Ingredient: Castor Oil

Other Name(s)

Ricinus oil, Oleum Ricini, Gold Bond, Oil of Palma Christi

Did you know?

Castor oil is a vegetable oil pressed from the seeds of the castor bean, Ricinus communis. Regular castor oil is produced by cold pressing, which helps retain the natural properties and nutrients of the oil. Whereas, with Jamaican Black Castor Oil, the castor beans are roasted before mechanical pressing, resulting in a distinctive darker oil and nutty scent.

Castor oil does not contain ricin, a natural poison found in the Ricinus communis plant. It has been used for centuries to induce labour, soothe skin ailments and fuel lamps.


Castor oil has many industrial applications and is used medicinally as a laxative and as an excipient, it’s widely used in soaps and lubricants.

Toiletries and cosmetic

  • Moisturiser - ricinoleic acid is a monounsaturated fatty acid and therefore suitable as a moisturising agent. It may be used on its own as an inexpensive moisturiser. Its viscous nature lends itself to being mixed with carrier oils such as coconut, jojoba or almond oil for ultra hydration and ease of application. Suitable for dry, damaged and chapped skin.
  • Hair and lashes – Claims that castor oil stimulates hair and eyelash growth are anecdotal and there is insufficient research to support this. However, limited use of castor oil to nourish and moisturise hair may be beneficial and its antifungal properties would indicate that it is useful in treating dandruff. Castor oil is frequently used in shampoos.
  • Oil cleanser – Castor oil may be useful as an oil cleanser due to its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Lipsticks and glosses – Due to its moisturising and barrier functions, castor oil is popular in lip care recipes.


  • Laxative - (the only FDA-approved health use for castor oil), ricinoleic acid attaches to receptors in the intestines, causing the muscles to contract, hence assisting with bowel function.
  • Wound care - When combined with Balsam Peru, castor oil has been found to help with wound care. It deodorises and can be a protective cover for pressure wounds such as ulcers.
  • Anti-inflammatory/joint pain relief – A comparative clinical trial of castor oil and diclofenac sodium in patients with osteoarthritis indicated that castor oil can be used as an effective topical therapy in primary knee osteoarthritis, with no adverse effects.


Castor oil is a rich and nourishing carrier oil.


  • Castor oil can be combined with vinegar, liquid castile soap, and warm water to make an effective all-purpose cleaner.
  • It can be used as a leather polish when rubbed in carefully with a soft cloth.
  • It is useful in cleaning household appliances as it also helps to prevent rust.

Remedies and formulations:



Anti-inflammatory, humectant, antioxidant, antifungal


Essentially Natural Cold Pressed Castor Oil is certified Vegan and Beauty Without Cruelty.

Hexane free

INCI: Ricinus communis

Products containing castor oil

Jamaican Black Castor Oil

Essentially Natural Castor Oil

Nautica Organic Castor Oil

Escentia Refined Castor Oil



  • Pregnant and nursing women and those taking prescription drugs are advised to consult a medical professional before using castor oil.
  • Large quantities taken orally may cause nausea, vomiting and colic, however, sensitivity to castor oil is extremely rare.
  • Consult a medical professional before use on wound care.
  • Prolonged use of undiluted castor oil on hair and scalp, may lead to dullness and hair matting.
  • It is recommended to do a patch test before using castor oil topically as it may cause skin irritation.
  • Use on eye lashes or sensitive areas should be with professional advice.