Benefits of Castor oil
What is Castor oil ?
Castor oil is a thick translucent liquid that is colourless to pale yellow. Castor oil comes from the seeds of ricinus communis plant that is native to the tropical areas of Africa, south America and Asia. Castor oil is a vegetable oil obtained from the castor seed; the oil is a colourless to very pale yellow liquid with mild or no odour or taste
India is the world’s largest producer of castor oil. In ancient Egypt castor oil was burned as fuel in lamps for lighting. It was also used by the medical doctors or medicine men to treat eye irritations and prevent eye irritations. It was also given to pregnant women to stimulate labour. Egyptian women were known all over the world for their beauty secrets and tips hence the love for castor oil for their facial oils. Castor oil is known to consist of up to 90% ricinoleic, 4% linoleic, 3% oleic, 1% stearic, and less than 1% linolenic fatty acids. Castor Oil is unique among all fats and oils in that,; it is the only source of an 18-carbon hydroxylated fatty acid with one double bond, and •ricinoleic acid comprises approximately 90% of the fatty acid composition.
In the US, castor oil was used medicinally to cure constipation and heartburn.
Castor plant (Ricinus communis L.) was probably one of the first crops cultivated by early man who used the oil extracted from the seeds for a wide variety of applications including lamp oil. Castor plant is a member of the Euphorbiaceae family that spread throughout the tropical regions of the world. Castor plant grows optimally in tropical summer rainfall areas. It grows well from the wet tropics to the subtropical dry regions with an optimum temperature of 20°C–25°C. Castor plant varies greatly in its growth and appearance. It varies in growth, habit, colour of foliage, stems, seed size and colour, and oil content.
Castor plant is a coarse perennial, bearing large leaves often dark with glossy green long petioles,The flowers are borne on inflorescence which forms a huge terminal clusters.
Extraction of Castor Oil
Castor oil can be extracted from castor beans by either mechanical pressing, solvent extraction, or a combination of pressing and extraction. The castor beans undergo various processing in the course of its preparation for extraction.
- Cleaning : foreign materials and dirt which separated from beans.
- Drying: beans are sun dried in the open, until the seed hull splits , releasing the seed inside.
- Dehulling: removal of the hull from the seeds.
- Grinding: (size reduction).
The more common custom of extracting castor oil, is to use hydraulic press (cold press). Literature revealed that Castor beans contains about 30-35 percent oil. After the extraction of castor oil, the remaining material is called the castor bean pomace. The castor bean pomace contains also a highly toxic and heat sensitive ricin. Unlike the seeds, castor oil does not contain the poison ricin.
Difference between castor oil and black castor oil (Jamaica black castor oil).
Both castor oil and Jamaican black castor oil are made from the castor bean, but the differences are due to the processing method utilised. Jamaican black castor is extracted through a traditional method of roasting, grinding and boiling the castor seed before being pressed to release the dark brown oil. The roasting process and resulting dark ash is what gives black colour. Both forms of castor oil are high in vitamins and nutrients. However, it is generally considered that the Jamaican black castor is especially beneficial for hair because of the ash content, while cold pressed castor oil helps detoxify the skin.
Properties of Castor Oil.
- Non comedogenic
Benefits of castor oil for Health .
Castor Oil has been used both internally and externally for thousands. Castor oil has been shown to increase circulation and promote elimination and healing of tissues and organs underneath the skin. Castor Oil has been used internally for the treatment of constipation and digestive disorders for centuries, any internal use of castor oil be prescribed and monitored by a doctor. Castor oil is classified by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as generally recognised as safe and effective for use as a stimulant laxative. A study showed the predominate effect of orally administered castor oil was to decrease the contractile activity of the circular smooth muscle of the small bowel.
- Powerful laxative
- Reduces inflammation
- Promotes wound healing
- Relieves pain
- Promotes dental health
- Induces labour
Castor oil benefits for skin
Successful studies have approved the use of Castor Oil for skin infections and other skin problems such as sunburn, abrasions, acne, dry skin, boils, warts, stretch marks and liver/age spots. Castor oil is a natural emollient and moisturizer that penetrates the skin and helps stimulate the production of collagen and elastin which can help reduce wrinkles. and stretchmarks.
