-20-one; 6,7-dihydroxy-8-methoxy-coumarin;    9,10-dioxystearic-acid; agmatine; alpha-tocopherol; beta-amyrin; beta-sitosterol; calcium; casbene; catalase; chlorogenic-acid; corilagin; edestine; ellagic-acid; endotrypsin; ferulic-acid; fucose; gallic-acid; gamma-tocopherol; glutamic-acid; glycolic-acid; hcn; hyperoside; invert-sugar; invertase; isoquercitrin; kaempferol; kaempferol-3-o-beta-d-glucopyranoside; kaempferol-3-o-beta-d-xylopyranoside; kaempferol-3-o-beta-rutinoside; l-(+)-norleucine;    lecithin; linoleic-acid; lipase; maltase; mannose; n-demethylricinine; n-heptylaldehyde; neo-chlorogenic-acid;    niacin; nucleoalbumin; oleic-acid; oxidase; p-coumaric-acid; palmitic-acid; peroxidase; phosphorus; protein; quercetin; quercetin-3-o-beta-d-glucopyranoside; quercetin-3-o-beta-d-xylopyranoside; quercetin-3-o-beta-rutinoside; quercitrin; reductase; riboflavin; ribonuclease; ricin; ricinine; ricinoleic-acid; ricinoleic-acid-esters; ricinolein; rutin; saccharose; sapogenin-acetate; shikimic-acid; squalene; stigmasterol; succinic-acid; sugar; tocopherols; trans-dehydromatricaria-ester; tridec-1-en-penta-3,5,7,9,11-in; triricinolein; uric-acid; water; zymogeneed. [10]

Traditional Used:

The roots are considered sweet, acrid, astringent, thermogenic, carminative, purgative, anthelmintic, emollient, diuretic, aphrodisiac, galactagogue, sudorific, expectorant and depurative. The leaves are diuretic, anthelmintic and galactagogue. Seeds are acrid, thermogenic, digestive, cathartic and aphrodisiac and oil obtained from the seeds is slightly bitter, acrid, sweet, antipyretic, thermogenic and viscous. [5] 

Gastrointestinal Diseases

Seed or seed oil of R. communis is used to treat constipation, to induce purging and vomiting in cases of food intoxication. It is also used to treat Acute gastritis, dyspepsia and abdominal pain. [2][4] For the treatment of haemorrhoids the oil expressed from the seeds is applied over the lesion. [6] The roots useful in gastropathy, constipation and colic. 

Respiratory Diseases

The fresh leaves soaked in olive oil is placed on the chest of children and newborn babies to relieve cold and mild repiratory problems. [2] For cough and bronchitis the roots is a better choice. [5] 

Obstetrics & Gynaecology Diseases

In India and Africa the seeds are considered contraceptive and a seed taken could prevent pregnancy for a year. The Algerians make us of the oil mixed with rabbit blood for the same purpose. [2][8] The seeds is also used to induced abortion. [2] In China it is use to treat dystocia and retained placents by applying to the Yangchuan point. [4] In Malaysia the roots is combined with other herbs in a decoction is given to women after delivery to help relieve postnatal pains. [6] The heated leaves when applied over the breast could promote lactation. [7] 

Inflammatory Diseases

The leaves and seeds of R. communis possess antibacterial properties which is recognised by the ancient scientists. They made use of this knowledge to treat abscess, scrofula, Carbuncle, and skin infection. [2] There others whose them for sore throat, lymphadenitis, tympanitis and toothaches. [4] In Malaysia the hollow petiole is heated and the resulting smoke is blown into the ear to treat earache and purulent discharge. [4][6] Roots are used in the treatment of leprosy and other skin diseases. [5]

Pre-Clinical Data


Anti-inflammatory activity

Ricinoleic acid is the main active principle of castor oil. Single topical application of ricinoleic acid initiates inflammatory while repeated application (over 8 days) inhibited inflammatory processes. Both the methanol and ethanol extracts of the roots of R. communis has significant anti-inflammatory activity in acute and chronic inflammatory models in rats. This activity may be due to the presence of flavonoids, alkaloids and tannins. [11][12][13] 

