Subscribe
Subscribe
MY AMERICAN SCIENTIST
LOG IN! REGISTER!
SEARCH
 
Logo IMG
HOME > MULTIMEDIA > Multimedia Detail

SCIENCE IN THE NEWS DAILY

Just a Spoonful of Castor Oil

from ScienceNOW Daily News

Castor oil may have a bad rap among people who were force-fed spoonfuls as children, but it's no myth that the tonic has health effects. Now, scientists have elucidated the molecular mechanism of the active ingredient in castor oil, which has been used for thousands of years as a laxative and labor-inducer. Ricinoleic acid, the fatty acid that makes up about 90% of the oil, binds to one particular receptor in the intestines and uterus, the researchers discovered. The discovery explains how castor oil works and could lead to the development of less unpleasant drugs.

Although taking a daily spoonful of diluted castor oil as a general health aid is no longer in vogue, alternative health stores still sell the foul-tasting liquid as a laxative. The Food and Drug Administration has categorized castor oil as "generally recognized as safe and effective," but researchers don't understand its mechanism.

"When you study classic, old drugs, you almost always learn something from them," says first author of the new study Stefan Offermanns, a biologist at the Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research in Germany. "The major surprise here was how specifically castor oil worked."

Read more...


comments powered by Disqus
 

Connect With Us:

Facebook Icon Sm Twitter Icon Google+ Icon Pinterest Icon RSS Feed Instagram Icon

Latest Multimedia

VIDEO: The Promise and Peril of Drones

CummingsDrones

The automation of tasks at work and at home is just around the corner, including driving cars, piloting planes, delivering packages, and transporting weapons. Unmanned aerial vehicles are rapidly evolving to meet both society’s and the military’s needs in automation and better efficiency.
During her time as one of the first female fighter pilots in the US Navy, Dr. Missy Cummings observed that computers could take off and land a plane more precisely than humans. Because of this breakthrough and her fascination with this growing technology, she began human–drone interaction research.

To view all multimedia content, click "Latest Multimedia."



RSS Feed Subscription

Receive notification when new content is posted from the entire website, or choose from the customized feeds available.


EMAIL TO A FRIEND :

Of Possible Interest

Science In The News Daily: Three Doctors Charged in Armstrong Doping Case

Science In The News Daily: Antibody Cocktail Cures Monkeys of Ebola

Science In The News Daily: Putting the Brakes on the Immune System

Subscribe to American Scientist