List of Benefits and Uses of Castor Oil - Nyongesa Sande (2022)

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Castor oil is a multipurpose vegetable oil that people have used for thousands of years. List of Benefits and Uses of Castor Oil. It’s made by extracting oil from the seeds of the Ricinus communis plant. These seeds, which are known as castor beans, contain a toxic enzyme called ricin. However, the heating process that castor oil undergoes during production deactivates the ricin, allowing the oil to be used safely. Castor oil has a number of medicinal, industrial, and pharmaceutical uses.

It’s commonly used as an additive in foods, medications, and skin care products, as well as an industrial lubricant and biodiesel fuel component. In ancient Egypt, people burned castor oil as fuel in lamps, used it as a natural remedy to treat ailments like eye irritation, and even took it to stimulate labor in pregnancy. Today castor oil remains a popular natural treatment for common conditions, such as constipation and skin ailments, and you can often find it in natural beauty products.

Castor oilis avegetable oilpressedfromcastor beans.It is a colourless or pale yellow liquid with a distinct taste and odor. Itsboiling pointis 313°C (595°F) and itsdensityis 0.961g/cm3.It includes a mixture oftriglyceridesin which about 90% of fatty acids arericinoleates.Oleic acidandlinoleic acidare the other significant components.

Castor oil and its derivatives are used in the manufacturing ofsoaps,lubricants, hydraulic andbrake fluids,paints,dyes,coatings,inks, cold-resistantplastics,waxesand polishes,nylon, andperfumes. The name probably comes from a confusion between theRicinusplant that produces it and another plant, theVitex agnus-castus.An alternative etymology, though, suggests that it was used as a replacement forcastoreum.

Castor oil is well known as a source ofricinoleic acid, amonounsaturated, 18-carbonfatty acid. Among fatty acids, ricinoleic acid is unusual in that it has ahydroxylfunctional groupon the 12th carbon atom. This functional group causes ricinoleic acid (and castor oil) to be morepolarthan most fats. The chemical reactivity of the alcohol group also allows chemicalderivatizationthat is not possible with most other seed oils. Because of its ricinoleic acid content, castor oil is a valuable chemical in feedstocks, commanding a higher price than other seed oils. As an example, in July 2007, Indian castor oil sold for aboutUS$0.90/kg ($0.41/lb), whereas U.S.soybean,sunflower, andcanolaoils sold for about $0.30/kg ($0.14/lb).

List of Benefits and Uses of Castor Oil - Nyongesa Sande (1)
Average composition of castor seed oil / fatty acids
Acid nameRange
Ricinoleic acid85–95
Oleic acid2–6
Linoleic acid1–5
α-Linolenic acid0.5–1
Stearic acid0.5–1
Palmitic acid0.5–1
Dihydroxystearic acid0.3–0.5
Others0.2–0.5

6 Uses of Castor Oil

Annually, 270,000–360,000 tonnes (600–800 million pounds) of castor oil are produced for a variety of uses.

Food and preservative

In the food industry, food-grade castor oil is used in food additives, flavorings, candy (e.g.,polyglycerol polyricinoleateinchocolate),as a mold inhibitor, and in packaging. Polyoxyethylated castor oil (e.g.,Kolliphor EL)is also used in the food industries.

InIndia,Pakistan, andNepal, food grains arepreservedby the application of castor oil. It stopsrice,wheat, andpulsesfrom rotting. For example, the legumepigeon peais commonly available coated in oil for extended storage.

Traditional medicine

Use of castor oil as alaxativeis attested to in thecirca1550 BCEEbers Papyrus,and was in use several centuries earlier.

Although used intraditional medicineto induce labor in pregnant women, there is noclinical evidencethat castor oil is effective for dilating thecervixor inducing labor.

According to theAmerican Cancer Society, “available scientific evidence does not support claims that castor oil on the skin cures cancer or any other disease.”