Cytotoxic activity

Ricin is a heterodimeric protein from the seeds of R. communis. It has cytotoxic activity by virtue of its ability to fatally disrupt protein synthesis. The cell entry process by ricin is postulated to be a 10 step process, which culminate into the protein synthesis disruption. A single molecule of ricin reaching the cytosol can kill the cell due to this. Therapeutically, it can be used to specifically target and destroy cancer cells. The leaves on the other hand, have another range of cytotoxic phytochemicals which induces apoptosis via translocation of phosphatidyl serine to the external serface of cell membrane and loss of mitochondrial potential. These compounds included three monoterpenoids: 1,8-cineole, camphor and alpha-pinene and a sesquiterpenoid: beta-caryophyllene. The Ricinus communis agglutinin I (RCA I) was found to preferentially binds to and is internalized by tumour endothelial cells leading to VEGFR-2 down-regulation, endothelial cell apoptosis and tumour vessel regression. It has no effect on normal blood vessels. [14][15][16] 

Bone regeneration activity

R. communis polyurethane (RCP) has been studied for its biocompatibility and its ability to stimulate bone regeneration. Results showed that RCP blended with calcium carbonate or calcium phosphate could promote matrix mineralization and are biocompatible materials. Incorporating Alkaline phosphotase to RCP with subsequent incubation in Synthetic body fluid could improve the biological properties of RCP. The advantage seen in RCP as compared to demineralized bone is that the former has a slower resorption process. [17][18][19][20] 

Antibacterial activity

Extracts of fermeneted seeds of R. communis showed antibacterial activity. Klebsiella pneumonia, Escherichia coli, Proteus vulgaris and Staphylococcus aureus were highly susceptible to methanol and aqueous extracts. [21] 

Antidiabetic activity

The 50% ethanol extract of roots of R. communis showed significant antihyperglycemic activity. It has a high margin of safety as studies done showed that there was no mortality and no significant difference in alkaline phosphatase, serum bilirubin, creatinine, serum glutamate oxaloacetate transaminase, serum glutamate pyruvate transaminase and total protein levels after testing with the extract. [22] 

Antifertility activity

A number of studies in animals (rats, rabbits and guinea pigs) showed the extracts of the seeds has antifertility activity. The extract showed anti-implantation activity together with premature opening of the vagina, increased in the number of epithelial cells and cornified cells with decrease in leucocyte number in vaginal smear. These oestrogenic actions are dose dependent. One possible mechanism was evidenced by the ability of ether extract of the bean to inhibit rat decidual stromal cells. This effect is probably due to the presence of phytosterols (ergost-5-en-3-ol, stigmasterol, gamma-sitosterol and fucosterol) in particular gamma-sitosterol. [23][24][25] 

Another series of studies showed that the seeds also has antifertility activity in male rats. 50% ethanol extract of R. communis was able to drastically recude the epididymal sperm count. There were also altered motility, mode of movement and morphology of sperms. The reduction in the fructose and testosterone levels observed was suggestive of the reduced reproductive performance. [27] The methanol extract of the seeds caused significant decrease in the weight of reproductive organs, sperm functions and serum levels of testosterone in rats. Histologically there were disorganization of the cytoarchitecture of the testes, disruption of the seminiferous tubules and erosion of the germinal epithelium. The effects were revisable. The changes could probably be mediated via gonaldal disruption in testosterone secretion. [28] 

CNS stimulant activity

Extract of pericarp of R. communis showed typical central nervous system stimulant effects in mice as evidenced by the presence of exophthalmia, tremors and clonic seizures appearing immediately after receiving large doses of the extract. However, lower doses improved memory consolidation and some neuroleptic-like properties (decrease in exploratory behavior and catalepsy). Ricinine, an neutral alkaloid isolated from the extract possesses the memory-improving effect and the seizure-eliciting properties but not the neuroleptic-like properties.


