Castor oil is being used since ancient time and is a vegetable oil with a wide range of applications.

It is one of the oldest drugs having laxative effect which induces labor in pregnant females.

It has diverse application in cosmetic and medical industries.

Castor oil

Castor oil is a vegetable oil obtained by pressing the seeds of the castor oil plant (Ricinus communis L.). Castor oil seed contains about 30%–50% oil.

It produced from castor seeds, has long been considered to be of important commercial value primarily for the manufacturing of soaps, lubricants, and coatings, among others.

India is known as the world leader in castor seed and oil production and the major exporter to different countries worldwide.

Chemical analysis of castor oil shows the presence of different phytochemicals flavonoids, phenolic compounds, fatty acids, amino acids, terpenoids, phytosterol etc.

These compounds exhibit different biologicals activities such as anti-conceptive, anti-diabetic, anti-fertility, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, antioxidant, hepatoprotective, insecticidal and wound-healing.

The effects of castor oil are mediated by ricinoleic acid, a hydroxylated fatty acid released from castor oil by intestinal lipases.

Castor oil has a variety of applications in the chemical industry.

Viscosity (centistokes) 889.3
Density (g/mL) 0.959
Thermal conductivity (W/m°C) 4.727
Specific heat (kJ/kg/K) 0.089
Flash point (°C) 145
Pour point (°C) 2.7
Melting point (°C) −2 to −5
Refractive index 1.480

Pharmacological and medicinal application of castor oil

Castor oil is traditionally used for abdominal disorders, arthritis, backache, muscle aches, chronic backache and sciatica, chronic headache, constipation, expulsion of placenta, gallbladder pain, period pain, menstrual cramps, rheumatism, sleeplessness, and insomnia. 

Some of the current health benefits of castor oil are,

  • A Natural laxative- Castor oil is well known as a powerful laxative and is often administered orally to induce diarrhea. It also induces labor in pregnant females.
  • A Natural Moisturizer- It has significant benefit for face and skin. It enhance smoothness and softness when applied to facial skin. It also moisturizes the skin by keeping it hydrated. It also prevent skin wrinkling.
  • Reduces Acne- It is helpful in treatment of Acne.
  • In modern-day medicine, castor oil is also used as a drug delivery vehicle.
  • Modified products of castor oil is often used as an excipient or additive in drugs industries.
  • It is also used to form stable emulsions of nonpolar materials in various aqueous systems. 

Industrial applications of castor oil

Castor oil has wide range of industrial application. Some of the applications are,

  • For fuel and biodiesel
  • Making the polymer materials
  • Application in Soaps, waxes, and greases industries
  • For making lubricants, hydraulic, and brake fluids
  • For coatings in the painting industries.

How to castor oil 

  • For healthy skin and hair, castor oil can be missed with carrier oils such as coconut, almond and olive oil in 1:1 ratio.
  • For laxative purpose it can be directly taken orally with lukewarm water.

Take-home message

It can be used as a natural laxative and labor inducer. Good for promoting overall skin health.

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides a general information only. It is in no way a substitute for trained medical practitioner opinion. Always consult a specialist or your doctor for more information. We do not claim any obligation for this information.

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