Skin and hair care

Castor oil has been used incosmeticproducts included in creams and as amoisturizer. Small amounts of castor oil are frequently used in cold-process soap to increase lathering in the finished bar. It also has been used to enhancehair conditioningin other products and for supposed anti-dandruffproperties.

Coatings

Castor oil is used as a biobasedpolyolin thepolyurethaneindustry. The average functionality (number ofhydroxylgroups per triglyceride molecule) of castor oil is 2.7, so it is widely used as a rigid polyol and in coatings.One particular use is in a polyurethane concrete where a castor-oil emulsion is reacted with an isocyanate (usually polymericmethylene diphenyl diisocyanate) and acementandconstruction aggregate. This is applied fairly thickly as a slurry, which is self-levelling. This base is usually further coated with other systems to build a resilient floor.

Castor oil is not adrying oil, meaning that it has a low reactivity with air compared with oils such aslinseed oilandtung oil. Dehydration of castor oil yields linoleic acids, which do have drying properties.[1]In this process, the OH group on the ricinoleic acid along with a hydrogen from the next carbon atom are removed yielding a double bond which then has oxidative cross-linking properties yielding the drying oil.

Precursor to industrial chemicals

Castor oil can react with other materials to produce other chemical compounds that have numerous applications.Transesterificationfollowed by steam cracking givesundecylenic acid, a precursor to specialized polymernylon 11, andheptanal, a component in fragrances.Breakdown of castor oil in strong base gives2-octanol, both a fragrance component and a specialized solvent, and thedicarboxylic acidsebacic acid. Hydrogenation of castor oil saturates the alkenes, giving a waxy lubricant.Castor oil may be epoxidized by reacting the OH groups withepichlorohydrinto make thetriglycidyl ether of castor oilwhich is useful in epoxy technology.This is available commercially as Heloxy 505.

The production oflithium greaseconsumes a significant amount of castor oil.Hydrogenationandsaponificationof castor oil yields 12-hydroxystearic acid, which is then reacted withlithium hydroxideorlithium carbonateto give high-performance lubricant grease.

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Since it has a relatively highdielectric constant(4.7), highly refined and dried castor oil is sometimes used as adielectric fluidwithin high-performance, high-voltagecapacitors.

Lubrication

Vegetable oils such as castor oil are typically unattractive alternatives topetroleum-derivedlubricantsbecause of their pooroxidativestability.Castor oil has better low-temperatureviscosityproperties and high-temperature lubrication than most vegetable oils, making it useful as a lubricant injet,diesel, and racing engines.The viscosity of castor oil at 10°C is 2,420 centipoise,but it tends to form gums in a short time, so its usefulness is limited to engines that are regularly rebuilt, such as racing engines. Lubricant companyCastroltook its name from castor oil.

Castor oil has been suggested as a lubricant forbicycle pumpsbecause it does not degrade natural rubber seals.

Early aviation and aeromodelling

Castor oil was the preferred lubricant forrotary engines, such as theGnome engineafter that engine’s widespread adoption for aviation in Europe in 1909. It was used almost universally in rotary-engined Allied aircraft inWorld War I. Germany had to make do with inferiorersatzoil for its rotary engines, which resulted in poor reliability.

Themethanol-fueled, two-cycle,glow-plug enginesused for aeromodelling, since their adoption bymodel airplanehobbyists in the 1940s, have used varying percentages of castor oil as lubricants. It is highly resistant to degradation when the engine has its fuel-air mixture leaned for maximum engine speed. Gummy residues can still be a problem for aeromodelling powerplants lubricated with castor oil, however, usually requiring eventual replacement ofball bearingswhen the residue accumulates within the engine’s bearing races. One British manufacturer ofsleeve-valvedfour-cycle model engines has stated the “varnish” created by using castor oil in small percentages can improve the pneumatic seal of the sleeve valve, improving such an engine’s performance over time.

Turkey red oil

Turkey red oil, also called sulphonated (or sulfated) castor oil, is made by adding sulfuric acid to vegetable oils, most notably castor oil.It was the first syntheticdetergentafter ordinarysoap. It is used in formulatinglubricants, softeners, anddyeing assistants.

