Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 09:03 pm
The miracle tree, also known as the castor bean plant or castor, manages to win friends in the gardening world with its beautiful leaves, unusual flowers and fruiting. About its seeds you should know!
This is what the seeds look like!
The seeds that mature after flowering, which lasts from August to October, have the following characteristics:
- are in capsule fruits
- reddish brown to dark brown or blackish brown in color
- bean-shaped or oval
- 1 to 2 cm in size
Castor oil – a proven laxative.
The oil contained in the seeds of castor is a proven remedy in medicine. Castor oil is obtained by squeezing the seeds. It is yellowish in color and free of toxins due to the manufacturing process.
The taste of the oil is mild, but burning and unpleasant. This is also correct. This gives the body the indication that one should not take large amounts from the oil.
After taking a small dose of the castor oil, bowel emptying occurs after 2 to 4 hours. The oil also has a diuretic effect. Its effect as a laxative is known in many countries.
A protein that can lead to death
However, consumption of the bare seeds is consistently discouraged! The seeds are highly toxic! In the seed coat there is an active substance called ricin. This is a protein. When consumed, it causes red blood cells to clump together and paralyzes the respiratory center. Death can occur within 2 days.
The seeds taste pleasant
The insidious thing about the seeds in particular is that they do not taste unpleasant. In fact, they taste good. Therefore, you should be especially careful if you own a castor plant and have children and pets living in your household! There is no known antidote for ricin so far.
Symptoms of poisoning
On average, 20 seeds are fatal for an adult. For children, depending on their body weight, as few as 1 seed can be fatal. The following symptoms occur in case of poisoning by ricin:
- bloody diarrhea
- kidney pain
- liver damage to liver failure
- irritation of mucous membranes
Harvesting and storing the seeds
When the seeds mature in the fall, the trifoliate capsule fruits burst open. You can then harvest the seeds. They should be stored safely if you want to sow them. For up to three years, these seeds will germinate well.
Sowing the seeds
Sowing these seeds is a breeze. You can tackle it between January and July:
- Leave to swell for 1 day
- sow 1 cm deep
- keep moist
- place in a bright, warm place
- germination time: 1 to 2 weeks
When planting or sowing the miracle tree, be sure to wear gloves. Otherwise, you could get skin irritation due to the toxins it contains.