Simple home method to make castor oil from castor plant

scarletdaisies(6)July 6, 2010

I've read how poisonous the castor beans are, but I grew them to make homemade soap. It's great for ciculation and comes as one of the main ingredients in a 63 dollar cream. I thought incorporating it in goat milk soaps would be an exra bonus. Goat milk is good to protect aging skin, plus with castor oil, it will improve circulation all over.

My question is this, I found this nice website:

It says to boil them first, but how long? They are poisonous until they are cooked, that is when the oil is removed. Any ideas on how to prepare them?

My small castor plants are just now developing buds, so I want to collect them as soon as I need to.


Here is a link that might be useful: Castor Bean

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Unless you have a degree in Chemistry, I don't think you want to attempt this in a home shop. The link has the general idea, but the specifics can get sticky

Here is a link that might be useful: Castor Oil extraction

    Bookmark   July 6, 2010 at 8:36PM
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heather38(6a E,Coast)

I would not try it, isn't it Castor oil that produces Ricin? I am old enough to remember the Russian defector in London who stabbed in leg with an umbrella in the 1980 and a minute amount of ricin was injected and he died, it sound very James Bond, but it happened as did the Russian dissident in the UK a few years ago with polonium 210.
so anyway, don't go there. not safe.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2010 at 9:35PM
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heather38(6a E,Coast)

just found this link. and I was wrong it was 1978, the dissident in London, amazing I remember as I was 8!

Here is a link that might be useful: caster bean

    Bookmark   July 6, 2010 at 9:41PM
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They had a case a while back where a wife tried to kill her husband with Ricin and all she was able to do was make his sick. It takes a chemist to know how to extract enough to kill. She ended up in prison and her husband in the hospital.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2010 at 9:55PM
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heather38(6a E,Coast)

Wally is the best, as in maybe not dead but ill.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2010 at 11:24PM
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Once the bean is cooked, the ricin is no longer in the bean. That is why they don't recommend touching the bean until it's been prepared, can't touch the seed even.

As far as poisons go, I've heard of people tracing poisons with activated charcoal or just charcoal to absorb the poisons. Someone did that on tv to show the poisons don't absorb if you take the charcoal with it. I don't recommend trying that at home, but don't forget you can still buy rat poison in the grocery stores or hardware. I'm not panicking anyone, but if I were trying to kill a person, I would not do this with my castor plants.

Cooking the bean first kills all poisons, I just thought someone here would know the proper process, not the cold processing methods. The cold processed method requires just pressing the oil out in an expensive machine I don't intend to ever own.

Anyone hear of an old fashioned way to cook the seed and extract it?

    Bookmark   July 7, 2010 at 7:33PM
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Presses are old fashioned. The chemical means are the "newer" way to things. A lot of people wouldn't want to use a chemical seed extraction because of the use of caustic chemicals, but you're not going to eat it anyway. I don't know of any chemical methods for castor, though.

I don't know how much oil you need, but you can buy it in 16-32-64oz bottles online.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2010 at 7:41PM
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I found an old style manual small oil press for linseed oil and similar types of oil beans or seeds, so cold pressing would be the only option and it is supposed to be better quality. I don't think I want to spend the 160 or more dollars to get it, but in any case of growing castor beans for more production than a cup of oil for the whole season, I know where to find the machine now.

Castor oil can be used as lamp oil, so if anyone is doing survival stuff, so also can linseed oil be used. Don't know which produces more, but you will definitely have the poison issue to deal with for growing castor beans for oil.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2010 at 12:12PM
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anney(Georgia 8) will definitely have the poison issue to deal with for growing castor beans for oil.

Then why do you think it's a good idea to mess with it? If you need it, just buy some -- it's cheap.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2010 at 12:15PM
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Because it's gardening, it's fun, and I might learn something I can use later. I found out through my research it can be used as lantern oil, why wouldn't anyone try?

