Source, production, chemical constituents, tests, uses and adulterants of Castor oil & Chaulmoogra oil

Source, method of production, chemical constituents, chemical tests, uses and adulterants of Castor oil & Chaulmoogra oil


• Source, method of production, chemical constituents, chemical tests, uses and adulterants of Castor oil & Chaulmoogra oil


At the end of this lecture, student will be able to

Discuss the source, method of production, chemical constituents, chemical tests, uses and adulterants of

• Castor oil

• Chaulmoogra oil

Castor Oil


• Oleum ricini


• Fixed oil obtained by cold expression of the seeds of Ricinus communis


• Euphorbiaceae

Geographical source:

• Native to India

• Brazil, China, the former Soviet Union

Seeds - sorted according to size, cracked

Kernels - fed into the oil press, at ordinary temperature to a pressure of 1 to 2 tonnes per square inch

• Oil is filtered, steamed at 800C to 100oC - to remove RICIN and LIPASE

• Oil is filtered - Cold drawn medicinal oil - acidity 1

• Still cake contains 20% of oil

• Heated by steam to about 40-80oC and are pressed - Second quality oil

• Still contains 8-10% of oil - extracted by benzene or carbon di sulphide

• Cold drawn oil - bleached, deacidified, washed with hot water before steaming to remove mucilaginous matter

• Treated with activated or animal charcoal to remove impurities


• Pale yellow or almost colourless liquid

• Slight and characteristic odour

• First bland, later acrid and usually nauseating

• Viscous and transparent liquid

• Soluble in alcohol, miscible in chloroform, solvent ether, glacial acetic acid and petroleum ether

Chemical constituents

• Ricinoleic acid, isoricinoleic, linoleic, stearic and isostearic acids

• Purgative action - free ricinoleic acid and its stereoisomer - hydrolysis in the duodenum

• Viscosity - due to ricinoleic acid

• Vitamin F - hair growth

Chemical test

• With equal volume of dehydrated alcohol the solution remains clear. On cooling at 0oC and on storage for 3 hours, the liquid remains clear

• With half of its volume of petroleum ether - clear solution

• With twice its volume - turbid and partially soluble


• Cathartic

• Lubricating agent

• Turkish red oil, paints, varnish, enamel, grease, polishes etc

• Atropine and cocaine for ophthalmic purpose - suspended in castor oil

• Emollient for cosmetics, hair fixers, plasticiser

• Hydrogenated and dehydrogenated castor oil - industrial purpose

Allied drugs

Croton seeds:

• Croton tiglium (Euphorbiaceae) - 50% of fixed oil, resin and crotin

Physic nuts or purging nuts:

• Jatropha curcas (Euphorbiaceae)- 40% of fixed oil, curcin

Abrus seeds:

• Abrus precatorius (Leguminosae) – glycoprotein, abrin

Chaulmoogra oil


• Gynocardia oil, Hydnocarpus oil


• Fixed oil obtained by cold expression from the ripe seeds of Taraktogenous kurzii (Bixaceae), Hydnocarpus heterophylla, H. anthelmintica, and other species of Hydnocarpus (Flacourtiaceae)

Method of preparation

• Seeds - 40-45% of fixed oil

• Cleaned, washed and dried

• Testa is cracked and removed

• Kernel – paste, kept in jute bags

• Piled up and the oil is expressed by hydraulic press


• Yellow to brownish yellow colour

• Characteristic odour, Acrid taste

• Slightly soluble in alcohol, soluble in chloroform, ether, benzene and CS2


• SG: 0.935-0.960

• AV: not more than 10

• SV: 195-213

• IV: 93-104

• Specific rotation: not less than +48 and not more than +60

• Unsaturated fatty acids of chaulmoogric acid and hydnocarpic acid

• Glycerides of palmitic acid


• Strong antibacterial activity against Mycobacterium leprae and M. tuberculae

• Treatment of leprosy and tuberculosis

• Treatment of psoriasis and rheumatism


• H. wightiana, H.alpine


• Castor oil is the fixed oil from Ricinus communis by cold expression method

• Impurities like ricin and lipase should be removed

• It contains ricinoleic acid which has cathartic action

• Hydnocarpus oil is also called as gynocardia oil and chaulmoogra oil

• It contains chaulmoogric acid and hydnocarpic acid

• Hydnocarpus oil used against Mycobacterium leprae and Mycobacterium tuberculae

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