Castor Bean Oil
Cold-pressed from the Castor Bean, castor oil is a popular healing agent for many skin problems and a natural remedy for dry skin.
The triglyceride fatty acids present in castor oil help dry skin by restoring the natural moisture. Castor Oil also has many antibacterial properties and is fabulous in handmade soap and shampoo for creating a rich bubbly lather.
We have received e-mails from concerned customers who have read that castor bean oil is poisonous.
Castor Bean oil, also known as Palma Christi Oil, is not poisonous.
There is a poison, ricin, concentrated under the shell of the castor-oil beans. Ricin is found in the meal or cake after the oil has been extracted. If you actually chew raw castor beans, you will ingest the poison.
Fortunately, extracting the oil without the ricin is a fairly simple process and has been going on for centuries. Heating during the oil extraction process denatures and deactivates the ricin.
Castor oil has been used as medicine for centuries. There is a lot of controversy about the continued use of castor oil as a laxative, not because it is poisonous, but because there are much better, natural ways to maintain regularity.
The word "poisonous" is very scary, and rightly so. But we come into contact and eat many items that have a poisonous component before they are processed properly! For example . . .
Spices and herbs such as thyme, oregano, turmeric, and cinnamon get their flavors from compounds that are actually toxic in concentrated doses, but we usually eat these in small doses.
Raw almonds contain prussic acid, which is the precursor to cyanide. The amount of cyanide found in the almonds you buy at your local grocery store, called sweet almonds (Prunus dulcis dulcis) is not enough to cause cyanide poisoning under normal circumstances.
But although sweet almonds may be safe to eat, bitter almonds (Prunus dulcis amara) may not be. Bitter almonds, popular in many countries, contain 50 times more cyanide per kilogram than sweet almonds, and eating 50 bitter almonds can be deadly. Before consumption, bitter almonds are often processed to remove the poison and some countries make the sale of bitter almonds illegal.
Ever wondered why cashews are never sold with a shell? The shell of the cashew “nut” (which is actually a seed) contains urushiol, the same chemical found in poison ivy, which is toxic when eaten raw. The so-called raw cashews sold in natural food stores are not really raw, they are often steamed.
Cassava flour is a popular gluten-free alternative, but the leaves and roots are rich in cyanide. These veggies must be peeled and cooked before consumption.
Apricots, cherries, plums, apricots, peaches, and apples contain highly poisonous compounds in their leaves and seed (pits). When the seeds are crushed, chewed, or even slightly injured, they produce prussic acid (hydrogen cyanide).
Tomatoes are members of the deadly nightshade family. The leaves and stems of the tomato plant contain a chemical called “Glycoalkaloid” which is known for causing upset stomachs, severe cramping, and anxiety.
Potatoes, like tomatoes, contain poison in the stems and leaves - and even in the potato itself if left to turn green. The green color is due to a high concentration of the glycoalkaloid poison called solanine. There have actually been a few cases of potato poisoning.
Raw kidney beans can cause severe nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. The leaves of Rhubarb contain oxalic acid that may cause problems for some. The leaves, stems, and roots of the elderberry are highly poisonous and will cause severe stomach problems and the list goes on and on.
It is very important for us as consumers to have information so we can make informed choices about all of the things we eat and use.
The problem is that sometimes information going around the internet provides just enough information to scare us, but little information to teach us.
Castor bean oil is not poisonous.
It is a great oil for lather, a wonderful humectant, and has anti-inflammatory effects when used topically. Castor oil, which is very moisturizing and can help soften rough, dry, cracked skin. Castor oil is also used in skin cleansers to help rid the skin of dead skin cells that are clogging the sebaceous glands.