Ricinus communis L.

Nota de alcance

DIVERSIDAD GENÉTICA Y MEJORAMIENTO DE PLANTAS MEDICINALES= Medicinal plants and improvement of medicinal herbs:

The 2S albumin storage protein of Ricinus communis consists of the two heterodimeric proteins Ric c 1 and Ric c 3 each of which is composed of a small and a large subunit linked together by disulphide bridges. The complete primary structures of both heterodimeric proteins were determined by enzymatic degradation and automated Edman degradation. The sequences of all four chains correspond to the known cDNA sequence of the gene of a presumed precursor molecule and to the previously determined partial sequences for Ric c 1 and Ric c 3. In addition, few differences in amino acid positions were found which seem to be related to different varieties of R. communis. Sequence comparisons with 2S albumin from other plant genera revealed high degrees of homology and support the view of a common genetic origin of this protein family. Ric c 1 and Ric c 3 which have 11,212 and 12,032 daltons, respectively, share a similar molecular size, biological function and allergenicity with the 2S albumins from Brassica juncea (Bra j 1E) and Sinapis alba L (Sin a 1). Ric c 1 and Ric c 3 may be classified as isoallergens if, additionally, the high degree of similarity in the position of polar residues is taken into account.

Nota de alcance

PARTE UTILIZADA= Used part: Hojas y semillas.

ACCIÓN FARMACOLÓGICA= Pharmacological action: Galactagogo, purgante.

COMPOSICIÓN QUÍMICA= Chemical composition: El bagazo de la semilla de Ricinus contiene un alergeno y se cree que es una fracción de polisacárido proteico o glicoproteico de bajo peso molecular (Wallis, 1966). La fitotoxina ricina, en una dosis de hasta 7 mg puede ser fatal para un adulto. Contiene ácido p-cumárico, acetato de sapogenina tetrapenoide polifenoles, taninos, quercitrina e isoquercitrina y ácido ricinoleico (1,6-2%). Las hojas contienen rutina y los ácidos gálico, elágico, shiquímico y corilagínico. Los tallos y las hojas contienen un alto porcentaje de nitrato de potasio. Se ha comprobado la presencia de HCN. Las semillas poseen ácidos nicotínico, único y ricina. El género Ricinus contiene el alcaloide agmatina. El aceite de ricino es una mezcla de triglicéridos de los cuales de 75 a 90% es la triricinoleína. Esta se hidroliza en el intestino por las lipasas y se libera el ácido ricinoleico que ejerce efecto laxante. La ricina es una glicoproteina de un peso molecular de 65.000, que consiste en una cadena neutra A y una ácida B, unidas por enlaces disulfuros. La cadena A inhibe la sintesis de proteínas que causa la muerte de la célula y la cadena B sirve como un portador que une la proteína a la superficie de la célula. Las semillas contienen un alcaloide llamado ricinina. Además se han reportado los siguientes compuestos en diferentes partes de esta planta: beta-amirina, ácido aspártico, astragalina, 5-deshidroavenasterol, brassicasterol, campesterol, beta-caroteno, casbeno, 6,7 dihidroxi-8-metoxicumarina, hiperósido, hemaglutinina, kaempferol-3-0-beta-D-rutinósido, quercetina-3-0-beta-D-glucósidos, alfa-beta y gama-ricina, N-desmetil ricinina, Ricinus lectina, rutina, estigmasterol y las vitamina B1 y B6.



Introducida de África. Espontánea en Cuzco, Huánuco, Loreto.

Parasitosis intestinal: las semillas descascaradas, tostadas y trituradas se hierven; el líquido se deja enfriar; se decanta luego el aceite, del que se tomará una copita (20 ml) en ayunas.

Nota de alcance (en)

Tree 2.4 m, scrub vegetation, outskirts of San Andrés.

Uses: place leaves on forehead for fevers. Comerford 40, 8 Jul 1994.


Uses: wound healing, allergy, congestion.                                                 

Origin: Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Gabon, Guatemala, Honduras, Madagascar, Mexico, Panama,


Leaf: Decoction as an external wash to regain health after a high fever. In French Guiana, the bruised leaves are applied onto women's breasts in order to slow the secretion of milk. Leaves used in a unstroke remedy. In Surinam, leaves are smeared with oil and applied onto painful places on the arm and leg by sufferers of filariasis. Tied onto head to relieve headache, and tied ontp ulcers to relieve pain and swelling; infusion for fever. Leaves are boiled, and the water drunk as a treatment for reducing pain or fevers, by the Guyana Patamona.

Seed: Oil is a purgative, cathartic, and used to strengthen the hair; to facilitate expulsion of the placenta in childbirth; liniment for painful muscles and spots of filariasis. Cotton saturated with warm castor oil is effectively applied to the anus for piles. Oil is used for grippe, colic and "pictonuma" in Guyana. In French Guiana, the seed is eaten as a purgative, for which 2 or 3 seeds are sufficient. Oil mixed with egg yolks is used for abscesses; crushed and placed on the stomach of women in labor; laxative; oil used to relieve pain of constipation.


