Common Name: Castor Oil
Latin Name: Ricinus communis
Intro: Castor Oil is a thick, pale yellow oil pressed from the fresh seeds of the Castor plant, which grows mostly in Africa and India, though can be found in most tropical climates. Though India is the largest producer of Castor Oil by far, accounting for almost 84% of global exports, you can find many other sources, including the unique Jamaican Black Castor Oil which is extracted after roasting, pounding and boiling the seeds, producing a dark oil from the ash.
The use of Castor seeds have been found in Egyptian tombs dating back as far as 4000 BC. It has been said that Cleopatra used it to brighten the whites of her eyes! Over the ages, it has been used as a “miracle cure” for everything from constipation, heartburn, leprosy, syphilis, inducing labour and even birth control! Because of all this, it gained the name “Palma Christi” or “Hand of Christ”
Growing up, castor oil was always a staple in our medicine cabinet. Most Jamaican households use castor oil as a folk remedy for helping with hair, scalp, skin and many other topical ailments. Later, during my herbal medicine studies, castor oil resurfaced as a potent anti-inflammatory for pain relief, potent drawing agent for ulcers, shrinking fibroids and for helping the liver to detox.
Castor OIl continues to be used around the world. We know now that its many benefits are due to its rich fatty acid profile. This combined with its analgesic, anti inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal benefits makes this oil a multi-purpose natural remedy powerhouse!
Parts Used: oil from the whole seed
Constituents: Ricinoleic Acid (90%), Oleic Acid, Linoleic Acid, a-Linolenic Acid, Stearic Acid, Palmitic Acids
Actions: Analgesic, anti inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal emollient and astringent
The Ricinoleic Acid, which composes almost 90% of Castor Oil is known to relieve muscle aches, joint pain, soothe itching, swelling and inflammation. Rubbed directly onto the affected area it can be used for arthritic joints like knee pain and tennis elbow.
Castor oil is also known to help clear congestion, boost circulation, and support the lymphatic system. It helps drain the body of any toxins that have built up over time. Massaging or using a castor oil pack on the liver helps with detoxification and can be part of a spring cleanse ritual.
Due to its anti-inflammatory and circulatory stimulating properties, castor oil is an effective treatment for cramping in the legs, varicose veins and plantar fascitis .
For bloating and constipation and is great used for baby massage for upset tummies, colic in and bloating. Its antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties make it also useful for rashes and rashes associated with yeast infections.
Lastly, castor oil's thick and emollient rich texture is packed full of essential fatty acid which helps soothe redness, puffiness and itching along with rejuvenating tissues and cells. It is healing to dry, chapped skin, and is a natural hair elixir; thickening hair and helping with growth.