What is Castor Seed Oil?
Castor oil is a tasteless and odorless oil extracted from castor seeds obtained from the castor plant, scientifically known as Ricinus communis. About half a century ago, castor oil was a nightmare for many children, and there were sufficient reasons for that. It was extensively used as a purgative, and most peculiarly, as a medicine against almost all ailments in children and the elderly. These possible illnesses ranged from cough, cold, and fever, to constipation, indigestion, ingestion of any poisonous material, tapeworms and roundworms, skin diseases, and a number of others. The idea behind such a treatment was that malfunction in the stomach is the root of all other problems. So, whenever you had a problem, you needed a thorough cleansing of your digestive system and the problem would disappear. All the medicinal uses, it has, are mostly due to its germicidal, toxic, purgative, and disinfectant properties.
Health Benefits of Castor Seed Oil
Let’s have a look at what this powerful oil can do for us; the health benefits of castor oil include the following:
The ricinoleic, oleic, linoleic, and other fatty acids found in castor oil are very effective in the treatment of rheumatism, arthritis, and gout. They easily penetrate through the skin. Castor oil is mixed with other medicines for rheumatism to facilitate their penetration and enhance their effects.
Helps in Birth Control
Castor seed oil contains a toxin called ricin (a protein) which, if administered in very low dosages, acts as a germicidal substance. Due to this property, it is also used as a spermicide in spermicidal gels, and lotions. If administered to pregnant women in higher dosages, it may also cause abortion. However, this second mode of birth control can be fatal for the mother too and is rarely recommended.
Relieves Menstrual Disorders
Ricinoleic acid, present in castor oil, is an emmenagogue by nature and stimulates menstruation in cases of delayed, painful, or obstructed menses. It also helps relieve pain during menstruation.
Castor seed oil contains undecylenic acid, which has germicidal and disinfectant properties. It is useful for treating skin diseases and skin ulcers, particularly those which are caused due to bacterial or fungal infections.
Castor seed oil is most widely used as a laxative (better to call it a purgative). It is thus a very effective treatment for extreme cases of constipation where other bulk laxatives do not work.
Most of the substances which are considered emmenagogues are also galactagogues by nature, meaning that they stimulate the secretion of milk. Castor oil, apart from easing and enhancing milk flow, also increases the quantity of milk due to the presence of fatty acids in it. However, its cold-compressed form should only be taken in low doses to avoid any adverse effects on infants.
The germicidal, insecticidal, and fungicidal properties of ricin and ricinoleic acid present in castor oil protect the scalp and hair from microbial and fungal infections, the two prime causes of hair loss. In addition to this, the fatty acids in it nourish the hair and prevent the scalp from drying by retaining moisture.
Used as an effective purgative, ricinoleic acid in castor oil is anti-inflammatory in nature. Castor oil is also used in medication for HIV positive patients, as compounds like ricinoleic acid and ricin have germicidal and antiviral effects. Castor oil is also used on burns and wounds to protect them from infections.
Castor Seed Oil FAQs
What is Castor oil?
Castor seed oil is a vegetable oil that comes from a pressing and extracting process of the castor plant. These seeds are rich in triglyceride, which is what makes them so valuable, but they also contain small amounts of a toxin called ricin, which is potentially deadly in concentrated or excess amounts. However, the benefits, in most cases, outweigh this risk.
Where to buy Castor oil?
Castor oil can be purchased at a majority of grocery and home stores, including Target and Walgreens. Being a multi-purpose substance, many demographics require castor oil for various health concerns and applications. You can buy castor oil at most health food stores, specialty cosmetic stores, and alternative health distributors.
How to use Castor oil?
You can use castor in a number of ways, depending on what health issues you are dealing with. Castor oil can be consumed in small quantities as a laxative and to coat your stomach in case of nausea or chronic vomiting. Many people choose to use castor oil topically, both on their skin and hair, in order to increase the luster and shine. There are also antibacterial properties in castor oil, so it is often used on wounds for speed healing and preventing infection as well.
How much Castor oil to use to induce labor?
You should always check with a medical professional before trying an alternative therapy, particularly with castor oil. If you get the go-ahead from your doctor, you can use about 4 tablespoons of the tonic, as this is believed to induce the beginnings of labor in pregnant women. Castor oil is also believed to help with constipation during pregnancy, as it is often used as a laxative.
What are the benefits of Jamaican Black Castor oil?
Jamaican black castor oil is predominantly known for its impact on hair growth. If you are experiencing hair loss, or if it seems like your hair is thinning, you can topically apply Jamaican black castor oil to your hair and get your hair looking back to normal in no time.
What does Castor oil do?
Castor oil does a number of things, both internally and externally. For internal use, only a small amount is required. It can coat your stomach, helping settle nausea and vomiting, and works as a laxative, thereby treating constipation. Externally, castor oil is able to improve the appearance and health of the skin, stimulate hair growth, reduce inflammation, and protect the immune system against bacterial infections.
Where does Castor oil come from?
Castor oil is extracted by pressing the castor plant seeds. These plants, which bear the scientific name Ricinus communis, are found throughout the world and are quite hardy, making castor oil relatively inexpensive and easy to access. This also means that more people are able to enjoy the benefits of castor oil!
How to make Castor oil?
Castor oil extraction is a bit of a lengthy and extensive process and is potentially dangerous, so it is generally suggested that you purchase castor oil from an established business, rather than attempt to make your own. Also, handling the castor plant seeds can be dangerous, because it does contain trace amounts of the chemical known as ricin.
Is Castor oil safe?
If you are pregnant and trying to induce labor, castor oil can be safe, but consuming too much of it can also induce early labor. The skin can sometimes break out when exposed to castor oil and the concentration of chemicals in castor oil make it dangerous.
Is Castor oil good for skin?
Castor oil is very good for the skin and its topical application is believed to be the safest use. It is well known as an effective acne remedy and can also clear up eczema and other chronic inflammation issues. Since it is good for the immune system and possesses antibacterial properties, it is also great for keeping the skin healthy and is commonly used as a preventative measure.
How to use Castor oil for skin?
You can use castor oil for the skin in a number of ways. If you are experiencing irritation or inflammation, clean and wash your face thoroughly with warm water, which will help open your pores. Then, apply a light layer of castor oil on the skin, or you can mix it in with any carrier oil, which is often easier. The best carrier oils are olive oil, almond oil, and coconut oil.
Is Castor oil safe for eyes?
Yes, castor oil is safe for the eyes, but there are particular preparations of castor oil that are diluted enough to be safe. You should not use the same type of castor oil that is used in oil packs or in the bath. If you have the right eye-friendly castor oil, you can use this anti-inflammatory oil to treat cataracts, relieve dry eye symptoms, prevent eye infections, and get rid of those unsightly dark circles beneath your eyes.
Word of Caution: Castor oil was infamous for some reasons. In earlier times, it was used to poison and even kill people. When administered in lower dosages, it induces nausea, vomiting, sickness, and loose bowels. It is not a very healthy or nutritious thing and that is why it found its uses more in industries than in edibles.