Biodiesel

Castor oil, like currently less expensive vegetable oils, can be used as feedstock in the production ofbiodiesel. The resulting fuel is superior for cold winters, because of its exceptionally lowcloud pointandpour point.

Initiatives to grow more castor for energy production, in preference to other oil crops, are motivated by social considerations. Tropical subsistence farmers would gain a cash crop.

Punishment

Some parentspunished childrenwith a dose of castor oil.Physicians recommended against the practice because they did not want medicines associated with punishment.

A heavy dose of castor oil could be used as a humiliating punishment for adults. Colonial officials used it in theBritish Raj(India) to deal with recalcitrant servants.Belgian military officials prescribed heavy doses of castor oil inBelgian Congoas a punishment for being too sick to work.

The most famous use as punishment came inFascist ItalyunderBenito Mussolini. It was a favorite tool used by theBlackshirtsto intimidate and humiliate their opponents.Political dissidentswere force-fed large quantities of castor oil by Fascist squads. This technique was said to have been originated byGabriele D’AnnunzioorItalo Balbo.Victims of this treatment did sometimes die, as the dehydrating effects of the oil-induced diarrhea often complicated their recovery from the nightstick beatings they also received along with the castor oil; however, even those victims who survived had to bear the humiliation of the laxative effects resulting from excessive consumption of the oil.

Castor Oil Safety Precautions

The castor seed containsricin, a toxiclectin. Heating during the oil extraction process denatures and deactivates the lectin. Harvesting castor beans, though, may not be without risk.The International Castor Oil Association FAQ document states that castor beans contain an allergenic compound called CB1A. This chemical is described as being virtually nontoxic, but has the capacity to affect people with hypersensitivity. The allergen may be neutralized by treatment with a variety of alkaline agents. The allergen is not present in the castor oil itself.

Many people use castor oil to treat a variety of concerns, either by ingesting the oil or applying it to the skin.

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Although castor oil is generally considered safe, it can cause adverse reactions and unwanted side effects in some people.

If you’re interested in using castor oil, it’s important to keep the following potential side effects in mind:

  • Labor.Medical professionals sometimes usecastor oil to induce labor in pregnant people. For this reason, people at all stages of pregnancy should avoid consuming castor oil.
  • Gastrointestinal (GI) side effects. While it can be an effective way to alleviate constipation, castor oil may cause GI side effects, like diarrhea, vomiting, cramping, and bloating. It may also cause dizziness. Only use it for constipation under medical supervision.
  • Allergic reactions. It may cause an allergic reaction in some people when applied to the skin. First try applying a small amount to a tiny patch of skin to see how your body reacts

Additionally, people with certain health conditions — including appendicitis, gastrointestinal obstruction, bowel perforation, andinflammatory bowel disease (IBD) — should avoid stimulative laxatives like castor oil because they could cause serious side effects

In general, you should not consume castor oil to treat any medical condition or symptoms, especially in high doses, unless advised by a physician. Misuse of any laxative, including castor oil, can be dangerous and lead to life threatening electrolyte and acid-base imbalances.

If you’re interested in using castor oil to treat any health condition, including constipation, be sure to get advice from a trusted healthcare professional first

Castor oil can cause side effects, such as allergic reactions and diarrhea, in some people. It can also induce labor, so pregnant people should avoid it.

Health Benefits and Uses of Castor Oil

Here are potential benefits and uses of castor oil. We also cover its use as a hair treatment and precautions to consider.

A Power Laxative

People use castor oil as a natural remedy for occasional constipation. It’s approved by the FDA as a stimulative laxative. However, it can cause side effects, like cramping and diarrhea, and you should not use it to treat chronic constipation.

