Although there are several varieties of the castor plant that has different uses of castor oil, they are all known for their lush foliage and unique coloration. Ideal climates for cultivation include the Ethiopian region of Africa and other warm, tropical areas. The castor plant can also be found in abundance in the southwest region of the United States. It requires little care and prefers growing along bottom land, rivers, and streams where the soil is moist and rich. An annual, the castor plant can grow as tall as fifteen feet in one season. The seeds, where castor oil originates, contain a toxic enzyme called ricin and should be avoided in raw form by children and animals. Fortunately, this poison is deactivated during the heating process involved in making castor oil.
Benefits of castor oil features a variety of amazing applications useful in supporting overall health. Several key cosmetic and therapeutic applications include:
Castor oil benefits for skin
SKIN—Rich in ricinoleic acid (a monounsaturated fatty acid), castor oil is considered a humectant, or fat that retains moisture and prevents water loss from the outermost layer of the skin. It provides a wonderful, cost-friendly alternative to moisturizers found on the market—almost all of which contain potentially harmful preservatives and dyes that irritate the skin. Castor oil is also one of the best known oils for reducing the appearance of stretch marks due to weight gain or pregnancy. Its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties can be used to draw out excess oils, dirt, dead skin, and bacteria which cause acne, a common condition in teens and young adults that can have a devastating impact on self-esteem. Castor oil benefits for skin are huge, it is also excellent for helping to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, and for promoting a smooth, uniform complexion. Ringworm, a common skin condition caused by a fungus, can also be improved using this pure oil. In affected individuals, castor oil acts as an anti-fungal, killing the infection and minimizing the risk of recurrence. The natural fatty acids abundant in castor oil have been scientifically proven to help stimulate the lymphatic system—a vital component in preventing scarring and reducing the appearance of existing imperfections. It is relatively safe to use but castor oil side effects may include rashes, irritation or itchiness. However, If it causes irritation or any reaction after applying onto the skin it is advisable not to use it any further and consult a doctor.
Castor oil benefits for hair
HAIR – Castor oil is ideal for use as a natural conditioner and hair-growth stimulant. An intense moisturizer, it can help gently re-condition a dry, weather-beaten scalp, treat dry hair or split ends, and because of its ability to reduce inflammation, can help reduce dandruff. Certain varieties—including Jamaican Black castor oil—have become popular for supporting thicker, healthier, and shinier hair. It has also been known to thicken eyebrows and lengthen eyelashes because of its vitamin and mineral-rich composition, which nurtures and revitalizes hair from the follicle up. When used in proper doses, and especially in select shampoos and conditioners, castor oil is safe for daily use and for all hair types to enjoy maximum benefits for hair. However, it should be noted that the length it is left in the hair prior to rinsing may vary depending upon intended purpose and result.