Castor or ricinus oil is obtained from the seeds of ricinus communis, the castor oil or castor bean plant., The castor plant is at home throughout the Mediterranean and is worldwide-spread as an ornamental shrub. It has another common name, Palma Christi, that derives from castor oil’s reputed ability to heal wounds and cure ailments
As a miraculously fast-growing plant it is referred to in the biblical Book of Jonah. “…and the LORD appointed a castor oil plant, and made it to come up over Yona, that it might be a shade over his head, to deliver him from his distress. And Yona was exceeding glad of the plant…”
Despite its name castor bean, which resonates in the story of Jack and the Beanstalk, it is botanically not a true bean Nonetheless it remains miraculous until today.
The seeds contain an extremely toxic ricin. Yet, the oil extracted from the seeds is not toxic. Castor oil is a viscous liquid – colourless to very pale yellow.
Castor oil consists of 87% glycerides and ricinoleic acid. In addition, the oil has low levels of linoleic, palmitic and stearic acid and it is especially known for its high content of tocopherol (vitamin E). In contrast to the olive oil (α-tocopherol), however castor, oil is dominated by γ- and δ-tocopherols. Both act as free radical scavengers and serve significantly as an antioxidant.
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has categorized castor oil as “generally recognized as safe and effective”. The use of castor oil ranges from soaps to lubricants, pharmaceuticals to food additive. Castor oil is one of the three components of Hoffmann’s PeriO3 Oil.