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Tracks & Trails

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Petroleum Lamps For Her Daughter 7z



Castor seeds have been found in Egyptian tombs dating back to 4000 BC; the slow-burning oil was mostly used to fuel lamps. Herodotus and other Greek travellers noted the use of castor seed oil for lighting, body ointments, and improving hair growth and texture. Cleopatra is reputed to have used it to brighten the whites of her eyes. The Ebers Papyrus is an ancient Egyptian medical treatise believed to date from 1552 BC. Translated in 1872, it describes castor oil as a laxative.[36]




Petroleum Lamps For Her Daughter 7z


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The use of castor bean oil (eranda) in India has been documented since 2000 BC in lamps and in local medicine as a laxative, purgative, and cathartic in Unani, Ayurvedic, siddha and other ethnomedical systems. Traditional Ayurvedic and siddha medicine considers castor oil the king of medicinals for curing arthritic diseases. It is regularly given to children to treat infections with parasitic worms.[37] Modern medical research suggests the purgative action induced by castor oil helps clear intestines of parasites.[38]


The ancient Romans had a variety of medicinal/cosmetic uses for both the seeds and the leaves of Ricinus communis. The naturalist Pliny the Elder cited the poisonous qualities of the seeds, but mentioned that they could be used to form wicks for oil lamps (possibly if crushed together), and the oil for use as a laxative and lamp oil.[39] He also recommends the use of the leaves as follows:


Castor oil is an effective motor lubricant and has been used in internal combustion engines, including those of World War I airplanes, some racing cars and some model airplanes. It has historically been popular for lubricating two-stroke engines due to high resistance to heat compared to petroleum-based oils. It does not mix well with petroleum products, particularly at low temperatures, but mixes better with the methanol-based fuels used in glow model engines. In total-loss-lubrication applications, it tends to leave carbon deposits and varnish within the engine. It has been largely replaced by synthetic oils that are more stable and less toxic.


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