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Plant Family: 



Habitat & Cultivation: 

Increases the prostaglandin receptors of the uterus to increase the binding of prostaglandins; PG3 receptors.


Parts Used/Collection: 

Seed oil, extract from castor bean


Herbal Actions: 

  • stimulant laxative

  • anti-inflammatory

  • cathartic

  • demulcent

  • analgesic

  • nervine

  • topical



Induction of labor, Stimulant laxative




  • avoid use if intestinal obstruction, abdominal pain of unknown origin, inflammatory conditions of the intestines (colitis, appendicitis, Crohn’s disease, IBS, melanosis co

  • Use may result in precipitous labor, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, intestinal colic, flatulence, disturbances of electrolyte balance, dehydration, hemorrhagic gastritis.

  • Long term use with antiarrhythmic drugs and botanicals containing cardiac glycosides can result in potassium loss and increased drug toxicity.

  • Increase in meconium stained fluids

Plant Constituents: 

ricinoleic acid, fixed oils


System Affinities:





pungent, sweet, heating. V-PK+, heavy subtle, oily


2b, 2d



  • Standard dose: 5-20ml, not to exceed 60ml per day

  • Labor Induction: 60ml dose

  • Repeated dose x 2, minimum 4 hrs apart

    • With protein (eggs, nut butter, etc)

    • With sugar (frozen juice concentrate, ice cream, etc)

  • Recipe

    • 2 TBS castor oil

    • 2 TBS almond butter

    • 6oz Mango or apricot nectar


Personal Experience:




Riccio, L. & Zollinger, R. (2018). Uterine stimulants. Week 3 PowerPoint. Botanical Medicine for Midwifery Care 4.



Castor (Ricinus communis)

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