To get rid of moles and cysts

Applying castor oil with a pinch of baking soda on the infected area is known to give the desired result. In fact, topical application of castor oil also solves the problem of cysts and corns by dissolving them. It is also said that castor oil helps dissolve cysts in the ovary as the fatty acid in castor oil is easily absorbed by the skin.

A Natural Moisturizer

Some people apply castor oil to wounds to promote healing. Often it’s mixed with other medicinal ingredients, like Peru balsam, for this purpose. Castor oil can help lock moisture in the skin. Though this natural alternative to store-bought products is considered safe for most, it can cause allergic reactions or irritation in some people.

Heals dry, irritated, sun-burnt or acne-prone skin

Want to get rid of acne forever? Here is the solution, use castor oil. The ricinoleic acid found in castor oil makes it a great natural home remedy for fighting acne. It penetrates deep into the skin and fights bacteria overgrowth that can clog pores. It softens and hydrates irritated skin at the same time. It also works to solve deeper issues causing breakouts, like an unhealthy balance of bacteria within the gut and hormonal imbalances.

Lowers symptoms of arthritis

From ancient times castor oil is used as a natural treatment for arthritis pain, inflammation and joint pain. Castor oil has natural anti-inflammatory properties that makes it an ideal massage oil that can be applied on aching muscles and joints. You can try massaging the affected area with castor oil followed by hot water pack. If you follow this practice for a week you will feel the pain getting reduced in sometime.

May Promote Wound Healing

Applying castor oil to wounds creates a moist environment that may help promote healing and prevent sores from drying out.

Venelex, a popular ointment used in clinical settings to treat wounds, contains a mixture of castor oil and Peru balsam, a balm derived from theMyroxylon balsamum tree

Venelex is used as a wound dressing for chronic and acute wounds andskin ulcers, including :

  • pressure ulcers
  • diabetic ulcers
  • burns
  • surgical wounds

It helps reduce odors, protect wounds, and create a moist environment to promote healing

May be helpful for cleaning and storing dentures

Several studies have shown that castor oil may help reduce harmful bacteria and fungi in dentures and may help improve symptoms related to a condition called denture stomatitis, which can cause inflammation in the mouth.

Boosts circulation

Immunity and proper blood flow go hand in hand. If your lymphatic system does not work, you will become chronically ill. The circulatory system is crucial to keep us alive by bringing oxygen to our cells. Castor oil has been shown to help in blood flow. To induce labour: A lot of pregnant women at full term are orally given castor oil, as it induces labour by pushing uterus contraction, according to gynaecologists. The ricinoleic acid in the oil activates EP3 prostanoid receptor in uterus, thus helping in delivery. However, it is not recommended in a lot of cases, as it makes the woman feel nauseous.

Can castor oil support hair growth and scalp health?

Many people use castor oil as a naturalhair treatment. This is because castor oil has moisturizing properties, which could help lubricate the hair shaft, increasing flexibility and decreasing the chance of breakage. Even though some people regularly use castor oil as part of their hair care routine, there’s currently no scientific evidence that castor oil helps promote hair health, stimulateshair growth, or reduces hair loss.Although many people use castor oil to moisturize their hair and scalp, there’s currently no evidence that castor oil has any benefits for hair health.

To treat joint pains

Castor oil is known for treating arthritis, its anti-inflammatory properties make it an ideal massage oil for relieving joint pain, nerve inflammation and sore muscles. Massaging the joint with castor oil and placing a hot water bag helps in pain relief. In cases of arthritis, this process if repeated twice a week will ensure better results.

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FAQs

What are the uses and benefits of castor oil? ›

Castor oil is most commonly used as a laxative. But castor oil's natural antiviral and antimicrobial properties make it a popular treatment for skin problems known as dermatosis as well as fungal infections. It's also used for hair growth.

What is castor oil used to treat? ›

Castor oil is used to treat constipation. It may also be used to clean out the intestines before a bowel examination/surgery. Castor oil is known as a stimulant laxative. It works by increasing the movement of the intestines, helping the stool to come out.