Origin: Native to Africa, naturalised throughout tropics and subtropics.

Pharmacological Activities: Antifertility, Antioxidant, Antipsychotic, Antiviral, Anti-inflammatory, Convulsant, Hepatoprotective, Filaricidal, Haemaglutination and Insecticidal.
Toxicity: Seeds are highly poisonous due to the toxic lectins, principally the albumin and ricin. The seeds are toxic to both animals and humans.

Good old castor oil is made from the pretty spotted beans of this large exotic-looking annual plant. The seeds’ oil is almost colorless and without a strong odor, but it has a highly nauseating disagreeable taste. Castor oil was widely used as a laxative in acute, temporary constipation, especially in children and the elderly. (Note: The children’s laxative called Fletcher’s Castoria is made from Senna, not castor oil.) A topical ointment of castor oil also was used for leprosy, ringworm, and itching skin lesions. The oil had many other uses, such as making soap, artificial rubber and leather, candles, furniture polish, and cleaning solution for oil paintings. In ancient Greece and Egypt the plant was valued for its oil for lamps and unguents.
The seeds contain a very powerful poison (ricin), but ricin is water soluble and is not present in processed castor bean oil. Ricin is a potent cytotoxin, and when ingested it quickly damages the cells lining the GI tract resulting in abdominal pain, vomiting, and often bloody diarrhea, followed by dehydration, loss of renal function, and hypotension. Death or recovery is expected in 3-5 days. Castor bean plants in the garden should not be allowed to flower or set seeds when children are present and likely to be attracted to the pretty beans, because a single chewed bean can be fatal. Also, children should not be allowed to play with necklaces or bracelets made from the spotted beans.

Part used::

Africa, India

Range. Tropical Africa. Although found wild in nature, now cultivated widely for the extraction of oil from the seeds. In Myanmar, does well in Sagaing, Mandalay, and Shan; prefers a warm temperate climate, but can also thrive in hot and dry areas. Found growing naturally on the banks of rivers, lakes and streams.

Uses. Sweet and rather bitter with heating properties, the plant is considered diffi­cult to digest but generally effective at increasing sperm, regulating bowel movements, and controlling flatulence and phlegm.

Leaf: Used in remedies for headaches and in poultices for sores and wounds. A decoction of leaves reduced to one-third the starting volume is ingested to alleviate strong gas and phlegm; also used for testes enlargement, bladder aches and pains, sore throat, and bile problems.

Seed: They and their oil (lethal in their natural form) are used in oral medications after detoxifying. The detoxified, ground seeds are applied as a paste to neutralize venom from scorpion stings. They are also employed in anthelmintic remedies; and in medicines for flatulence, fever, cough, stomach bloating, liver disease, shooting abdominal pains, dysentery, back and bladder conditions, head-aches, asthma, leprosy, edema, and a general weakening malaise in men. Detoxified seed oil is additionally used to make laxative preparations, as well as to facilitate childbirth, and to strengthen hair.

Nota bibliográfica

1) GONZALEZ, Matías ; LOMBARDO, Atilio ; VALLARINO, Aida. Plantas de la medicina vulgar del Uruguay.-- Montevideo : Talleres Gráficos, 1937, pp.117-118.

2) 270 (doscientos setenta) plantas medicinales iberoamericanas. Santiago de Bogotá : CYTED-SECAB, 1995, pp.301-303.

3) BASHIR, M.E.H., et al. Ric c 1 and Ric c 3, the allergenic 2S albumin storage proteins of Ricinus communis: Complete primary structures and phylogenetic relationships. International Archives of Allergy and Immunology. 1998, vol.115, nº1, p.73-82 .

4) COMERFORD, Simon C. Economic Botany. vol. 50 . -- p. 327 - 336 1996

5) Geraldini , Isanete, Journal of Ethnopharmacology v. 173, 2015 . -- p. 383-423

6) Robertt, A., et al.. Medicinal Plants of the Guianas (Guyana, Suriname, French Guyana)/Smithsonian NMNH. cited online: 17-08-2017

7) A guide to medicinal plants / Hwee Ling, Koh; Tung Kian, Chua; Chay Hoon, Tan. Singapore:  World vScientific Public Co. Pte. Ltd., 2009. p 289 p.

8) Mejía, Kember; Rengifo, Eisa /Plantas medicinales de uso popular en la Amazonía Peruana.-- Lima : Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional, 2000. -- p. 286

9) DeFilipps, Robert A.; Krupnick, Gary A. / PhytoKeys, v. 102. - - p. 1 - 314,  2018.

Ricinus communis L.
Término aceptado: 04-Oct-2007