It's not that cheap and since I have it growing I do want to know how to process it. The poison is water soluble, so if I don't add water, it won't come out. It's not oil soluble. That's interesting, not sure I want to take the chance, but since it's going to be used for soap, not food, and it's going to be mixed with lye soap agents, I wonder if it will matter about the ricin. It might, but either way it has to be heat treated, and ricin doesn't exist after heat treating it.

I figure I will dry and then boil the heck out of them like a pinto bean outside in an old pot. The oil will come to the top and I can dip it out. I'll boil it for an hour to be sure. I can press out any access oil from the beans. That doesn't make high quality oil, but it will do fine for a beginner. I might find more trustworthy ways later on.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2010 at 3:31PM
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susan2010(6 Massachusetts)

"Touching the plant with your bare unprotected skin can be dangerous. Getting the bitter-tasting sap into your eyes or mouth from secondary contact can be downright deadly. Even mowed-down and desiccated castor plants are toxic and should not be handled without gloves. Some cities and states are trying to ban the ornamental use of castor bean plants in their regions. If the plant oils and resins are this toxic, even the slash & burning of the plants would make the smoke from their incineration a toxic irritant if you should happen to get it onto yourself. Accidentally walking through the smoke would cause the smoky resins and toxic oils to get into your eyes, mouth and lungs with unfortunate and painful results."

Honestly, I wouldn't have one growing in my yard. Consider the liability. What if a child got into it?

Here is a link that might be useful: Toxic to the Touch Castor Bean Plant

    Bookmark   July 8, 2010 at 4:02PM
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A child can buy rat poison in the grocery store, I don't have any small children or even big ones, so I admit that would be a factor. It's a small yard no one comes into, so I'm not afraid and don't have neighbors with children, an old house about to be torn down. I have it easier than some, so this plant is not bothering anyone.

We can't live in a plastic bubble. I live in a state where it's common to see poisonous spiders, which may or may not be as dangerous, the poisonous snakes are a regular at most swimming holes, and a tick can kill you with lime disease or yellow mountain tick fever. All of which would be probably run off by that type of plant, but maybe not.

I can put hazardous signs up, but there should be no reason to worry. I know not to touch them with bare hands, this is stuff you buy in stores openly, so I'm not making a meth lab, if you know what I mean. I don't have any specific purpose for the plant other than I wanted to save me from buying 63 dollar creams to improve circulation.

My mother has just had operations on her feet putting in a stint in one leg and a balloon in another, she's diabetic, so I thought the oil would be beneficial to her and for myself who suffers on and off with fallen arches or something, plus varicose veins. Anything improving circulation is welcome, but I can buy it, don't want to and thought it was a bit pricey. I will try to make it wearing leather gloves and plastic waterproof gloves to pick and prepare these dried seeds. They have to be dried first.

I wouldn't worry. I know the dangers and there are no small children any where near the garden and they would be run off if they were.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2010 at 12:14AM
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heather38(6a E,Coast)

Why castor oil? peanut, even plain old veg oil is beneficial to the skin, the benefit of oils to circulation, is the massage, it stimulates the lymphatic system, lots of nurses in the UK train as Masseurs, to aid this process.
basically in the lower limbs fluid transfer is done buy muscles pressing on the veins and lymphatic symptom, the fluid is forced up and when the muscle releases, there are these one way gates which stop the fluid going back down, and varicose veins are those gates failing, so massage, surgical stockings and surgery are the only answers.

Here is a link that might be useful: I thought I was simplistic!

    Bookmark   July 9, 2010 at 1:14AM
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susan2010(6 Massachusetts)

Heather38, you're exactly right. I broke my ankle a few years ago and one physical therapist at the facility I went to was an expert on the lymph system. She was the only one who could get the swelling down in that ankle. I don't think she used anything other than ordinary body lotion/cream - just something to ease the friction during the massage. (And, contrary to a body massage, that massage was fairly painful, but the results were great.)

