If your grandma had ever forced you to drink castor oil for stomach pain, you may want to run away from the very sight of the bottle! But the oil is making a comeback as it has several uses and is easily available. HolisticZine explains how the oil can improve your health and also tells you the difference between regular and Jamaican black castor oil.
Did You Know?
A compound called ricin that is present in castor beans is 6,000 times more lethal than cyanide and 12,000 times more poisonous than rattlesnake venom. Even a small particle of ricin if ingested, can kill a healthy and strong person. Surprisingly, scientists have found that ricin can destroy cancer tumors without destroying the healthy cells. More research is needed for its use in cancer treatment.
Castor oil does not contain any amount of the poison named ricin (a dangerous water-soluble protein) that is present in castor beans. It is left in the mass (cake) that is formed after the oil extraction process. Chewing a seed or just being around the seeds with broken shells can prove to be deadly as the poison may enter into open wounds or eyes. This can lead to death of the person. Even a very small amount of poison can result in serious side effects. Not only children and adults, but animals are also susceptible to ricin poisoning.
Castor oil is a vegetable oil obtained by pressing castor beans. The plant Ricinus communis is widely grown for the oil in the tropical regions all over the world. The oil is not a miracle product of the twentieth century; it has been in use for thousands of years. Our ancestors used it as a fuel in wick lamps. It was used in facial and hair oils, and was an invariable part of beauty treatment since the days of the pioneers.
The oil obtained by just pressing the beans is called cold pressed oil as it does not involve any heating process. It gives 100% pure product as all nutrients present in the beans are retained in it. When certain chemicals and solvents are used to extract the oil, some nutrients are lost during the process, and you get an inferior product. Virgin castor oil is what you get after first cold pressing of the beans. It contains maximum nutrients like minerals and fatty acids. Subsequent pressing produces inferior-quality oil, which is not recommended for dietary use and beauty treatments. It is used as a lubricant in the automobile industry.
|Regular Castor Oil||Jamaican Black Castor Oil|
|It is 100% pure. It is obtained by just pressing the seeds.||Castor beans are first roasted, and then the oil is extracted from them. The oil is not 100% pure as it contains some amount of ash from the roasted beans. It is said that more the ash, more effective is the oil.|
|It can be colorless or pale yellow.||It is black as the name suggests.|
|It has a very thick consistency.||It is easier to apply as it is not as thick as the regular one. Thinner oil is absorbed by the scalp more quickly.|
|It can be used for face and body massage. It penetrates deep into the skin, kills bacteria, and makes the skin soft and smooth. As it keeps the skin moist and healthy, this is the best way to prevent dark circles under the eyes and wrinkles too.||You can use it for body massage and face cleansing. It is as effective as the regular one.|
|It can keep your hair moisturized and prevent them from splitting. Regular head massage can strengthen your hair and have a soothing effect on your brain. If you have very thin eyebrows, apply it on them and see the change.||It is mainly used as a natural hair care product. Regular use can help you get strong, thick, and long hair. You may apply it on eyebrows too. It works great for hair loss, thinning of hair, etc.|
|Uses in Cosmetics|
|It is present in several natural cosmetics like lip balms and glosses as it adds shine and moisture to dry lips. When added to mascaras, it promotes lash growth. It is used to manufacture soaps and perfumes.||It is also present in a number of hair and skin care products.|
|Other Significant Uses|
|The oil is applied to grains before storing them as it is one of the best natural mold inhibitors. It is used to manufacture ink, dyes, brake fluids, paints, coatings, polishes, wax, plastic, nylon, synthetic resins, rubber, fiber, sealants, leather treatment, etc. It is used in food additives, candies, etc.||It is also used in several industries, but it is more appropriate for skin and hair. It is more expensive than the regular one.|
|Excessive consumption can lead to diarrhea, abdominal cramps, pain, and weakness. Those who are allergic to it may develop rashes, itching sensation, dizziness and/or breathing difficulty. Pregnant women should not take it without consulting the doctor.||In case of excessive application on the face, facial hair may become more prominent.|
Fatty acids such as ricinoleate, oleate, and linoleate are present in castor beans are mainly responsible for the benefits mentioned above. Each vegetable oil has its specific uses, and it should be consumed in moderation to reap the health benefits.