What happens if you use castor oil everyday? ›

Many hair care experts recommend using castor oil no more than once a week. Using it more frequently than that can cause buildup and lead to issues like matting. There are no exact guidelines for how long you should leave castor oil on your hair.

Is castor oil anti-inflammatory? ›

The ricinoleic acid in castor oil works as an anti-inflammatory and is an analgesic agent which helps relieve pain.

Can I use castor oil on my face? ›

Castor oil is generally regarded as safe. However, some people may have an allergic reaction to castor oil. It's best to test castor oil on a small area of your skin 24 hours before applying it to your face.

Is castor oil good for private parts? ›

Not only is castor oil used locally on pelvic floor scar tissue to treat painful sex after childbirth, but it is also helpful for alleviating pain and restrictions caused by injuries and accidents in the groin, genital confirmation surgeries, prostatectomy, hysterectomy, circumcision, and chest and breast surgeries.

What are the side effects of castor oil? ›

Side effects of castor oil include:
  • dizziness.
  • abdominal cramps.
  • diarrhea.
  • nausea.
  • electrolyte disturbance.
  • low blood pressure.
  • pelvic congestion.

Can you drink castor oil? ›

Castor oil is a liquid that you take by mouth. It's typically taken during the day because it works quickly. The dose of castor oil used to treat constipation in adults is 15 milliliters. To mask the taste, try putting the castor oil in the fridge for at least an hour to cool it.

Can castor oil remove dark spots? ›

Gently massage castor oil to your brown spots, leave it on for a few hours and rinse twice a day to make them slowly fade away. After a few applications, castor oil can also help even out your skin tone making your face appear brighter and younger.

Can I leave castor oil overnight? ›

There's no right or wrong way to apply castor oil to your hair—some people like to leave it on overnight, while others like to massage it into their scalp. The best method for you totally depends on your hair type and concerns.

How long does it take for castor oil to work? ›

How long does it take castor oil to work? Castor oil typically causes a bowel movement to occur in 2 to 3 hours. However, it may take up to 6 hours to work for some people. Due to the delayed effects of castor oil, avoid taking it before bedtime.

Can castor oil regrow hair? ›

The tl;dr: no. "Castor oil will not grow hair," says Perry Romanowski, a cosmetic chemist and the author of Beginning Cosmetic Chemistry. "There is no evidence for it and no scientific theory supporting that it would work. So yes, it's a total myth."

Is castor oil good for knee pain? ›

The present study indicates that castor oil can be used as an effective therapy in primary knee osteoarthritis.

Which is the best oil for joint pain? ›

Here's what some small studies found:
  • Black cumin. Older people rubbed black cumin oil into their achy knees 3 times a day for 3 weeks. ...
  • Eucalyptus. People who breathed in eucalyptus oil had less pain and lower blood pressure after total knee replacement.
  • Frankincense and myrrh. ...
  • Ginger. ...
  • Lavender. ...
  • Lemongrass.
Aug 5, 2022

Is castor oil good for urine infection? ›

If it is too painful to urinate using the toilet, try urinating in a tub of warm water. Add 5 to 10 drops of lavender oil to 1/4 cup castor oil. Massage into your flank (the back of your waist, toward the groin) where you're feeling pain. Cover with a flannel and top with a heating pad.

Does castor oil help with wrinkles? ›

Castor oil contains fatty acids that have moisturizing, skin health-enhancing, and antioxidant properties. These fatty acids may also help minimize wrinkles. Castor oil also has emollient properties known to help improve your skin's texture and healthy appearance.

Does castor oil tighten skin? ›

Castor oil acts as a lubricant and is beneficial for preventing sagging skin. It doesn't let the skin become dry and helps to tighten loose skin. It should be done in combination with toning exercises and a well-balanced diet. Massage castor oil directly onto the skin daily.

Does castor oil whiten skin? ›

Castor oil is a natural oil that helps make your skin radiant and removes all the dark spots. It even benefits in getting rid of acne and skin inflammations issues. Castor oil lightens the dark spots and slowly helps to fade them away.

