Ever wonder what that large leaved, purple tinted and attractive weed is that grows along highways and waterways on many flatter areas in Mexico. Well, I didn't either until I ran into a video about the poisonous Castor plant growing wild near Puerto Vallarta. We have lots growing around Melaque.
While eating raw parts of the plant is dangerous and possible fatal to humans and range animals ... the processing of Castor or Higuerilla puts it in the almost miracle plant category. After all, where does Castor Oil come from.
In traditional Mexican medicine, the leaves are used in poultices placed on the chest for congestion, cough, or fever, or on the abdomen to treat an acute intestinal distress known as "empacho". The leaves are used on anything that "hurts", that is, swollen joints, bruises, boils, neuralgia, abscesses, as well as for colds and fever. The oil of the bean has been used medicinally and for lubrication for possibly 1000's of years. The stalks are used for paper making.
The latest in Mexico is the interest in Castor oil and the production of Bio-Fuels and Biodiesel. The video explains the characteristics of the castor, their advantages and yields for the production of biodiesel in Mexico, thanks to research conducted by INIFAP.