Castor Oil

castor plant

Castor Oil is cold pressed from the beans of the Ricinus communis (Castor plant). At room temperature, it is a pale-yellow liquid that does not have a lot of scent. Castor Seed Oil can strengthen the immune system and be a great remedy to treat multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, cerebral paralysis, hair loss and asthma. It also provides relief for pain from arthritis and rheumatism, treats constipation, dysentery, inflammatory bowel disease and bladder and vaginal infections. It can have many positive effects on health if it is used properly and dosed in the proper amounts. On the flip side, it can be quite deadly if used in large quantities. Castor Oil provides many benefits when used for skin and hair treatments. Its properties help to keep skin and hair looking young and healthy. It is an excellent source of essential nutrients such as vitamin E, antioxidants and minerals.

History

Castor seeds were found in Egyptian tombs that date back to around 4000 BC. During that time, they used the oil to fuel lamps. However, it had other uses, for example, Cleopatra used it to brighten the whites of her eyes. An ancient Greek historian Herodotus noted the use of Castor Oil for lighting, body ointments and improving hair growth and texture. A medical papyrus from around 1550 BC, the Ebers Papyrus, also describes the Castor Oil as an effective laxative. Since 2000, Castor Oil has been documented in India within traditional Ayurvedic medicine as the king of healing arthritic diseases. In Christian times, it got the name “the palm of Christ” or “Palma Christi” due to its many beneficial and miraculous abilities. There is also a dark side to the history of Castor Oil. During World War II, the fascist regime in Italy used Castor Oil to torture political prisoners and opponents of the regime. They would force them to drink very large amounts of Castor Oil, leading to severe cases of diarrhea, dehydration and eventually death.

Geography

The Castor plant is indigenous to the southeastern Mediterranean Basin, Eastern Africa and India but today it can be found throughout the tropical regions. The global Castor seed production is around 1 million tons per year, with India producing well over three quarters of the world’s total amount. Other notable producers are China, Brazil and Ethiopia.

Skin & Body Care

The best quality of Castor Oil is that it acts as a natural skin emollient and moisturizer. When applied on the skin it creates a protective layer that acts as a barrier that draws moisture from the air and prevents the skin from drying. This is very useful in winter time or in environments with low air humidity. The minerals, antioxidants and vitamin E within the Castor Oil help boost skin health. It can be used as a treatment for skin infections, skin inflammation or irritated and itching skin since it contains triglyceride fatty acids, which are known to be antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial. Also, helpful for treating acne, warts and skin moles the oil can improve the skin’s appearance.

Hair Care

All the qualities of the Castor Oil that make it a great skin treatment also result in it being extremely beneficial as a hair treatment.