Castor Oil

Castor Oil

What is Castor Oil?

Probably you have heard of the name castor oil. Castor oil is a pale yellow liquid collected from the castor oil seeds derived from a tropical bean plant for decades, the oil is deemed as a constipation remedy, but it can be used for cosmetic and health purposes although few scientific studies have demonstrated adverse impacts associated with the oil. The oil is dominantly found in castor seed with 0.27% and 0.03% seen in cottonseed and soybean respectively. Castor seed plant is native in India though, Egyptians are among the first people to try the use of the oil.


Castor oil with an unpleasant, nauseating taste; is a triglyceride, composed of fatty acids with 90% of which is ricinoleic acid. The acid makes the oil effective in its functions.

Average composition of castor seed oil/fatty acid chains

Acid name Average Percentage Range
Ricinoleic acid 85–95
Oleic acid 2–6
Linoleic acid 1–5
α-Linolenic acid 0.5–1
Stearic acid 0.5–1
Palmitic acid 0.5–1
Dihydroxy stearic acid 0.3–0.5
Others 0.2– 0.5


  • Pregnant women should avoid usage castor oil orally as no safe information about users is yet documented.
  • When pregnant women facing labor induction problems want to use castor oil to stimulate labor pain, they should first consult their doctors as the oil can cause harm to both the baby and mother.
  • Although castor oil is highly efficient, it’s not recommended for use on the face too often as it can block pores and lead to breakouts.
  • Always test the oil at the back of your hand to make sure you are not allergic.


Castor oil is full of unsaturated fatty acids which are believed to make it viable for use for medical purposes. It can be applied both externally and internally as a remedy for various medical conditions.

Skin Benefits

Castor oil penetrates the deep into your skin, softens and hydrates it. Additionally, the oil helps in the production of elastin and collagen; these are helpful in the showing of lines and wrinkles on your skin thus making it look youthful. In case of skin dryness, the oil is mixed with coconut oil in the ratio of 1:1 and then applied on your skin. With repeated applications, the oil will make your skin softer making the dryness disappears.

Hair Benefits

In case of hair, the oil is a powerful medicine to hair loss and thickening of eye hair lashes. The oil is rich in minerals, vitamins, fatty acids, omega fatty acids that aid in rejuvenating your hair and scalp. It’s anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties help in the prevention of infection of the scalp and dandruff. The oil furthermore contains omega fatty acids that aid makes your hair healthy and thicker by providing the required nutrients for growth of your hair.

Health Benefits

Fungal Effects

Castor oil contains undecylenic acid which is a very effective compound in combating ringworm infection.

Labour Induction

Castor oil has a potential for stimulation of labor pain. But caution is required before ingestion as it can cause harm to both you and the baby.

Immune Benefits

Castor oil is good medicine for people with lymph problems; the oil is known to stimulate your body’s lymphatic system dealing with removal of metabolic wastes from your system.

Tumor Effects

People developing primary tumor growths can place a castor oil pack on their tumor. The oil pack will reduce the appearance of the tumor on your body.

Other Uses

The oil is the alternative remedy in case of constipation. It is a useful laxative, and it provides temporary relief to diarrhea and constipation.

Side Effects

  • The potent toxin ricin is obtained from a protein found in castor seed oil. If ingested the protein stops protein synthesis, which kills the cells.
  • Castor oil side effects are categorized into skin reactions and gastrointestinal upsets. In the small intestine, the ricinoleic acid is broken down; it acts as an irritant to your intestinal lining. This effect enables the oil to reverse constipation, but some people have reported digestive discomfort, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal side effects.