Now, castor oil has evolved into something that functions much more than that. Because of its unique chemical properties, it has been known widely for its uses in food, in medicine and more significantly, in many industrial applications.
Castor Oil: Nature and Characteristics
Castor oil is nonvolatile fatty oil extracted from the seeds of the castor bean plant, scientifically named Ricinus communis. It has a clear, colorless to amber liquid appearance and a faint odor. Try tasting it and you will find that it has a bland, slightly acrid taste that can be nauseating afterwards.
Natural castor oil has the highest density compared to other oils. But what really sets it apart from other oils is its high ricinoleic acid content. This quality allows this oil to be combined with alcohol in any amount or concentration. It also produces castor oil derivatives that are popular because they are biodegradable, eco-friendly and renewable sources that can be used for various industries.
World’s Production of Castor Oil
The castor oil plant is a native of Africa and India, where it is known for its ancient Sanskrit names such as Eranda. India, together with Brazil, is considered the primary producer of castor beans and oil in the world, based on data from Encyclopedia Britannica. Some parts of Asia, Africa, and West Indies make up for the smaller percentage of the world’s castor bean crops. Meanwhile, the United States is the main industrial consumer of these products.
Uses of Castor Oil
Aside from being used as a laxative, castor oil has long been used as a lubricant.
Other uses of castor oil and its derivatives are in:
- Manufacturing industrial goods like plastics, synthetic resins, fibers, paints, hydraulic fluids and various chemicals
- Making cosmetic items like soaps, hair oils, and fungistatic compounds
- Enhancing food quality (Castor oil is used in additives and flavorings)
- Treating skin disorders or skin problems
These are just a few of castor oil’s numerous uses. With all the practical benefits of castor oil, it truly is a valuable oil that we can all take advantage of, isn’t it?
Want more information on castor oil? Check out the next article -> Castor Oil Lymph Treatment
Thank you for reading What Is Castor Oil?.