Castor oil is a popular oil despite all its warnings and the side effects it causes if consumed in large doses. But is castor oil a carrier oil that we can safely use in Aromatherapy? Does it have a lot more benefits that can counteract with its down points?
I will talk about all the good and the bad aspects of the castor oil in this article. I’ll bring them to light so you can make an informed decision from now on. It would be a shame to stop using it without knowing all the facts. Especially since it’s so great in strengthening the hair and nails. Not to mention that it can treat acne too.
Further down this article I will give you a few great tips and tricks on how to use castor oil for your nails, skin and hair. I’ve also compiled 5 great castor oil recipes for you to try right away.
While I was growing up I wanted my hair to really shine and my eyelashes to be long and curly. So, my mother would always suggest I used castor oil.
And so I did, without overstepping the recommended dose or treatment. But that was usually a very small amount anyway.
Castor oil is widely used in cosmetics, but also as a food additive. As a food additive we can find it under the name of E1503. Castor oil is also a part of the emulsifier called E476.
Besides these two industries, castor oil is also used in the manufacturing of the varnishes and dyes. And the manufacturing of fibers and leather treatments.
Did You Know?
- When it first became popular, castor oil was known as “the Palm of Christ”. Because its leaves looked a lot like Christ’s hands.
Is Castor Oil a Carrier Oil? Properties and Benefits
Botanical name: Ricinus communis
Texture: Very thick and sticky.
Fragrance: It has a distinct and strong smell only when its leaves are crushed. Much of it fades away after being extracted and kept out in the open. However you can still smell it after opening a new bottle.
Castor oil is extracted from the castor beans. The castor plant grows in tropical climate. It’s often used to decorate pools or gardens because of their exotic appearance. Castor oil is cold pressed and squeezed out of the castor beans and then refined to remove all its toxins.
Castor oil as a carrier oil is not very popular in essential oils blends because it’s very thick. And because it leaves a sticky feeling and can stain the clothes.
But used on its own can also have lots of benefits and do your skin, hair and nails a lot of good.
Castor oil has medicinal properties and some people use it under the form of poultices. These medicinal properties come from the toxic nature of the oil. The toxic ricin can disinfect and kill germs and viruses.
Castor oil as a carrier oil contains:
- Ricinoleic acid (around 90%) or also known as undecylenic acid. And linoleic and oleic acids.
- Vitamin E and omega 6.
What are the benefits of castor oil as a carrier oil?
- It can detoxify the skin and protect it from all external factors. Such as cold or heat. And all because it’s a very thick oil that can retain moisture inside the outer layer of the skin (the epidermis).
- The undecylenic acid kills germs and bacteria. This is why Castor oil is so useful against acne.
- It’s very effective in getting you rid of moles or warts. And it can also treat wrinkles.
- With castor oil there is now a cure for very dry and rough, cracked skin, especially on the heels. Castor oil is very rich and nourishing.
- Castor oil has a shelf life of 1 year, if all storage conditions are met (dark, cool places).
- It can also help improving skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema. It usually cleanses the skin from bacteria and stops the inflammation and dryness of the skin.
- Castor oil is exceptional for hair and nails. It can visibly make them stronger and healthier.
After all the above mentioned benefits and properties, is castor oil a carrier oil? The fact that it’s a bean and has fatty parts to extract the oil from makes Castor oil a carrier oil.
It wouldn’t be my first choice for making my essential oils blends because it’s too thick. I’d rather use the olive oil which is a bit lighter and very nutritious, and full of benefits as well.
But most certainly I’ll continue using it on its own for hair and eyelashes.
Did You Know?
- Castor oil was used during the WWII until 1980. It was used as a lubricant for all engines with internal combustion.
Some of the Best Castor Oil Recipes, Tips and Tricks
Is castor oil a carrier oil that can really make the hair and nails look better? Studies show that it is a great moisturizer. It is also nourishing because of its ability to retain moisture inside the skin or hair.
Castor oil can:
- Nourish the hair and nails. They’re both made from keratin, which can be found in the skin as well.
- Keep the dry scalp moisturized. And treat severe dandruff problems.
- Thicken and soften the hair and nails. And prevents split ends.
- Treat blemishes and serious acne. Because of the undecylenic acid, it can deeply cleanse and detoxify the skin, killing the bacteria that cause acne.
