Tañgan-tañgan is a coarse, erect, branched,
smooth, somewhat woody bush, 1 to 4 meters high. Younger parts are glaucous,
and the vegetative parts and inflorescence are green or purplish. Leaves are smooth, alternate, palmately-divided, and 20
to 60 centimeters in width, the lobes oblong and toothed. Racemes are stout and erect. Male
flowers about 1 centimeter in diameter. Calyx is thin, splitting into 3
to 5 segments. Stamens are very numerous, filaments variously connate
in branching clusters. Female flowers are calyx spathe-like, caducous.
Ovary is 3-celled. Fruits are capsules, ovoid, 1 to 1.5 centimeters long, green or
purplish and covered with soft spinelike processes.
- In open waste places near settled
areas throughout the Philippines.
- Prehistoric introduction; native of the Old World.
- Pantropic in distribution.
· Roots, leaves, seeds.
· The leaves and seeds, externally; the oil, both internal
· Collected year-round, but seeds are best collected from
May to August.
- Roots plain-tasting, neutral-natured;
leaves and stems sweet-pungent tasting, neutral natured, slightly
- Seeds are exceedingly pungent in taste, warming-natured, purgative, antirheumatic, soothes and regulates the gastrointestinal tract.
- Antidote, antiphlogistic, antirheumatic.
- Fixed oil, 49-85%;
ricin; ricinin; ricinus lipase.
- Castor seeds is the source of castor oil, with its variety of
-Seeds contain between 40% to 60% oil, rich in triglycerides, mainly
Seed coat contains ricin, a toxin, also found in lesser concentration
throughout the plant.
- Roots yield ricinolic acid.
· Entire fresh leaves are used externally for headache.
· Cooked with milk, leaves are used as poultices for certain kinds of ulcers.
· Seeds are purgative; also used as antirheumatic.
· Root-bark is purgative; also used for skin diseases and burns.
· Rheumatic arthritis, paralysis;
epilepsy; distention of the uterus, prolapsus ani: drink dried root
decoction or poultice Bai-hui pt (GV-20) with pounded seed or leaf material.
· Difficult partus, non-lowering of the fetus (during delivery):
poultice Yungchuan Pt (K-1 pt) with pounded fresh leaves.
· Lymph node TB; facial paralysis: poultice with pounded seeds
(seed coat removed). If the paralytic side is on the left side of the
face, apply poultice on the left.
· Wound caused by piercing with pointed objects (nails, bamboo
slats, bullet wound): use pounded fresh seed and apply as poultice.
· To increase the woman's secretion of milk, leaves are pounded and applied over the breast as poultice.
· Decoction of leaves reported to act as lactagogue and emmenagogue when administered internally.
· Skin ulcers: Boil
pounded leaves and use as wash.
· Bark of castor plant
also sued as dressing for ulcers and sores.
· Seed oil is laxative
and vermicide; also used as ear drops to hardened cerumen. Also used
· For hemorrhoids,
seeds are roasted, pounded, and applied to affected area. The oil is suitable for piles and anal fissures.
· Dosage: dried roots 15 to 30 gms in decoction.
· Seed paste applied to wounds and
itch for 4-5 days.
· In Rhodesia, natives use the bark for dressing wounds and sores.
· Zulus use a paste of the root for toothaches; also, an infusion of leaves, applied orally or as an enema, for stomachaches.
· Leaf poultice used for boils.
· In French Guinea leaves are boiled and used as febrifuge.
· In Ayurveda, the leaf, root and seed oil used for inflammation and liver disorders.
· In China, crushed seeds used more frequently than the oil; a paste is applied to relieve scrofulous sores.
· Transvaal Sutos known to apply the powdered, roasted seeds to sores and boils in children.
· In Makran, oil used as ointment for sores.
· In Central Nigeria, seed variety is a popular contraceptive agent among the Rukaba women.
· Pulp is rubbed into the temples in headaches, into the palms of hands in palsy, into the uretha in stricture, and rubbed to the soles of feet of parturient women to hasten the birth of the child or to facilitate the expulsion of the placenta.
· Seeds are chewed in scrofula.
· Pulp is used for a variety of skin affections, dog bites, or whenever a lubricant is needed.
· Castor oil used as a mild purgative, adaptable to infants and young children. It is considered one of the most reliable purgatives for relief of obstinate constipation.
• As far back as 4000 BC, its
slow burning seed oil was used to fuel lamps.
• Tañgan-tañgan is the source of the castor oil of commerce.
• Although best known for its medicinal properties for its use as a purgative, only a comparatively small amount of used for medicinal purposes. Its chief use is as lubricant for internal combustion engines, particularly aero-engines, for which it is suitable because of its high viscosity, retained at high temperatures, while non-solidifying at low temperatures.
• Castor oil is insoluble in light petroleum and other mineral oils. It can be used for making compound lubricating oil.
• Cosmetics: The seed oil of RC and its primary constituent, ricinoleic acid
are used in the manufacture of skin-conditioning agents, as emulsion
stabilizers and surfactants in cosmetics. In lipstick, castor oil is
used at 81% concentration.