Scarletdaisies, good luck with your project. I very sincerely hope you never have a reason to regret your position on growing this plant.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2010 at 9:28AM
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albert_135(Sunset 2 or 3)

Every time someone posts anything with the word "castor" persons jump on warning of great hazards and I am reminded of a time back about 1966 when I took the train to Mazatlán to go fishing. Near the railroad station was a vast jungle of wild castor beans and children were having great fun among the castor bean plants.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2010 at 2:55PM
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I talked to a local today, he and his mother grow them, have been dealing with the plants and seeds for years, and they have never had a problem. They did not process the seeds like I mentioned, but they have never had a problem.

They collect the pods, put them in the freezer until early spring, and the pods open with seeds coming out. They are planted with no special care or covering of the hands. They say they think the poison is exaggerated. There are common houseplants that are poisonous, so I'm going to take my chance and even though you are nurse, it is true these plants have medicinal value alone without massages to improve circulation.

It's good to be safe and I have that information, but I am determined to make my own oil from them. I only have 2 plants and if I'm lucky will produce maybe 1 quart of seeds, meaning about 1/2 cup of oil, and maybe not that much.

As gardeners, we are here to learn to do things for ourselves, that is beauty of gardening. That also includes herbs and their uses, which I did try to do this year planting herbal tea flowers with not much luck. They were types of flowers that had natural insecticides, but not many made it or not enough to do what I wanted. Castor beans is a plant that grew easily, unlike the rest that didn't.

I do appreciate the warning, but I am in no way of affecting anyone with my plants, and it would be a great learning experience to try to make this.

Here is a link that might be useful: medicinal uses of castor oil

    Bookmark   July 9, 2010 at 4:01PM
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Toxicity aside, you're going to spend a lot of money (unless you make your own press from found parts) to process 4oz of oil.

You can buy a gallon for $20-$25...32oz. for less than $10.

It's not like corn where getting something fresh off the stalk vs. the market is a world of difference.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2010 at 4:29PM
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This year it's 4 ounces, if I like it next year it's a gallon because I can plant more. Although I don't have the capability to grow 100 lbs of seed. I might get a full cup out of it for growing them as fences around the perimeter, 2 plants only this year, 80 plants next year. Big difference, so I can experiment and see if I like it first.

It's something to think about and what's better to think about is this, why do everything everyone else does? If people can't handle something different, new, not local, or just something odd in a garden, imagine how they are about politics. That is scary that someone would stick to the norm so much on something so simple as a garden that they would only plant normal vegetables, never thinking for themselves enough to try something new. It's scary and not normal. Like the purple carrot, red lettuce,etc., It's scary someone would oppose choices in even a vegetable herbal/garden.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2010 at 5:05PM
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Well, I'm just raising a cost vs. return on investment point, personally.

BTW, the purple carrot was closer to the original carrot. We selected orange out over many human generations according to our taste. It was a preferred mutation based on local preference.

I grow some peppers that I dry which comes out maybe $5 worth of peppers vs. 3 plants and the amount of work drying them in the oven. It's not very cost effective vs. time, but saving $1-$2 is worth it to me to get them pre-cut and dried in a manner I have quality control over.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2010 at 5:59PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

I grow nicotinia all over my flower bed. Nicotine is very very toxic. They tried killing Castro with it.

In China they treat stomach CANCER with ARSENIC...

    Bookmark   July 9, 2010 at 10:12PM
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That's cool, and a member wrote about her death garden on here, she could have added nicotinia to hers. I bought a black flower garden seed mix, some black carnations, and a black carnation poppy, so maybe I can build a giant circle garden with the castor plant in the middle.

Nicotinia would have to be replaced with something I can use like Burley Tobacco, not sure if that is what they used or not to kill with. If I get mad at bunny, I'll lace a carrot with the castor oil.

Arsenic somes from apple seeds and almonds as well. The bitter cassava plant from South America has cyanide in it. There is a sweeter variety, but it's not resistant and thieves snatch them up. It's a major world wide crop outside of the US.

