Castor Benefits, How To Use, Research, Side Effects


Castor root, seeds and leaves are extensively used in Ayurvedic treatments, both for externally and internally. Castor is aphrodisiac, relieves pain and useful in neurological disorders. 

Botanical Name- Ricinus Communis Linn.

Note: This article deals with castor seeds, root and leaves.
Read here about castor oil benefits

Names in different languages: 
Hindi Name- Erand, Redi, Andi, रेड़ी
English Name-Castor, African Coffee Tree, Arandi, Bi Ma Zi, Bofareira, Castorbean, Castor Bean, Castor Bean Plant,
Bengali Name-Rehri, Bhairenda
Telugu Name- Amudamu
Tamil Name- Amanakku, Kottai muthu
Bengali Name- Bherenda
Marathi Name- Erandi
Malayalam Name- Avanakku,
Gujarati Name- Diveligo
Kannada name – Haralu – ಹರಳು
Farsi name – Bed Anjeer
Arabian name – Khirva

Sanskrit Synonyms –
Gandharva Hasta, Yaksha Hasta, Panchangula – leaves having hand like projections
Deergha Danda – Long stalk
Eranda – आसमन्तात् ईरयति अंगानि – by balancing Vata dosha, castor relieves stiffness and promotes movement.
Vardhamana – Grows quickly
Vyaghrapuccha – inflorescence resembles lion’s tail.
Rubu, Rubaka, Urubaka – उरुं महान्तं वायुं वायति शोषयति  – Balances Vata Dosha
Vyadambaka – व्यडं मलमम्बयति स्रंसयति  – which helps in purgation
Hastikarni, Chitraka, Uttanpatraka, Urubuka, Aamanda, Uttana Patraka

castor leaf

Erand – Classical Categorization
Bhedaniya – group of herbs that cause purgation
Angamarda Prashamana – group of herbs that relieve pain
Svedopaga – Group of herbs useful in swedana – sweating treatment
Adhobhagahara – group of herbs useful in Virechana – elimination of morbid toxins from rectal route
Vata Samshamana – group of herbs that balances Vata
Vagbhata- Vidarigandhadi

Different varieties-
Dhanvantari Nighantu, Sodhala, nighantu, Kaiyadeva Nighantu, Bhava Prakasa Nighantu, and Raja Nighatu, described two varieties of Eranda viz Shveta Eranda  (white) and Rakta Eranda (red) varieties.
Raja Narahari mentioned another variety in the name of Sthula Eranda.
Both red and white varieties are identified as Ricinus communis.

castor seeds

Indigenous to the southeastern Mediterranean Basin, Eastern Africa, and India, found in tropical regions.

Ricinus communis Major chemical constituents
Castor Seeds & Leaves- Ricinine(toxic alkaloid), 1-methy-3cyano-4methoxy-2-pyridone
Castor Seed coat – Lupeol, Lipida,Phosphatids etc.
Castor Seed oil – arachidic, ricinoluc, Palmitic, Strearicetc. Acids; hexa decanoic, Hydrocyanic& uric acids; squalene and tocopherols etc. (Reference: Illustrated Dravyaguna Vijnana, Vol. II, by Dr JLN Shastry) Aff –

Castor medicinal Properties
Rasa (taste) – Madhura (sweet), Katu (pungent), Kashaya (Astringent)
Guna (qualities) – Snigdha (oily, unctuous), Teekshna (strong, piercing), Sookshma (minute, enters minute body channels)
Vipaka- Madhura – Undergoes sweet taste conversion after digestion
Veerya – Ushna – Hot potency
Effect on Tridosha – Balances Kapha and Vata Dosha.
Part Used- Root, leaf, Seed, Oil

Root power 3-5 g, decoction 50-100 ml; seed 1-5 gram, Castor oil 5-10 ml
Castor benefits Castor uses

