This oil is obtained from the seeds of the Castor-oil plant. This plant is said to accelerate and increase the flow of milk- from the breasts of child-bearing women in cases where that secretion is tardy in appearing, or deficient in quantity when it does appear. It is used for such a purpose by the inhabitants of the Cape de Verd islands. Since then, experiments with the cultivated plant have shown that it is endowed with similar virtues. In some cases the appearance of the milk is superseded by a catamenial discharge.
Castor-oil excites purging by virtue of its specific action upon the bowels. Castor-oil seeds are very acrid. A single seed has caused violent vomiting and purging. Twenty seeds have caused death by exciting gastro-enteritis.
Castor-oil is sometimes resorted to as a palliative to move the bowels. Hahnemann himself if indulged in this practice occasionally. (See British Journal, Vol. XII., page 349,) where this fact may be found stated.