The cost is not cost efficient even for your backyard garden, availability is what is important and knowing how to garden is useful. Not sure how useful other than lamp oil and for mojo bag medical uses not associated with lab created medicines. It's something new to me and it's got me thinking to grow lamp oil now from flax plants that I want fiber from anyways. The thing with flax is one plant is good for oil the other for fiber, so who knows which is best.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 8:20PM
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daryljurassic(OHIO 6a)

I don't know anything about making castor oil but I know a whole bunch about growing castor bean plants. I have to laugh out loud at all the folks who freak out about this plant. I have been growing them for years and let me tell you, quit worrying about this plant. Unless for some reason you decide to serve up a bowl of castor beans seeds, CASTOR BEAN PLANTS WILL NOT HARM YOU. The leaves won't hurt you. Mine get up to 22' in heighth. In the fall we cut them down and do the unspeakable (we burn them...).It always amazes me when I hear people that don't have a clue, feel compelled to voice their "opinions" when ever the dreaded castor bean plant is mentioned. Do yourself a favor - take a chill pill, put your helmet and pocket protector back on and quit worrying...And to those who think that this plant should be banned..., stop. Its an ever growing trend these days with helicopter parents and nanny government(s) constantly creating more and more unnecessary laws(and more criminals in the process).

    Bookmark   July 12, 2010 at 11:37AM
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This sounds like quite the adventure!

This is from the link below (the caps are mine):
'Fortunately, extracting the oil without the ricin is a fairly simple process.
'The key is temperature.

'Heat is used to extract oil from most seeds, BUT WHEN CASTOR BEANS ARE HEATED,

'When the beans are hulled and crushed at temperatures below 100°F, however,
'they yield a clear or yellowish poison-free oil

it sounds like boiling the beans to get the oil out is a REALLY bad idea

And personally, I would also be careful to use only dedicated (throw-away) equipment for processing the beans

Here is a link that might be useful: About extracting oil

    Bookmark   July 12, 2010 at 12:52PM
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Out of 2 plants that did not grow so high, I expect about 2 cups of seeds, so pestle and mortar came to mind. I know to do that in the fall when temps are in the 60s, but again the friction will cause heat, sooo...

I'll just have to squash them under something heavy, let the oil drain, maybe a large wide brick on top and bottom, with a few more cinder blocks on top. Let them drain over night? I think that is the best bet. I'm not going to eat it, but I do want the oil just for the sake of saying "one year, I made my own castor oil". Just like a knitter saying he/she knitted his/her own sweater in an era where knitting machines are ever popular.

I agree people need to quit outlawing everything, although I know people mean well, we seem to be in a suffocating era, so the topics of outlawing everything make me a little defensive.

When they outlaw something, it takes lots of money to continually correct the imbalance. Why put that on a tax payer to uphold a mandated law. Time, money, pressure, over something that was less of a threat.

Like people crying for saving the animals, but they harass each other into suicide. Society is a little sick and do-gooders are not what they used to be if you can defend one and not inflict emotional stress for the other.

I'm proud of something doing well in the garden, today I had a great day, so next year should be even better. I see so many improvements.

Poisonous things, or allelopathic, do better in this soil. The virginia creeper loves it unfortunately, I've had it 3 times this year already, sorghum is doing great and it's supposedly allelopathic. A castor plant fits right in, maybe I'll grow it next to the lovely juglone crop, my black walnut tree. Gardening is funny!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2010 at 8:00PM
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"And to those who think that this plant should be banned..., stop. Its an ever growing trend these days with helicopter parents and nanny government(s) constantly creating more and more unnecessary laws(and more criminals in the process)."

Over-react much?

The world isn't a scary place. Don't be afraid to join us. There's not laws preventing that.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2010 at 8:56PM
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It would be the only law not made so far. The books are a little too full already and expensive to upkeep. Next they will outlaw composting because it attracts bugs, outlaw walking in weather hotter than 90 degrees, wearing open toed shoes.

The list can grow of do-gooders that do bad. Gardening alone if you collect the additives of fertilizers, they are dangerous. Some are used in explosives.