- Blend well with essential oils. Essential oils can complement the properties of this carrier oil. Or they can work in synergy. That way they can deliver a very potent treatment.
- Be used in a maximum proportion of 10% in all recipes. It is usually blended with other carrier oils like coconut, jojoba or argan. Just to lighten its texture and make it less sticky.
- Be used to treat hairline issues. A daily massage of the hairline with castor oil can remove all dead cells. And improve the circulation of the blood in the area. All that treatment can help the hair grow.
Tips and Tricks for a Better Use of Castor Oil:
a) To get rid of those rough and seriously cracked heels – moist the heels first. Then apply castor oil and wrap them in a bandage. Put your socks on to keep the bandages tight. When you’ll wake up, the heels should be a lot softer.
b) To remove moles – all you have to do is mix a bit of castor oil with some baking soda and apply on the mole. Again wrap a bandage around it and wash off in the morning. You can repeat for several days, until the mole finally drops off on its own. I know people who’ve used this popular method and their moles really did come off in a few days.
c) To make your lashes look longer and thicker – apply a bit of oil on your eyelashes with a clean mascara brush or a cotton pad. But remember it’s sticky and very thick. Wash off well in the morning. You can do so each night, before bed for a longer period of time. And leave on until morning.
d) To improve the aspect of dark circles – just apply a drop of castor oil as carrier oil under your eyes. Then gently massage it into the skin. Leave it on over the night and rinse in the morning as usual.
e) Is castor oil a carrier oil that can influence the mood of a person? It is said to influence kids’ behavior. Especially the more hyperactive ones.
Recipe #1: Strengthen Your Weak Nails with Castor Oil
- Wheat Germ oil: 1 tsp.
- Castor oil: 2 tsp.
- Salt: 2 tsp.
Mix all these ingredients well and keep the blend in a cool, dark place. Every time you use it shake well and apply on your nails and cuticles. Gently rub and massage the nails with the blend.
Leave it on for 5 minutes and then wash your hands to get rid of the oily residues.
- You can also massage your nails and cuticles with castor oil each night to prevent their breakage.
Recipe #2: Grow Your Hair Longer and Thicker
- Castor oil: 3 tbsp.
- Coconut oil: 1 tbsp.
- Clary Sage, Rosemary, Tea Tree or Lavender essential oils: 3-6 drops
Gently mix all the ingredients and keep in a cool, dark place.
Always shake the bottle with the blend before using it. Coat well your scalp and hair and leave it on for 30 – 60 minutes. Then shampoo your hair at least 3 times, until you’ve got all the oil residues out.
Recipe #3: Soothe the Arthritis Pain with Castor Oil
- Castor oil: 3 tbsp.
- Cedarwood: 2 drops.
This recipe requires heating up. Low heat the blend for maximum 3 minutes and then pour it on a cotton pad or a piece of cloth.
Then easily rub the area that’s bothering you. Be careful, it can be hot! If the area is already swollen or inflamed don’t use this poultice.
Otherwise, make sure you’ve covered the painful area with a dry cloth on top of the poultice. And keep it as warm as possible for at least 30 minutes but no more than one hour.
Recipe #4: Get Rid of Stomach Discomfort with Castor Oil Compresses
- Castor oil: 2 tbsp.
- Peppermint essential oil: 6 drops
Mix well the ingredients and then apply on a compress. Put the compress on your lower part of the belly and keep it on for 1 or 2 hours. To make sure it works faster, put on top of it a warm thermal pad (or a bottle of hot water).
To be used: no more than twice a day. This blend of oils will help relieving stomach pain, gas, bloating etc.
Recipe #5: Treat Severe Forms of Acne
- Castor oil: 2 tsp.
- Tea Tree essential oil: 5 drops
- Lavender essential oil: 5 drops
Mix well the blend and keep it stored in a dark, cool place. Shake it well before using and apply each night on all problem areas after a good cleansing.
Tea Tree and Castor oil are among the best disinfectants and antimicrobials. And Lavender will soothe the skin and help it recover faster.
What do you think? Is castor oil a carrier oil that’s able to help you get rid of acne, have shinier and stronger hair, or stronger nails? I have tried it on my hair and nails and it is indeed very good.
But of course, different people may react differently to the same oils or blends. So first make sure that you perform the allergy test on the soft interior of the elbow. If in 20 minutes you get no reaction, then you’re good to go.
Did You Know?