What are the disadvantages of castor oil? ›

Some people may be allergic to the castor plant and experience itching, swelling, or rashes when using castor oil. Ingesting too much castor oil can cause nausea, cramps, dizziness, and muscle weakness. Use it as advised by your doctor and don't take it on an empty stomach.

Does castor oil grow hair? ›

The tl;dr: no. "Castor oil will not grow hair," says Perry Romanowski, a cosmetic chemist and the author of Beginning Cosmetic Chemistry. "There is no evidence for it and no scientific theory supporting that it would work. So yes, it's a total myth."

What happens to your body when you drink castor oil? ›

6. Acts as a Laxative to Relieve Constipation. Castor oil works like a natural, mild stimulant laxative when taken orally. It can help to treat constipation, reduce straining during defecation and enhance the feeling of complete evacuation after a bowel movement.

Can castor oil remove dark spots? ›

Gently massage castor oil to your brown spots, leave it on for a few hours and rinse twice a day to make them slowly fade away. After a few applications, castor oil can also help even out your skin tone making your face appear brighter and younger.

What happens when we put castor oil in belly button? ›

12/13Lessens joint pains and aches

Joint pain and body aches become common as you age and it can take a toll on your regular life. Massaging the belly button regularly with oils like castor oil and rosemary oil can relieve the symptoms and manage your pain better.

Can I leave castor oil on my face overnight? ›

Can I leave castor oil on my face overnight? No. Avoid leaving castor oil on your face overnight. It may clog the skin pores and may also cause allergic reactions.

Does castor oil help with wrinkles? ›

Castor oil contains fatty acids that have moisturizing, skin health-enhancing, and antioxidant properties. These fatty acids may also help minimize wrinkles. Castor oil also has emollient properties known to help improve your skin's texture and healthy appearance.

How long do I leave castor oil in my hair? ›

Leave the oil in for a minimum of 15-20 minutes. You could also leave it on overnight. You will need to shampoo multiple times to get rid of the oil. You may also condition your hair with a commercial conditioner 30 minutes before you take a shower.

What oil grows hair fast? ›

Castor oil is the best oil for hair growth. It keeps your hair moisturized and helps in better blood circulation to the scalp. Castor oil can be mixed with some another lighter oil to improve its thick density.

Can I leave castor oil in my hair overnight? ›

Give castor oil some time to weave its magic Ideally, you should allow castor oil to sit on your scalp and in your hair for at least for half an hour. In fact, you can even leave it on overnight, washing it the next morning. This will give the oil ample time to do its work.

Can I drink castor oil everyday? ›

Like any stimulant laxative, castor oil shouldn't be taken in the long term. Over time, it can reduce the muscle tone in your intestines and lead to chronic constipation.

Is castor oil good for knee pain? ›

The present study indicates that castor oil can be used as an effective therapy in primary knee osteoarthritis.

How long does it take for castor oil to work? ›

How long does it take castor oil to work? Castor oil typically causes a bowel movement to occur in 2 to 3 hours. However, it may take up to 6 hours to work for some people. Due to the delayed effects of castor oil, avoid taking it before bedtime.

Can I use castor oil under my eyes? ›

According to Hayag, castor oil is generally considered to be safe to use around the eye area. “Despite this, some people have reported allergies and irritation, so it's always best to take precaution and do a patch test first, especially considering that skin surrounding the eyes is quite sensitive,” she says.

Does castor oil whiten skin? ›

Castor oil is a natural oil that helps make your skin radiant and removes all the dark spots. It even benefits in getting rid of acne and skin inflammations issues. Castor oil lightens the dark spots and slowly helps to fade them away.

Is castor oil good for under eye bags? ›

The active agents of castor oil can help to heal and protect the delicate skin under your eyes, which can decrease the appearance of wrinkles and dark circles. Along with improved circulation, the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of castor oil can improve the way the skin under your eyes looks.

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