Gardening is a raw hobby, like woodworking. You can't outlaw carving tools either. It's something you have to learn and so then keeping your tools sharp as a razor, but safely out of reach of children. I guess you can try to out law whittling, outlawing pocket knives, but I don't think that's going to happen. People have tried.

I wonder if they outlawed vain make ups and under arm antiperspirants and deodorants because of causing cancers, outlaw toothpaste because of flouride, outlaw bottled water because the chemicals in plastic make men more feminine,etc, etc...

The vanities will never be outlawed, but the basics in survival, necessities like medicinal castor oil home production are considered a threat.

I don't think that is fair thinking.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2010 at 9:38PM
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Well, no one brought up any outlawing that I saw. It just came out of left-field along with a bunch of other stuff attached to the rant.

I never have a problem with helicopter parents in my garden, personally.

We're all of a sudden looking out for black helicopters in the tread.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2010 at 9:43PM
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It's not a rant, it's an example of unrealistic requests from scared people panicking everyone and henpecking them into outlawing everything. Get's expensive is the point. Lighten up, or make your country go broke chasing silly ordinances like outlawing a plant you don't wish to grow anyways.

There's nothing wrong with growing a castor plant. Do you want to outlaw the tomato plant too? It's poisonous to children. Your car is more dangerous than castor plant.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2010 at 2:50PM
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"Lighten up, or make your country go broke chasing silly ordinances like outlawing a plant you don't wish to grow anyways."

Plants are outlawed for agriculture and livestock reasons. I can't think of a single one outlawed because of humans...well, except marijuana and things humans use to get high.

Some people think it's their right to plant a "banned/restricted" plant when it's against the law in order to protect the agriculture system too many people don't have any respect for.

There's nothing wrong with knowing how all of this works.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2010 at 6:28PM
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daryljurassic(OHIO 6a)

I have to stand by my comment about the excessive helicopter parenting and nanny governments these days. Let me add litigious society to that. So how about warning labels on certain plants like the dreaded castor bean? I mean that works on cigarettes doesn't it...?(not really) We're at the point nowadays when its not so far fetched that smokers will someday be required to errect a sign - "Beware, Smokers On Premises". Same could go with gardeners with castor bean plants...Not sure whose dying from castor bean plants but...
Next time you're in Home Depot, take a close look at the side of an extension ladder or even just a step ladder. It has a bazillion warning labels on it - apparently you can get hurt if you fall off a ladder...IMO, knowledge is king or should be anyway... and an informed decision should be suffice (a.k.a. taking responsibilty). No need to create more laws (and lawyers) especially when a problem doesn't even exist. Should I be required to post an 'enter at your own risk' sign because I have poison ivy in my yard - and have a stack of liabilty waiver forms at the ready lol? All things I don't really don't worry about in the least. Despite the fact that the wife and are not allerigic to poison ivy we always give others a heads up though...Now I wouldn't have minded a warning label on the dozen hybrid poplars I planted 6 years ago. Those "suckers"...are crazy. My fault though, I should have done some research.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2010 at 9:44AM
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Depends on how henpecked the judge is. Woman have had their fun with government with nagging. I wonder when we will lose the right to vote because all of our nagging was too expensive to upkeep.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2010 at 11:20AM
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Did you ever find a method for this? I could use one too!

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 9:39AM
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Wow. I always suspected there was a connection between conspiracy theory and misogyny, just based on the same guys tending to be into both. But I've never seen it articulated before.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 1:12PM
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Have you looked into how many beans you will need? They are not little grease balls :). I wonder if you need an acre or so to make your 4 ounces?

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 11:29PM
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I pretty much have an unending supply of these bean. Has anyone had success extracting oil without solvents?