- Treats irritated skin
- Prevents the skin from bacterial infections
- Moisturizes the skin
- It is great for dry skin
- Soothes sunburn
- Reduce wrinkles.
Castor oil benefits for hair
The use of castor oil for hair has its roots in ancient Egypt, according to the e-museum at Minnesota State University. Egyptian women used castor oil, along with rosemary, and sweet almond, to stimulate hair growth due to its fatty acid and Vitamin E content. When applied on hair and scalp it boost up blood circulation and clears the scalp of any bacterial and fungal infections and dandruff. The oil traps the moisture of the hair and prevents it from becoming
dry. The regular usage of castor oil checks hair loss and split ends. 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.
- Conditions hair
- Increases the elasticity of hair strands hence prevents hair breakage
- Promotes hair growth
- Treats and prevents dandruff
Castor oil is a vital component in a facial cleansing routine called the oil cleansing method, which is considered an alternative to traditional skin-care regimens. Castor oil is used due to its cleansing and anti-inflammatory properties. Application of castor oil on skin keeps it hydrated and free from infections, thus a remedy for acne.
- Enhances the texture of the face by making it smooth and soft
- Great for sensitive skin
- Great for acne prone skin
- Prevents wrinkles and fine lines hence antiaging
- Treats uneven skin tone by promoting healthy growth of skin tissues
Castor oil and acne
Castor oil is rich in ricinoleic acid which help fight off acne causing bacteria. It is also high in fatty acid content that help treat the scar tissue and help the growth of new healthy tissues in the skin. The fatty acid content also heals the acne wounds. Castor oil is a moisturizer which helps soothe the inflamed area of the skin and also reduce the skin texture caused by acne hence making skin smooth and soft. Castor oil has microbial properties which help fight bacteria found in the skin that cause acne. By killing the bacteria, it will prevent overgrowth of bacteria in the affected area. Castor oil has powerful inflammatory properties that reduces inflammation in the skin.
How to use castor oil.
Castor oil can be used topically but since it is a thick oil, it needs to be diluted with a lighter oil like coconut or olive oil or any of your preference so that it can be absorbed in to the skin easily.
Just like the face oil, you will add whipped shea butter, cocoa butter or mango butter.
You will need castor oil, bentonite clay or turmeric powder, Qasil , an essential oil and a carrier oil of your choice. On freshly washed skin, apply the mixed mask evenly to the skin and wait for a few minutes, probably 15 to 20 minutes.
You will need a hair conditioner and add a few drops of the castor oil then apply even to hair and leave for a few minutes then wash out. Or add castor oil to a leave in conditioner and apply evenly to hair and scalp and leave it in.
If you need a DIY conditioner instead, you will need castor oil, honey, an essential oil and yoghurt. Mix well and apply to hair then rinse off and wash hair normally.
Body oil/ cream
You will need castor oil, a carrier oil of your choice, and an essential oil of your choice. For the cream, add whipped body butter of your own choosing.
Other Castor Oil Uses
The primary use of the castor oils is as the basic ingredient in the production of nylon 11, sebacic acid, plasticizers and engine jet lubricant.
Castor oil side effects
Castor is one of the many oils generally considered a safe oil but some people are allergic to it, while some are not advised to use it because of some reasons.
Castor oil is considered minimally toxic when administered orally to humans; the estimated lethal oral dose is 1-2 pints of undiluted oil.
To find out if you are not allergic to the oil, you need to do a patch test first. On your underarm skin before your elbow, apply a little undiluted castor oil and cover it with gauze, leave it on for more than 2hours. If the skin starts to irritate before two hours are over, then do not use the oil at all.
Pregnant women are advised not to use castor oil, or rather consume castor oil because it induces labour. There have been some case reports of adverse effects associated with castor oil intake at delivery.
Castor oil also causes diarrhoea. It is useful in helping with constipation but when ingested a bit too much it can cause over diarrhoea and therefore dehydration.
Several instances of sensitisation to castor oil in cosmetics have been reported, including an allergic reaction to a make-up remover.
By Eila Oketch