Ricin poisoning

Ricin is a globular glycoprotein which is the toxic principle in R. communis. It forms up to 5% by weight of the beans but is also found throughout the plant. The active part of ricin is called Ricin Toxin A (RTA) and this RTA inactivates ribosomes by cleaving a single specific glycosidic bond within the large ribosomal RNA of th 60S subunit of the eukaryotic ribosomes. A single RTA chain molecule in the cytosol can depurinate ~ 1500 ribosome molecules per minute leading to a rapid inhibition of protein synthesis. The relatively large molecule of ricin renders it unlikely to be absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract; neither will it be absorbed through intact skin. [32][33]

Clinical response

Oral – the latent period for toxic effects in between 1 – 12 hours after ingestion depending on the absorbed dose of ricin. The most common initial symptoms results from a severe gastroenteritis including burning in the alimentary tract, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and colicky abdominal pain. This is usually followed by haemorrhagic gastritis, hypovolaemia and hypotension. The main target organs are kidneys, liver and spleen though other organs can also be affected. Death usually result from prolonged dehydration, hypotension and electrolyte imbalance. 

Parenteral – this route causes more serious toxicity as a result of clinical effects similar to septic shock (fever, multiple system failure and cardiovascular collapse). Fever, leucocytosis, tachycardia, and lymphadenopathy, followed by progressive hyptension and septic shock-like conditions were some of the features observed in the alleged ricin poisoning of a Bulgarian defector’s. The differential diagnosis of ricin poisoning includes biological toxins (Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella spp., Shigella spp., Norwalk virus, adenovirus influenza), heavy metal poisoning (arsenic, inorganic mercury, thallium, iron), acute radiation sickness, sepsis, capillary leak syndromes, overdose with chemotherapeutic agents, paraquat poisoning and phosgene intoxication. 

Management of Ricin poisoning

Oral – Gastric lavage or administration of activated charcoal should be considered should the patient be seen within the first hour of ingestion. Fluid replacement for gastrointestinal fluid loss. Monitoring of cardio-pulmonary, hepatic and renal function with management of organ dysfunction conventionally. 

Parenteral – Symtomatic and supportive measures are the mainstay of the management of ricin poisoning.


Clinical Data

Clinical Trials

A clinical trial carried out on 50 women volunteers showed that the administration of a single oral dose of 2.3 – 2.5 g once per 12 months protected against pregnancy for a period of 1 year. There was also minimal side effects which included headache, nausea, vomiting, weight gain, loss of appetite, raised blood pressure and dysmenorrhoea. There was also no adverse effects on liver and kidneys. It is believed that the antifertility and contraceptive activity was not solely due to hormonal mechanism since side effects attributable to oestrogen and/or progesterone were minimal. [26]

Adverse Effects in Human:

No documentation.

Used in Certain Conditions

Pregnancy / Breastfeeding

Contraindicated in pregnancy because of the abortifacient effects of the seeds/seed oil.

Age Limitations

Neonates / Adolescents

No documentation.


No documentation.

Chronic Disease Conditions

No documentation.


Interactions with drugs

No documentation.

Interactions with Other Herbs / Herbal Constituents

No documentation.



No documentation.

Case Reports

Two cases of multiple organ failure following injection of ricin were reported.

Case 1

A 28 year old transsexual received 500ml of castor oil in the hips and buttocks for cosmetic enhancement. She immediately developed local pain and erythema followed by abdominal and chest pain, vomiting, headache, haematuria, jaundice and tinnitus. Her condition deteriorated despite treatment and developed fever, tachycardia, haemolysis, thrombocytopenia, hepatitis, respiratory distress and anuric renal failure. She was on intensive supportive care which included mechanical ventilation and haemodialysis and finally recovered and discharged on the 11th day but required dialysis for another 1 ½ months. [30] 

Case 2

A 49-year old man committed suicide by administering extract of castor bean both subcutaneously and intravenously. He was admitted in a conscious state with a history of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dyspnoea, vertigo and muscular pain. He succumbed to the poison 9 hours after admission despite symptomatic and supportive intensive care. The death was attributed to multiple organ failure as a result of intoxication with plant toxin from R. communis. 