    Bookmark   April 17, 2013 at 12:26PM
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Raw_Nature(5 OH)

I bought a huge bottle of "cold pressed" castor oil a while back. As mentioned your going to need some land to expel enough oil.. Man, caught me by surprise how poisonous it could be!! I used it as a shave lotion and I would occasionally swallow a little, tasted like vegetable oil, Im still here today! Didn't even feel sick or anything, and this was cold pressed not boiled or heated... Interesting... Thanks for the word of caution. They are beautiful plants though, huh? Almost tropical!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2013 at 12:43PM
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albert_135(Sunset 2 or 3)

CDC : Facts About Ricin

"It would take a deliberate act to make ricin and use it to poison people. Unintentional exposure to ricin is highly unlikely, except through the ingestion of castor beans."

    Bookmark   April 17, 2013 at 1:56PM
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Thank you Scarletdaisies for bringing this up.

You DON'T need an oil press!

And you DON't need a solvent!

I have made my own oil from walnuts. The same goes for castor beans (after the poison and the allergen are neutralized).

The castor bean seeds contain about 50% oil. You will get, however, about 20%-25% only.

Here's what you need to do.

1) Put the castor seeds into a presure pot and add some water. Bring it to a boil and let it stay that way for one hour and a half (with the lid on, of course).

By now, most of the poison should be away.

2) Most of the water should also be evaporated. Put a stick blender in it and pulverize the whole thing.

3) The third step is optional, but for safety reasons, you can go through it.
Add some more water, bring it to a boil (with the lid on) and let it stay that way for another hour or so, until the water evaporates.

4) Put the pulp into a piece of cloth and begin squeezing (of course, after it cooled somewhat). You can also press it between two big stones or with your bare hands.

-Wear gloves when extracting the oil and harvesting seeds.

-After heat treatment, ricin toxicity is 250,000 times lower.

-Sodium hydroxide also destroys the poison (if there is a small amount left)

-Pressing oil without a stone, with bare hands, is very very tiresome. I have done it. But then again, this shouldn't be an issue, if you really love what you do.

That's it!

Sorry for my English! It's not my mother tongue.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 3:42AM
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In truth, your written english is better than that of many of the native-speakers.

For your edification: "tiresome" is generally used in a figurative sense, for example, "her complaining is very tiresome" or "exaggerated fears over castor beans are tiresome", rather than in the literal or actual context as you used it. Your usage was not explicitly wrong but more common would be "tiring" or "fatiguing" or "laborious", etc.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 6:53AM
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Thanks pnbrown!

    Bookmark   July 2, 2013 at 4:20PM
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Surely on the NSA radar now - essentially asking how to make Ricin. LOL

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 10:27PM
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Hi Scarlet, how do you make the soap with castor beans?

Thanks :)

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 8:55PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Geeeez !!! sounds like the movie "BrEAking Bad" !!!

There was a thread about Sweet Peas and how "Poisonous" it is OR can be. I searched it a bit and the general warning about it was something like this:

what is the definition of " LARGE QUANTITIES"??. Technically most (if not all) beans and peas contain some toxic contents. Lablab(hyacinth) beans are also toxic when hard and ripe. THEN IT SHOUL BE COOKED. I wonder if it has some Ricin too !!
Remember when you eat "LARGE QUANTITIES" of beans burrito, get blotted ??! ( I quit eating them long time ego). So lets ban burritos. haha

So the same story with caster beans. What is wrong if I feed them to the rats that are causing me pain ?

BTW: where can I buy some CASTER BEANS ??

    Bookmark   August 2, 2013 at 2:58AM
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we grow castor oil in Jamaica and have never heard anyone dying from the plant or beans! I am just seeking a quick way to get the oil other than the old fashion way of using a pestle as we do in my country. some great suggestions. will try.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 10:44AM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

You may not have heard about it but it does occasionally happen. Personally, I'd err on the side of caution when dealing with the seeds. They are the source of Ricin.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ricin

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 12:19PM
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I want to use castor oil to control voles and moles. Here it costs $7US for 3 US fluid ounces. Therefore I would like to make my own by growing the plant, which is beautiful too. Can I make it by boiling the seeds?

    Bookmark   October 3, 2014 at 6:56AM
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