Editor’s Note: Content is updated with additional information under the section “Alternative Uses of Castor Oil“.
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Where Castor Oil Comes From
Castor oil is an extract that comes from the seeds of the castor plant. In botany, this plant is known as Ricinus communis. It is a member of the Spurge family (Euphorbiaceae) where similar plants such as poinsettia also belong.
This flowering plant is a shrub but it can fully develop into the size of a small tree. It is resistant to drought and it grows at an amazing rate. When located in warm climates and open spaces, it could reach up to 12 meters in height. The plant thrives mostly in tropical or subtropical places such Eastern Africa and India. It can flourish almost anywhere in the world as long as the climate fits.
Castor plants are grown on plantations for castor oil production. A matured castor oil plant produces castor seeds. Others call it castor beans. These are oval and light brown, with streaks of dark brown shades. The seeds are the primary source of castor oil. A single castor seed is naturally 40% to 60% oil in structure.
What Castor Oil is Made Of
Castor oil may be colorless to pale yellow liquid. Its rich nature is evident in its thick and sticky texture, especially when pouring the oil. Due to a moisture-rich quality, the oil does not dry or evaporate easily. It has a boiling point of 313 degree Celsius and a density of 961 kg/m3.
Crude or unrefined type of castor oil has a yellowish color and distinct odor. This type of castor oil does not undergo refinery that involves bleaching and deodorization. They turn colorless and odorless. These processes may diminish important properties of the oil. Therefore, unrefined oils are better due to greater amounts of nutrients.
A high concentration of ricinoleic acid is uniquely found in castor oil. This compound is an omega-9 fatty acid with great anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. The oil contains proteins, vitamin E, and omega-6 fatty acids as well. These make castor oil good for skin, hair, and body application. It is best for relieving pain and swelling. The table below shows the average composition of castor oil.
Why Use Castor Oil – Our 5 Best Reasons
With castor oil’s amazing properties and composition comes a great potential for an awesome beauty and wellness product. Here are the 5 best reasons why you should start using castor oil today!
Blends Well with Other Essential Oils and Products
You can rarely find products you can actually mix with almost everything like castor oil. It blends perfectly with other natural essential oils. Use it to create various DIY recipes and home remedies such as masks or oil blends. You can even put a few drops of castor oil to your regular hair care and skin care products such as shampoos, conditioners, lotions, and body washes. Castor oil not only makes them more delightful to use, it increases the nourishing value of the products as well.
Suits All Types of Hair and Skin
Anybody can experience the beauty of many castor oil benefits because it works well with every type of hair and skin. Whether you have straight, wavy, curly, or kinky hair, castor oil gives you gorgeous tresses. No matter what skin color or texture, using castor oil for skin care is a surefire win. It suits dry, oily, combination, and normal skin types.
Rich in Essential Nutrients
Castor oil is a powerhouse of essential nutrients your hair and skin needs to stay beautiful and healthy. It carries high amounts of moisture, fatty acids, vitamin E, and protein. Giving your hair and skin a daily dose of castor oil is a natural way of providing them well-deserved nourishment and care.
Effective Carrier Oil
Castor oil is a popular carrier oil in massage therapy. Many essential oil users prefer castor oil because it works well in high and low temperatures. Due to a naturally thick and moisture-rich nature, it does not evaporate or dry out easily. This also helps the massage oil to absorb well into the hair and skin to deliver therapeutic properties more effectively.
A Whole-Body Treatment
Castor oil is one of those rare types of essential oils you can actually use for the whole body in a wide range of uses. You can experience its amazing benefits from head-to-toe, inside-out! Apart from being a natural solution for hair care and skin care, castor oil is effective for relieving joint pains, strained muscles, and arthritis when used for massage. You rub a few drops to your toenails to make them stronger and to get rid of toenail fungus. Castor oil products suitable for ingestion are great laxatives that relieve constipation. With castor oil, you do not only look good, you definitely feel good as well.
Alternative Uses of Castor Oil
Castor oil presents a lot of nourishing benefits and uses for hair care and skin care. With many beneficial properties it carries, castor oil comes with surprising uses for a number of major industries as well.
The property of castor oil to inhibit the growth of molds and bacteria has been put to good use in the food industry. If to be stored for a long time, food grain products such as rice, wheat, and pulses are coated in castor oil. This prevents them from spoiling while protecting against microbes and pests. Using castor oil for food preservation is a great option if you want to avoid the health risks of chemical preservatives.
Castor oil has long been used as a natural remedy for constipation. It has laxative effects that work well for both adults and children when taken in right doses. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers castor oil as “generally recognized as safe and effective”. It is also given to pregnant women to induce labor. In the field of alternative medicine, it is promoted to treat various health conditions such as cysts. It is also taken to expel intestinal parasites from the body.
In manufacturing, castor oil is used to produce polyurethane, a type of plastic material. It has a broad range of applications such as coatings, adhesives, and tires. Castor oil makes a good ingredient for coating products due to its non-drying property.
Castor oil is used as a natural lubricant for moving parts of machines, automobiles, and even aircrafts. It does not freeze nor evaporate easily so it works well both at high and low temperatures. It is useful for racing cars, jets, and diesel engines. Castor oil is also great for cycle pumps with rubber seals because it does not cause rubber to spoil. You can also use it on kitchen tools and hinges that need lubrication.
Castor oil can be a used as a source of energy. Many farmers grow castor commercially as raw material in production of biodiesel. It creates a fuel that works well on cold temperatures, especially during winter.
There is a growing demand for castor oil in the global market. It is a better and more sustainable alternative that can reduce dependency on petrochemicals. Castor oil is a well-known renewable source that is good for the environment. Countries that are developing a plan to use castor oil as in renewable energy source are major importers including the United States.
Castor oil is one of the oldest forms of punishment for children in history. They are fed with castor oil that causes bowels to cramp up and result in terrible consequences. Things like diarrhea and uncontrollable bowel movements even while asleep could happen. Italians used this as a humiliating torture device during the Fascist Era. Victims forcefully fed with castor oil suffer from severe dehydration that sometimes leads to death. Today, this type of punishment no longer exists due to negative impressions, especially from medical experts.
Other Uses of Castor Oil
Castor oil has uses in creating paints, inks, and pigments as well. It is a common ingredient in producing dyes and other types of products that give materials colors. You can also find castor oil in surfactants and soaps. Its antibacterial properties make it perfect as an additive for flavoring too.
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Get a handful of awesome articles packed with helpful bits. You will learn new techniques on how to use castor oil effectively for hair and skin care. We got tips and tricks to make your everyday personal care routine a lot easier.
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