- The castor oil is so thick that it doesn’t freeze.
Is Castor Oil a Carrier Oil That’s Toxic? Side Effects and Warnings
Among other fatty acids, Castor oil contains ricinoleic acid! This acid is highly poisonous and it makes 90% of the castor bean.
Latest news in the study of ricinoleic acid reveal that Castor oil can help in the development of new and more pleasant drugs. That means without the severe side effects the ricin toxin causes when ingested.
Side Effects and Symptoms of Castor Oil Poisoning:
Some studies say that the lethal dose of chewed castor beans for an adult is somewhere between 6-8 beans. But even one bean can cause a lot of trouble to a person.
- Fever can occur in half hour after ingesting a bean.
- After 2 hours, a poisoned person may experience: stomach pains and burning sensations in the throat or mouth. Bloody diarrhea and severe purging are also among the symptoms of castor bean poisoning.
- If the poisoning hasn’t been treated, then death may occur within 3 to 5 days from the ingestion.
The ricin toxin is found only in the raw castor beans, which can be released through chewing or breaking. And if the oil has been extracted with care, then the ricin shouldn’t be found in the oil.
However, it is not recommended to swallow Castor oil. It is especially harmful for those who suffer from hemorrhoids, ulcers or irritable bowel syndrome.
People who have suffered recent surgeries are also asked to talk to a doctor first before using Castor oil.
- Castor oil is very high on the scale of allergy triggers. 10 out of 10 to be more precise.
Back in the days, Castor oil was given to children as a laxative or to treat just about any condition. It was considered that all health issues come from the stomach. One of the oldest books on herbal medicine states the many uses of Castor oil since ancient times.
And among those, there is also the fact that women used the oil as contraception method or to induce labor. Now, this is a widely discussed matter on many forums and blogs.
Some women used it to induce labor after their term was up. Even though doctors clearly prohibit any self-inducing labor actions.
Without medical expertise, using Castor oil to induce labor might seriously affect both the mother and the child. So it’s best if you’d first seek out medical attention if you’re looking for a birth without complications.
Yet, the oil has been referred to as generally “safe and effective” by the Food and Drug Administration.
Is castor oil a carrier oil that’s safe for internal consumption? Not really. As we can see there are lots of warnings and serious side effects. And let’s not forget we’re talking about the most poisonous plant that people know of.
So it’s safe to say you’re only to use it on the skin, hair and nails in very LOW doses! And always talk to a specialist before considering taking Castor oil internally.
Did You Know?
- Castor oil is used to waterproof and treat the leather soles of dance shoes.
What Is Black Castor Oil and What Is Its Connection With Normal Castor Oil?
Black Castor oil is also known as Jamaican Castor Oil, and it’s derived from the normal Castor oil. The black variety is different only through the manufacturing process.
During extraction, the manufacturers add some ash to give the oil its black color. That ash comes from the castor beans that have been roasted before.
So is the added ash safe? There are no conclusive studies on this variety of Castor oil. And since it is relatively new on the market of carrier oils, I’d say you do a thorough research before using it.
We know that if we want to remove a toxin from fruits like bitter almonds or castor beans, we can use heat. Heat kills toxins, and if the castor beans are first roasted, we could assume the ricin toxin is no longer there. But as I said, there are no studies yet to support or negate all its benefits.
In order to use Black Castor oil I’d say you’d have to completely trust the brand that produces the oil. Know exactly how the oil has been extracted and if they used any solvents to extract the residues.
Black Castor oil is widely used in the Caribbean region. And it is used just the same as the regular castor oil: for hair, nails and skin. But it seems that the fans of Black Castor oil find this variety more effective.
- Besides the black color, it also has a more pleasant smell than the traditional castor oil.
- It can soothe and treat scars and skin inflammations.
- Strengthens the baby hair and can also help revitalize the hair in general.
Is castor oil a carrier oil? We have gone through its extractions method and we have seen what makes it good and very good. But we have also seen what makes it toxic and why Castor oil has a bad reputation as well.
Castor oil is not banned because generally speaking it’s safe to use it in very low doses, on skin and hair applications. But that doesn’t mean we have to ignore its dangerous nature and use it the same way we’d use safe carrier oils.
What are your experiences with Castor oil? Have you ever tried the black variety as well?
Please let me know if you have any input on either of them, as we could all benefit from your advice. Plus, I’m very curious about what others think about Castor oil.