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Castor seeds without the hull are used for birth control, constipation, leprosy, and syphilis.
Castor oil is used as a laxative for constipation, to start labor in pregnancy, and to start the flow of breast milk.
Some people apply castor seed paste to the skin as a poultice for inflammatory skin disorders, boils, carbuncles, pockets of infection (abscesses), inflammation of the middle ear, and migraine headaches.
Castor oil is used topically to soften skin, bunions and corns; and to dissolve cysts, growths, and warts. It is also applied to the skin for osteoarthritis. Some women put castor oil inside the vagina for birth control or to cause an abortion. Castor oil is used in the eyes to soothe membranes irritated by dust or other materials.
In manufacturing, castor seeds are used to make paints, varnishes, and lubricating oils.
Ricin from the hull of the castor seed has been tested as a chemical warfare agent. Weapons-grade ricin is purified and produced in particles that are so small they can be breathed in. The smaller the particle size, the more poisonous the ricin. You may remember that ricin was found in letters sent to some Congress members and the White House, and in the possession of people linked to terrorist and antigovernment groups.
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