Poison Attack On The White House

Ricin Is Deadly Poisonous


A news item caught my eye, about attempted attacks on President Obama and others, using the castor oil bean toxin called ricin.

I wrote about this years ago (1993) in my book of that year The Complete Guide to Food And Environmental Allergies, which was published by Thorson’s, now an imprint of Harper Collins. Here’s an extract from that writing:Nature has seen fit to endow a number of plants with the capacity to synthesize substances that are toxic to humans and other animals. Humans are probably only able to tolerate the majority of foods because of the discovery of fire, which cooks away toxins (although several plant toxins are heat-stable).

Farmers and veterinarians have known for years that animals become sick if they graze on certain types of plant (for example, bulls become enraged if they eat loco weed – ‘loco’ being Spanish for crazy).

Many plant substances are toxic to humans in quite small quantities, including deadly nightshade, acorns and hemlock.

Ricin, the toxic principle in caster seeds (Ricinus communis), is one of the most deadly poisons known: a minute drop on the tip of a needle was used in an infamous political assassination on the streets of London in 1978.

The fact is that all plants, including edible ones, contain quantities of poisons. Carrots, for example, contain a nerve toxin: caratotoxin. And someone once pointed out that if cabbage had to undergo the tests that drugs are now subjected to before being pronounced fit for humans, it wouldn’t pass. Obviously, most often the amounts of poison in foods are tolerable. Toxicity is a matter of degree.

Letter Poison

A letter addressed to Obama was received at an off-site mail screening facility on Tuesday, according to a statement issued by the US Secret Service. Field tests identified the letter’s powdery substance as ricin, but the FBI stated that field tests are not conclusive and must be confirmed by an accredited laboratory. Such follow-up tests usually take 24 to 48 hours.

Ricin disrupts protein production in human cells, which can be fatal. Symptoms of ricin poisoning vary, depending on the type of exposure. Inhaling significant amounts of ricin can lead to respiratory distress, fever, cough, and other symptoms within a few hours, followed possibly by hypotension, pulmonary edema, and respiratory failure. When someone ingests ricin, the first symptoms usually are vomiting and diarrhea. After several days, the liver, spleen, and kidneys may shut down.

There is no antidote for ricin, so clinicians are left with giving patients “supportive medical care to minimize the effects of the poisoning,” says the CDC fact sheet.

Castor bean is often mis-spelled as caster bean.

To learn more about plant poisons and how we cope when digesting them, visit: http://www.dietwisebook.com



  1. If ricin is tagged as castor oil then what was my grandmother pouring down my throat as a little girl. She was calling it castor oil and it was good for me. Note I am still here.

  2. Since last October somebody gave me a little bottle of Ricino Oil to use on my face. It is Ricinus Communis Oil and seems to be good for dry skin.
    I am in shock reading how toxic this product is… Could this be a reason I am husky, feel tired and sleepy, whereas I usually could do with only 6/7 hours sleep.
    They sell this oil here in Portugal in the farmacia. The importer is F.J. Campos.
    Please let me know if this is the same oil your are referring to in your article.
    Thank you so much.

  3. I think you might want to clarify in your blog that castor oil is not poisonous! I got the impression while reading the article that anything made from the castor bean would be harmful.

  4. Hi Doc Keith S-M & Friends,

    I would like to recommend that you ADD a button to offer folks anywhere on your various website page offerings to be enabled to FORWARD your information directly to friends, family members… or anyone. It’s like word-of-mouth advertising, which is a faster way to market items AND it costs the least!

    If you think this is a GREAT idea, like I KNOW it is, I’d love one each of the EXCELLENT items you offer as a “thank you” for this EXCELLENT TARGETED-MARKETING suggestion.

    Thank You, Ralph Lewis, PO Box 11502, San Bernardino, CA 92423

    PS – I also guarantee I’ll be sharing anything you send to any folks I know at work and play so this will be a win-win for both you and myself.

  5. Would you please resend me your talk about the research findings of people without a brain? I thought it was fascinating, I told many people about it and cannot find it in my inbox any more.

  6. Dr Bill Sardi lists glutathione and N-acytal-cysteine as anedotes to ricin. See for yourself at knowlegeofhealthdotcomm.

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