Castor oil is a natural plant oil produced by pressing the seeds of the Ricinus communis, also known as the castor oil plant. The castor oil plant is native to the Mediterranean, to eastern Africa, and to India.
Castor oil is a very thick and viscous oil. It has a bland, oily taste, and no particular odor.
Typically, castor oil is a pale yellow color, though a kind of castor oil known as Jamaican black castor oil, which is produced by a different method than standard castor oil, is dark brown in color.
Castor oil has served different purposes throughout history. It was used both for cosmetics and as a lighting oil in ancient Egypt.
From Egypt, its use spread to ancient Greece and then to the rest of the Mediterranean.
It has also been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine in India. Today, castor oil is best known as a laxative, and you can probably find a bottle in your drug store that’s been marketed for this use.
But castor oil has a range of other uses, such as skin and hair treatment, for pain relief, and as an ingredient in many cosmetics such as lipsticks, lip balms, and deodorants.
Why is castor oil so great?
Like I wrote above, castor oil has lots of health and beauty uses that have been popular for thousands of years. But what is it about castor oil that is actually responsible for these great effects?
In order to answer this, I first have to tell you a bit about the chemistry underlying plant oils. Don’t worry, there’s just a bit of it, and it is simple to understand.
All oils, such as olive oil or castor oil, are mostly composed of certain chemical compounds called fatty acids.
There are lots of different fatty acids out there, and each one has its own unique properties. Different oils are made up of different combinations of these fatty acids, and the specific combination of an oil’s fatty acids is largely responsible for the oil’s flavor, its consistency, and its healing properties.
Castor oil is unique among oils because it is mainly composed of an unusual fatty acid called ricinoleic acid. Ricinoleic acid can only be found in very small quantities in other oils, but it makes up 85%-95% of castor oil.
In fact, the term “ricinoleic” comes from the Latin name for the castor oil plant, Ricinus communis. Ricinoleic acid has analgesic (pain-killing) and anti-inflammatory properties.
There are also indications that it is antibacterial and antifungal, and that it promotes circulation. Furthermore, it is a humectant, meaning that it attracts moisture from the environment to your hair and skin. That’s it for the chemistry lesson.
However, here are a few more reasons why castor oil can be magic for your body. Castor oil penetrates the skin easily. Many people find that castor feels oily and heavy, but don’t let that fool you – castor oil still absorbs quite well so it can be effective.
Also, castor oil is in general mild and non-irritating. The one exception to this is if you use castor oil very frequently on the same area (for example, on your face in the oil cleansing method).
In this case, you might find that castor oil might actually dry out your skin a bit, and you will have to take a break of a few days or to mix castor oil with another oil such as olive oil.
Finally, castor oil is safe to use on your face. There is a scale, called the comedogenic rating, that’s been developed by dermatologists and that gives an idea of how likely different substances are to cause breakouts.
The comedogenic rating goes from 0 to 5, with 0 meaning absolutely no risk of causing breakouts, and 5 meaning a high risk of causing breakouts. out an oil for the first time, and you will hopefully avoid frustrating breakouts.
9 Amazing Health Benefits of Castor Oil
1. Constipation – It is world accepted fact that castor oil helps in treating constipation. Known as a stimulant laxative, castor oil works on intestines to make them eliminate stool easily.
2. A migraine – Those who suffer from a migraine know the agony of suffering from the acute pain and pulsing sensation in the head.
Owing to its antioxidant properties, it is a great cure for people seeking relief from this terrible medical condition. It aids in the treatment of symptoms of migraines such as nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light.
3. Gastrointestinal problems – Being an anti-fungal and anti-bacterial oil, castor oil helps alleviate symptoms of gastrointestinal problems. From the large to the small colon, through the gut and anus, castor oil packs can be an effective treatment.
Castro oil topicals applications also come in handy on hemorrhoids. When applied on-site hemorrhoid shrinks in size and aids in pain management of hemorrhoids.
4. Those female only problems – Today, almost 60% of women suffer from menstrual disorders in India. We have good news for these for women.
Castor oil is generally used to curb inflammation caused during menstrual periods and it helps eliminate fibroids and cysts. In other terms, castor oil possesses ricinoleic acid that helps delayed, stopped and painful menstrual cycles.
5. Weight Loss – This is the most favorite topic of most of the people. Unsaturated fatty acids, increases the immunity and metabolism, eliminating waste thereby regulating the secretion process and usual eating in humans. In this is a way you can manage a healthy weight.
6. Athletes foot – It is communicable and contagious fungal infection thereby causing itching and burning sensation. Castor oil possesses anti-fungal properties, which helps in eliminating different types of action completely.
7. Multiple Sclerosis – Is a disorder involving the inflammation and degeneration of myelin in the brain and spinal cord. This causes the disruption of electrical impulses to and from the brain.
Its symptoms are co-ordination problems and balance, weakness throughout the body, visual disturbances, fatigue, bowel, and bladder problems, as well as cognitive disturbances. It helps in its rich source of fatty acids and inflammation properties.
8. Enhances Detoxification – Being able to go on a cleanse is something most people wish to do. For those who are looking to eliminate toxins from their body in a natural manner, it becomes pertinent to consider castor oil.
Research has shown castor oil can remove toxins in the body at a rapid rate while not showcasing side-effects. This is a significant advantage to have for those who want to improve their health.
Since it can be used as an effective laxative, it can work well for those who are not only detoxifying but dealing with constipation as well.
9. Removes dryness from skin – Dryness, and flaking can be attributed to the skin not being as healthy as required. Many patients are diagnosed with dermatitis, and it can become a lifelong battle to improve the look and feel of one’s skin.
Castor oil is applied once or twice a day can show tremendous improvement.
A Brief summary of its use –
For massage usually with other carrier oils as a 10% additive Castor oil helps in managing prematurely aging skin and mature skin since it is said to stimulate collagen production as well as soften and smoothen the skin.
For managing damaged, brittle and dry hair as well as dandruff and hair loss conditions since it moisturizes the hair and scalp and smoothens the hair cuticle.
Castor oil helps to treat ringworms and athlete’s foot due to its antifungal properties. It also has antibacterial and antiviral properties Has anti-inflammatory properties and used for managing eczema and psoriasis Minimizes scarring and used for burns Softens corns and calluses. It is also used for cleansing the face.
Castor oil packs can be used to relieve the ache and pains of arthritis, muscle strains. Castor oil packs are also used for constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, hepatitis, menstrual irregularities, ovarian cysts.
When used for soap making, castor oil makes the soap lather and moisturize well. Taken internally it works as a stimulant laxative for the treatment of constipation.
Castor Oil Safety Precautions
Avoid using during pregnancy and when breastfeeding Avoid during menstrual periods.
CASTOR OIL MASSAGE RECIPE
Castor oil 1 oz (25 ml) Sweet almond oil 10 oz (300 ml or 1 cup) Lavender essential oil 50 drops (2.5 ml or ½ teaspoon) ***
Mix all the ingredients in a dark bottle, shake well and store in a cool, dark place.
For prematurely aging skin use patchouli, clary sage, rose, lavender and geranium essential oils. Mature skin uses geranium, clary sage and lavender essential oils. For dandruff and thinning hair use essential oils like rosemary, clary sage and lemon. For eczema use essential oils like geranium, lavender, Roman chamomile, and rosemary essential oils.