Monday, April 22, 2024

HEALING HERBS: Castor oil plant works wonders


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Barbados and I have one exceptional thing in common which is very authentic and not a soul can take it away from us. We both celebrate a birthday in November.  

While the event planners were preparing for her big party on November 30, 1966, at the Garrison, I was at home in my cradle wearing the famous bird eye pampers with a strong Johnson baby powder scent engulfing the house. Ecstatically my parents were looking over the cradle saying: “What a beautiful, contented-looking baby girl. Let us call her Annette.” Days later they journeyed to the Garrison Savannah to celebrate with Barbados.   

Bonding is what Barbados and I have engaged in over the course of time. She (Barbados) reached another Independence birthday yesterday with a very deep financial crisis looming over her head. This crisis has led to unhappiness, fear and depression. To cheer Barbados up, I will take her back to happier times when silent doctor castor oil plant was one of her herbal heroes. I hope this article brings joy to her face.

Castor oil plant, also known as wonder tree, kaster boon, palma Christi or oil bean, was used as far back as 4000 BC. Generations before me still have conversations about the good old castor oil days. The leaves, roots, seeds and oil are used for healing. Research revealed that castor oil is used as follows:

Rhodesia – bark for dressing wounds and sores;

Zulus – paste of root for toothache;

French Guinea – fever;

Ayurveda – leaf, root and seed crushed and used externally for liver disorders;

China – crushed seeds paste for scrofulous sores;

Transvaal Sutos – roasted seeds used for sores and boils;

Central Nigeria – seed variety is a popular contraceptive agent among the Rukabe women.

Research also revealed that the roasted bark is used to heal burns. A poultice made from the leaves is used for skin ulcers. Pounded seeds are applied externally to treat lymph node TB, facial paralysis and haemorrhoids. The oil is applied to treat piles and anal fissures. The oil is also used as a mild purgative or for relief of obstinate constipation.  

I still tie the leaves from my garden on my forehead to relieve headaches. They are many more uses of the castor oil plant which readers should research.

Finally, the abundance of castor oil trees in Barbados should remind us of hope and prosperity. Perhaps we can create a mega-business using the castor oil plant to assist beautiful Barbados. Indeed, I secretly hope that we can devise a method of using silent doctor castor oil to gently purge  Barbados to heal her.

Annette Maynard-Watson is a teacher and herbal educator and may be contacted via

DISCLAIMER: It is not our intention to prescribe or make specific claims for any products. Any attempts to diagnose or treat real illness should come under the direccton of your health care provider.


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