• Castor oil is also used in making "cognac oil," in a dressing for leather, in "fat-liqouring" in the leather industry, in the manufacture of artificial leather, cutting oils, linoleum,
and as wool oil.
• Also used in retouching-varnishes and in the negative varnishes of photography.
• Castor oil is classified by the FDA as GRAS (generally recognized
as safe) and effective as a stimulant laxative.
• Cake left after the castor oil is extracted from the kernels of castor seeds is used as fertilizer. In addition to its use as manure, it is also employed as fuel, for caulking timber, destroying white ants (termites) and other pests.
Toxicity concerns !
- No part of the plant, except
for the oil, is for internal use. The seeds contain Ricinin (C8H8O2N2)
and Ricin which has blood coagulating property and may cause poisoning
if taken orally. Three seeds is enough to kill a child. Boiling the
seeds for 2 hours or more removes the toxic principle.
- The cake left after castor oil is extracted from the kernels of castor seeds contain the poisonous constituent of the castor seed, ricin.
- Pomace (castor bean dust), a product of castor oil factories, was reported to be a specific source of asthma among workers inhaling it, with the concern that exposures to pomace in large amounts may cause acute ricin poisoning.
- Castor bean dust has been considered a congestin, an anaphylactogenic.
/ Antiinflammatory: (1) Study of the methanolic extract
of RC in Wistar albino rats showed significant radical scavenging activity
and significant anti-inflammatory activity in carrageenan-induced hind
paw edema. The pharmacologic effects were attributed to the presence of phytochemicals
like flavonoids, alkaloids and tannins. (2) Study showed R communis inhibited both the primary and secondary phases of adjuvant arthritis, but less than betamethasone. (3) Methanol extract and total flavonoids fractions showed potent anti-inflammatory action in an acute model. The results of the ME at 500 mg/k and FF at 50 mg/k were at par with diclofenac sodium. Results showed RC leaves have anti-inflammatory potentials and flavonoids are dominant in the extract activity.
(1) Study of ethanol extracts of R communis in male rats showed a drastic
reduction in sperm counts, alteration in motility, movement and morphology.
These antifertility effect was reversible and without hepatotoxicity. (2) RCE showed a reversible negative impact on male reproductive functions, probably mediated via gonadal disruption in testosterone secretion. (3) Study in male Wistar rats showed marked suppression of testicular function in semen parameters with suppression of testicular histology and function and presents a potential as male contraceptive agent.
(1) Study of ethanolic extract of roots of RC showed significant antihyperglycenic
activity with a high margin of safety with not mortality. Results suggest
a promising potential for a potent phytomedicine for diabetes. (2) 50% ethanolic extract of root, stems and leaves showed hypoglycemic activity in normal animals and antihyperglycemic activity in diabetic animals.
Hepatoprotective: (1) Study
of the leaf extract of EC showed significant protection against galactosamine-induced
hepatic damage. It showed marked choleretic activity and an anticholestatic
effect against paracetamol-induced cholestasis. (2) Study of Ricinus communis leavers powder against hepatosuppression induced by carbon tetrachloride showed a high potential in healing liver parenchyma and regeneration of liver cells. Results suggest a potential liver tonic for humans due to presence of large number of antioxidants.
• Other studies on castor oil extract has shown tumor suppression
in rats. A methanol extract study showed anti-implantation, antinociceptive,
estrogenic activities in rats and mice.
• Immobilized Lectin: A glycoprotein lectin from R communis was immobilized using concanavalin A. The immobilzation technique could prove an important tool for the study of receptor hormone and antibody-antigen interactions.
• Biomaterial Source / Castor Bean Polymer Biocompatibility: The use castor bean-derived polyurethane tested for use in surgical reconstruction of bone tissue nasal deformities showed progressive bone formation and maturation, with no histological foreign body granuloma or phagocytic cell reaction. Macroscopic and microscopic results showed the castor oil polymer implant to be biocompatible with a favorable formulation with regards processing, flexibility, no emission of toxic vapors and low cost.
• Antibacterial: (1) The study on water and alcohol extract of dry seeds of R communis showed significant activity against K pneumonia, E coli, P vulgaris, S aureus. The active antimicrobial ingredients remained to be identified. (2) Study screened the antibacterial activity of various leaf extracts of R communis against dermatophytic and pathogenic bacteria such as E coli, S aureus, K pneumonia, Strep progens. All the extracts showed significant antibacterial properties with the acetone extract showing maximum inhibition. (3) Study of selected bacteria (K pneumonia, P vulgaris, and S aureus) showed high susceptibility to fermented seed extracts of R. communis.
• Cytotoxic / Apoptosis-Inducing: A study of the volatile extract from R communis leaves yielded three monoterpenoids: 1,8-cineole, camphor and alpha-pinene and a sesquiterpenoid, ß-caryophyllene. The leaf extract showed to be dose-dependently cytotoxic to several human tumor cell lines. Apoptosis was induced in SK-MEL-28 human melanoma cells. The results provide further insight into the potential use of naturally occuring terpenoids as inducers of apoptosis in cancer cells.
• Antiulcer: Study showed R communis-treated rats showed a tendency towards reduced acid secretion, lowering gastric acidity, and dose-dependent decrease in ulcer index.