What is Castor Oil?
Castor oil is extracted from the seeds of the Castor oil plant (ricinus communis). The seeds produce 1/4 of their weight in oil. The extracted oil is pale yellow and transparent. It has little taste or smell, and causes a slight burning in the throat when swallowed on its own.
When handling Castor oil, be sure to protect your clothing or bedding from drips as Castor oil can stain fabric irreversibly (although Arm & Hammer washing soda may help remove castor oil stains).
In Spanish, Castor oil is called Aceite de Ricino or Aceite de Castor. In India, where the plant is native, it is called Erand Oil (Velakennai in Tamil). It is known as Kharwa in Arabic. In China, it is known as Ma Hong Liang. It is known as Minyak Jarak in Indonesia.
Castor Oil use through the ages
There is evidence that it was cultivated in England as early as 1562 but Castor oil use goes back even further. In ancient Rome, the Castor oil plant was also called the Palma Christi, or the hand of Christ. 4,000 year-old Castor bean seeds have been discovered in Egyptian tombs. Historical documents reveal that Castor oil was used medicinally in Egypt, India, and China as well as Persia, Africa, Greece and Rome.
The Healing Properties of Castor Oil
While the Castor bean contains toxins that makes it poisonous, the expressed oil only has trace amounts of those toxins. So when Castor oil is taken internally or ingested, it causes purgative (laxative) effects instead of poisoning the body.
When used externally (rubbed into the skin), Castor oil is able to penetrate deeper than any other essential plant oil. Rubbing Castor oil on the skin can relieve pain, reduce inflammation, detoxify the body and boost lymphatic circulation.
Castor oil also contains ricinoleic acid, a very unusual fatty acid that can be found only in Castor beans and ergot (a fungus). Ricinoleic acid inhibits the growth of many bacteria, viruses, molds and yeasts. This is why Castor oil has been known to work well on acne as well as other skin conditions like ringworm, keratoses, scars, and fungal infections. Many ailments can be cured with Castor Oil – but skepticism abounds
Castor Oil has many medicinal uses, including constipation (when taken internally), relief from pain, inflammation and stomach problems. It also has cosmetic uses and has been said to restore a youthful glow, and maintain smooth and supple skin.
Unfortunately, Castor oil’s humble nature and its long list of medicinal uses generally cause people to view it with skepticism. It is also virtually unknown within the medical community or dismissed as a poison, which is unfortunate because so many take their cue from those folks in white coats. I personally think it is far too long that we have equated skepticism and cynicism with intelligence. There is much more to healing than what science can adequately explain.