Botanical Name: Ricinus communis
Family Name: Euphorbiaceae
Common Name: Castor oil, castor oil plant, castor bean plant, Mexico seed, Bofareira, oil plant, Pakma Christi, Pei-ma
Part used: Seed
Specific Gravity: 0.959
Refractive Index: 1.4674
Optical Rotation: 3.50 to 6.00
Blends well with: Carrier oil used most frequently when mixed with essential oil for aromatherapy purposes are sweet almond oil, sunflower oil and olive oil.
Castor oil is an age old beauty treatment product and has natural antibacterial and antifungal properties. The oil is rich in Vitamin E, minerals, proteins and Omega 6 and 9 fatty acids. The oil is used topically for acne and other skin conditions like rashes and for hair loss and more. When used on the scalp it helps to prevent hair loss and is beneficial against dandruff and scalp infections. Keratin which is present in the oil makes the hair stronger, smoother and less curly.
Countries where it is found:
Castor is found widespread in the tropical regions and it is native to the southeastern Mediterranean region, East Africa and India. It is widely grown as an ornamental plant also apart from using its oil.
Ricinus communis grows widespread in tropical climate countries and is a native to the Mediterranean basis, East Africa and India. The plant is of invasive nature and can often be found on wasteland also. The plant is grown as a decorative plant also and it grows to height of 2 to 3 meters if the temperature is around 200C. It can grow in cooler climate like in south England and if it is a sheltered place there are no chances of it getting frost damage.
History of Plant:
The plant was widely used in the parks of Toronto, Ontario, and other places of Canada during the Edwardian times. The plant grows wild in South California. The castor seeds is said to have been found in Egyptian tombs dating back to the 4000 BC. It was widely used for burning lamps as it was slow burning. The Greeks used it for lighting lamps, as body ointments and improving hair growth and texture. It is believed that Cleopatra used it to brighten the white of her eyes. Ancient Egyptian described Castrol oil as a laxative also. The use of the oil in India has been documented since 2000 BC in lamps and as local medicine as a laxative, purgative and cathartic in Unani, Ayurveda and other medical systems. The oil is said to have been used for treating arthritis and given to children as medicine for de-worming. It is widely used in China also for centuries.
Extraction of oil is done in a similar manner to that for most oil seeds. The first stage of extraction is pre-pressing using high pressure screw press called expeller. The extracted oil is then filtered and the material removed from the oil is fed back into the stream along with the fresh material. The castor cake contains 8-10% oil and this is crushed and solvent extraction is done with heptanes to extract further oil.
Commonly Known Benefits:
It is widely used to induce labor from ancient times. The oil starts working as soon as it reached the bowels and many women use it to induce labor. The contraction usually starts 1-3 hours after taking the oral dose of the oil