Two cases of multiple organ failure following injection of ricin were reported. [31] 

Read More

  1)  Poisonous


  1. Bhagwan Vaidya Dash, Vaidya Bhagwan Dash, Herbal Treatment Constipation, B. Jain Publishers (P) ltd., New Delhi, 2003. pg75.
  2. Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation, International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, Union internationale pour la conservation de la nature et de ses ressources, A guide to medicinal plants in North Africa, IUCN, Spain, 2005. pg199.
  3. D. M. Kaaiakamanu, J. K. Akina, Hawaiian Herbs of Medicinal Value, University Press of the Pacific, Hawai, 2003. pg55.
  4. Takeatsu Kimura, Unesco, Northeast Asia, Volume 2, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., Singapore, 1997. pg87-88.
  5. P. K. Warrier, V. P. K. Nambiar, C. Ramankutty, R. Vasudevan Nair, Indian medicinal plants: a compendium of 500 species, Volume 5, Orient Longman Privaate Limited, India, 2002. pg1-3.
  6. Kamarudin Mat-Salleh, A. Latiff, Tumbuhan Ubatan Malaysia, Pusat Pengurusan Penyelidikan Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Selangor, 2002. pg349.
  7. Bebas. [Accessed on 17/1/2011]
  8. Irène Jacob, Walter Jacob, The Healing past: pharmaceuticals in the biblical and rabbinic world, Brill, The Netherlands, 1993. pg87-88.
  9. I.H. Burkil A Dictionary of Economic Products of the Malay Peninsula Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives Malaysia Kuala Lumpur 1966 pg. 1940 – 1945.
  10. Dr. Duke’s Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases.[Accessed on 21st January 2011]
  11. Vieira C, Fetzer S, Sauer SK, Evangelista S, Averbeck B, Kress M, Reeh PW, Cirillo R, Lippi A, Maggi CA, Manzini S. Pro- and anti-inflammatory actions of ricinoleic acid: similarities and differences with capsaicin. Naunyn Schmiedebergs Arch Pharmacol. 2001 Aug;364(2):87-95.
  12. Ilavarasan R, Mallika M, Venkataraman S. Anti-inflammatory and free radical scavenging activity of Ricinus communis root extract. J Ethnopharmacol. 2006 Feb 20;103(3):478-80. Epub 2005 Nov 28.
  13. Lomash V, Parihar SK, Jain NK, Katiyar AK. Effect of Solanum nigrum and Ricinus communis extracts on histamine and carrageenan-induced inflammation in the chicken skin. Cell Mol Biol (Noisy-le-grand). 2010 Feb 9;56 Suppl:OL1239-51.
  14. Lord MJ, Jolliffe NA, Marsden CJ, Pateman CS, Smith DC, Spooner RA, Watson PD, Roberts LM. Ricin. Mechanisms of cytotoxicity. Toxicol Rev. 2003;22(1):53-64.
  15. Darmanin S, Wismayer PS, Camilleri Podesta MT, Micallef MJ, Buhagiar JA. An extract from Ricinus communis L. leaves possesses cytotoxic properties and induces apoptosis in SK-MEL-28 human melanoma cells. Nat Prod Res. 2009;23(6):561-71.
  16. You WK, Kasman I, Hu-Lowe DD, McDonald DM. Ricinus communis agglutinin I leads to rapid down-regulation of VEGFR-2 and endothelial cell apoptosis in tumor blood vessels. Am J Pathol. 2010 Apr;176(4):1927-40. Epub 2010 Feb 25.
  17. Beloti MM, Hiraki KR, Barros VM, Rosa AL. Effect of the chemical composition of Ricinus communis polyurethane on rat bone marrow cell attachment, proliferation, and differentiation. J Biomed Mater Res A. 2003 Jan 1;64(1):171-6.
  18. Beloti MM, de Oliveira PT, Tagliani MM, Rosa AL. Bone cell responses to the composite of Ricinus communis polyurethane and alkaline phosphatase. J Biomed Mater Res A. 2008 Feb;84(2):435-41.
  19. Leite FR, Ramalho LT. Bone regeneration after demineralized bone matrix and castor oil (Ricinus communis) polyurethane implantation. J Appl Oral Sci. 2008 Mar-Apr;16(2):122-6.