Castor root benefits
एरण्डमूलं वृष्यवातहराणाम्॥(च.सू २५)
Of all the substances capable of aphrodisiac and Vata balancing effects, castor root is the best.
Udavartahara – relieves bloating, gas distension in abdomen
Pleehaghna – useful in spleen disorders, splenomegaly
Gulmahara – useful in abdominal tumors
Bastishoolahara – relieves bladder pain
Antravruddhinut – useful in hernia
Shonita Vikara – relieves blood imbalance disorders
Shoshahara – relieves emaciation, dehydration
Shoolaghna – relieves abdominal colic pain
Margashodhana – cleanses gut
Shwasahara – useful in treatment of asthma and chronic respiratory disorders.
Kasahara – useful in cough and cold
Anahahara – relieves gas, fullness of abdomen, bloating
Kati Basti Rujahara – relieves pain in lower back and bladder region.
Shiroruji – relieves headache
Mehahara – useful in urinary tract disorders and diabetes
Amavatahara – useful in rheumatoid arthritis
Shothahara – relieves swelling, edema, anti inflammatory

Eranda Phala – Castor fruit uses:
Svaadu – sweet in taste
Sakshara – slightly alkaline, strong in nature
Laghu – light to digest
Ushna – hot
Bhedi – purgative
Vatajit – Balances Vata Dosha 

Castor leaf benefits:
Vataghna – Balances Vata Dosha
Kaphahara – Balances Kapha Dosha,
Krimihara – antimicrobial, useful in worm infestation
Mutradoshahara – useful in urinary tract infection
Pitta Prakopi – increases Pitta
Gulmahara – useful in abdominal tumors
Bastishoolahara – relieves bladder pain
Vruddhi – useful in hernia
Mutrakrichrahara – Relieves dysuria, urinary retention, acts as diuretic
In case of snake bite, once after the treatment is properly done, to remove remnant poison from the body,  young castor leaf shoot is made paste with water, filtered. That water is given for drinking. It is also used in treating Aconitum and opium toxicity.

Castor fruit uses:
Atyushna – It is very hot
Katu – pungent taste
Gulmahara – useful in abdominal tumors
Shoolahara – relieves abdominal colic pain
Anilapaha – Balances Vata Dosha
Yakrut hara – useful in liver disorders
Pleehahara – useful in spleen disorders, splenomegaly
Udarahara – useful in ascites, enlargement of abdomen
Arshanut – useful in piles, haemorrhoids
Deepana – improves digestion strength
Kaphavatahara – Balances Kapha and Vata Dosha
Castor seeds without the hull are used for birth control, leprosy, and syphilis. The hull (the seed cover) is poisonous and not used orally.
Castor flower uses: It balances Vata Dosha but may worsen bleeding disorders.

Ricinus communis

Since all parts of castor useful to balance Vata dosha, they are used in treating paralysis, sciatica, neuropathies, neurological pains etc.

External application of castor leaf and root –
Castor leaf is dipped sesame oil and heated till it becomes hot. This is applied over blunt injuries, arthritis, painful joints to relieve pain.
Castor oil leaf and root is made paste with sesame oil or castor oil, slightly heated and applied externally to relieve migraine, low back ache, sciatica pain, arthritis pain, mastitis and skin disorders associated with pain.

Research on Ricinus communis:
Anti-microbial property
Anti inflammatory potential
Anti bacterial property

Castor side effects:
Its seed skin is poisonous hence, should be avoided
It is best to avoid castor during pregnancy. It can be used during lactation and in children, under medical supervision.
Since it can induce purgation, it is best avoided in people with diarrhea and dysentery.

Ayurvedic medicines with castor as ingredient:
Maharasnadi Kashayam – 
used in Vata disorders like Kampavata (Parkinson’s disease), hemiplegia, paraplegia, Neck pain, etc
Chaturmukha ras –
castor leaves are used.  It is used in the treatment of asthma, anemia, diabetes etc.
Eranda Pak used in the treatment of Vata diseases, abdominal colic pain, bloating, etc
Gandharvahastadi kashayam – used in the Ayurvedic treatment of Vata imbalance, bloating, constipation, lack of taste in food.

How to take?
Castor root or seeds are better taken only as per professional advice. It is best to avoid self medication with this. However, external application of leaf or root paste can be done as per the above guidelines.



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