Castor Oil

Castor oil is a pale yellowish vegetable oil that is obtained by pressing the seeds of Ricinus communis plant, which derives its name from the common name "castor oil". Perhaps the name castor oil has been derived from its use as a substitute for castoreum, which is basically a perfume base prepared from the beaver's dehydrated perineal glands (called castor in Latin).

Castor oil as well as its various derivates is employed for manufacturing lubricants, soaps, hydraulic fluids, dyes, paints, ink, waxes, coatings, polishes, perfumes, resistant plastics, pharmaceuticals, nylon and many other things.

Obtained from the castor beans or seeds of Ricinus communis (castor plant), castor oil is a dense, golden-hued liquid and does not have any aroma or odour. It is worth noting here that although the castor seeds are referred to as castor beans, they are not true beans. The concentration of castor oil's color is subject to the degree of refinement. While the colorless varieties of castor oil are most refined, the less refined varieties have different hues of golden yellow. Almost 50 percent of castor beans comprise oil and these beans are mainly harvested in India and China. Castor oil is reasonably priced, but its harvesting is rather difficult as well as hazardous. This is mainly because the surface of castor beans is covered with specific naturally occurring toxic chemicals.

A rare and exceptional fatty acid known as ricinoleic acid is found in castor oil. This particular fatty acid is basically an unsaturated fatty acid only contained by castor oil and found in a fungi group known as ergot. Ricinoleic acid is known to be extremely useful for our overall health. Castor oil offers several health benefits, which have made this natural oil among the most popular oils available in the market. According to experts, its benefits are second only to coconut oil and olive oil.

Available documents show that the ancient Egyptians had been using castor oil since several thousand years ago with a view to combat infections as well as to promote healthy hair growth. In addition, primitive people also used castor oil to preserve food, as this natural oil possesses potent antimicrobial properties. In India, castor oil has been a popular element of folk medicine and has been traditionally employed in the form of a laxative as well as to augment memory. Even to this day, castor oil has a vital role in Ayurveda, the ancient Indian medicine system, and has a number of therapeutic applications.

Uses for skin and hair care

Castor oil is most commonly used for skin care and promoting the health of hair. This vegetable oil possesses excellent emollient properties and is also wonderful humectants. This makes castor oil effective in helping the skin to retain moisture and also ensure that the hair remains soft, supple and smooth. All these attributes of castor oil suggest that it is wonderful oil for diminishing the appearance of scars and wrinkles.

Castor oil contains certain nutrients that go deep down into the skin and nurture the hair roots, thereby promoting hair growth. This is one reason why a number of popular skin and hair care products contain castor oil as a main ingredient. This is especially true for hair care products meant for treating thinning hair and baldness. Products used for enhancing the appearance as well as condition of existing hair also use castor oil. In addition, castor oil possesses excellent anti-inflammatory and soothing properties, which makes this natural oil perfect for treating minor skin irritations and conditions like sunburn.

Aside from the above mentioned properties, castor oil is also anti-bacterial and anti-viral. A potent anti-fungal agent, ricinoleic acid is a major constituent of castor oil. Therefore, it is not surprising that many anti-fungal medications contain castor oil, which is an automatic option for treating fungal skin infections like ringworm, athlete's feet and other viral skin afflictions like warts.

If you desire your skin to have a youthful glow, you can directly apply castor oil to your skin. In fact, several people are not aware of the fact that castor oil is effective for preventing as well as getting rid of wrinkles and even stretch marks, especially for pregnant women. Rubbing castor oil onto the skin can aid in enhancing the elasticity of the skin as well as preventing stretch marks due to pregnancy.

If you are losing hair rapidly and have grown bald patches on your scalp, it is advisable that you massage a few drops of castor oil on the area directly for roughly 6 minutes daily, as doing this will help in promoting normal hair growth. This approach is also effective for growing denser hair. Moreover, you can also massage castor oil on your eyebrows, as it will help to grow thicker eyebrows. Massaging only a few drops of this natural oil onto your eyebrows for some minutes every day will do wonders to your eyebrows.