  20. Laureano Filho JR, Andrade ES, Albergaria-Barbosa JR, Camargo IB, Garcia RR. Effects of demineralized bone matrix and a 'Ricinus communis' polymer on bone regeneration: a histological study in rabbit calvaria. J Oral Sci. 2009 Sep;51(3):451-6.
  21. Jombo GT, Enenebeaku MN. Antibacterial profile of fermented seed extracts of Ricinus communis: findings from a preliminary analysis. Niger J Physiol Sci. 2008 Jun-Dec;23(1-2):55-9.
  22. Shokeen P, Anand P, Murali YK, Tandon V. Antidiabetic activity of 50% ethanolic extract of Ricinus communis and its purified fractions. Food Chem Toxicol. 2008 Nov;46(11):3458-66. Epub 2008 Aug 28.
  23. Okwuasaba FK, Osunkwo UA, Ekwenchi MM, Ekpenyong KI, Onwukeme KE, Olayinka AO, Uguru MO, Das SC. Anticonceptive and estrogenic effects of a seed extract of Ricinus communis var. minor. J Ethnopharmacol. 1991 Sep;34(2-3):141-5.
  24. Makonnen E, Zerihun L, Assefa G, Rostom AA. Antifertility activity of Ricinus communis seed in female guinea pigs. East Afr Med J. 1999 Jun;76(6):335-7.
  25. Zhang X, Han F, Gao P, Yu D, Liu S. Bioassay-guided fractionation of antifertility components of castor bean (Ricinus communis L.) seed extracts. Nat Prod Res. 2007 Sep;21(11):982-9.
  26. Isichei CO, Das SC, Ogunkeye OO, Okwuasaba FK, Uguru VE, Onoruvwe O, Olayinka AO, Dafur SJ, Ekwere EO, Parry O. Preliminary clinical investigation of the contraceptive efficacy and chemical pathological effects of RICOM-1013-J of Ricinus communis var minor on women volunteers. Phytother Res. 2000 Feb;14(1):40-2.
  27. Sandhyakumary K, Bobby RG, Indira M. Antifertility effects of Ricinus communis (Linn) on rats. Phytother Res. 2003 May;17(5):508-11.
  28. Raji Y, Oloyo AK, Morakinyo AO. Effect of methanol extract of Ricinus communis seed on reproduction of male rats. Asian J Androl. 2006 Jan;8(1):115-21.
  29. Ferraz AC, Angelucci ME, Da Costa ML, Batista IR, De Oliveira BH, Da Cunha C. Pharmacological evaluation of ricinine, a central nervous system stimulant isolated from Ricinus communis. Dep. Fisiologia e Dep. Farmacolgia, Univ. Fed. Paraná, Curitiba, PR, Brazil.
  30. Smith SW, Graber NM, Johnson RC, Barr JR, Hoffman RS, Nelson LS. Multisystem organ failure after large volume injection of castor oil. Ann Plast Surg. 2009 Jan;62(1):12-4.
  31. Coopman V, De Leeuw M, Cordonnier J, Jacobs W. Suicidal death after injection of a castor bean extract (Ricinus communis L.). Forensic Sci Int. 2009 Aug 10;189(1-3):e13-20. Epub 2009 May 23.
  32. Donald G. Barceloux Medical Toxicology of Natural Substances – Foods, Fungi, Medicinal Herbs, Plants and Venomous Animals John Wiley & Sons Inc., Hoboken 2008 pg. 718 – 726.
  33. Timothy C. Marrs, Robert L Maynard, Federick R. Sidell Chemical Warfare Agents John Wiley & Sons Inc. Chichester 2007 pg. 613 - 625.

Explore Further

Consumer Data

Consumer data including medicinal herbs, dietary supplement monographs, health condition monographs and interactions and depletions.                                    

Read More
Professional Data

Professional data organized into medicinal herbs, dietary supplement monographs, health condition monographs, T&CM herbs, formulas, health conditions, interactions and depletions.

Read More
International Data

We offer International linkages to provide extensive content pertaining to many facets of T&CM as well as Integrated Medicine. Please register for access.    

Read More