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The Castor Bean will Save the World

There’s a cloud of mystery surrounding castor oil and what its role is in society. This unusual oil has been used extensively in both health and industrial sectors. We use this fantastic ingredient for our protective coatings.
 
History of castor oil
Castor oil comes from the castor plant, Ricinus communis, which is native to India. It was once called “Palma Christe” because the leaves were said to resemble the hand of Christ. This belief possibly arose due to people’s respect for the plant’s healing abilities. Ingesting unprocessed castor beans can cause extreme nausea and/or death, which makes the plant unpopular with wildlife and insects.
 
Castor Beans
 
Uses of castor oil

  • The castor plant is ideal for commercial production for a few reasons:
  • Harvesting the plant is not labor intensive.
  • It’s adaptable. Meaning it can be produced in all kinds of soil and weather conditions.
  • It’s drought resistant.
  • It has year-round production.

Because of these reasons, castor oil is used in a lot of our everyday products that you may not have thought of or realized. Read on to find out where castor oil is used.
 
Beauty
Home-made castor oil is a popular laxative, hair and skin product. However, it is recommended to apply castor oil topically, opposed to orally, to maximize the oils full effects.
 
The skin and hair easily absorbs castor oil, providing nourishment and moisturizing effects. When applied to the ends of dry hair, it can moisturize and potentially prevent split ends. It has been used for years as a face cream to reduce and prevent under-eye circles, acne, and to aid in the prevention and treatment of wrinkles. Castor oil is commonly added to natural lip balms and glosses to add shine and moisture to dry lips and it’s also frequently added to natural mascaras. It is also used in lipstick, shampoo, soap, and others.
 
Health
Castor oil contains antimicrobial properties, which, when applied to open wounds, can act as a disinfectant. It can become effective for treating fungal skin infections, as well as small cuts and scratches. An added bonus to using castor oil as a first aid treatment are its anti-itch and pain-relieving properties, which help ease symptoms as minor skin infections heal.
And according to ancient Indian healing (Ayurveda), castor oil can decrease excess bodily fluids and lymph. In Ayurvedic medicine, it is common to apply a mixture of castor oil to masses and lumps found under the skin in order to dissolve them.
 
And according to the American Cancer Society, castor oil shows some promise of treating cancer:

“Oncologists now use castor oil as a vehicle for delivering some chemotherapy drugs to cancerous tumors. A special formula of castor oil called Cremophor EL is used as a carrier for paclitaxel, a drug used to treat metastatic breast cancer and other tumors. Unfortunately, the vehicle sometimes causes problems of its own, including allergic reactions. This has prompted a search for substitute carriers.”

The report states that early clinical trials showed that when castor oil was paired with an antibody to trap the virus to malignant cells, it shrunk tumours in lymphoma patients.
 
Industrial
The stem of the plant is used in the textile industry, particularly in Russia, where castor oil is known as “Kastorka”.
 
In World War I, castor oil was popular as an aviation lubricant. Today, it is also used as a motor lubricant and a slow-burning oil for lamps, in furniture polish, to prevent rusting and corrosion, and to control termites.
 
Because the oil won’t freeze, it’s an ideal lubricant for equipment stored in extremely cold temperatures.
 
Unexpected products castor oil is used in
 
Nike’s Lightweight Soccer Boot
Its light weight minimal design is made from a material called “Pebax Renu”, which is made of 97 percent castor beans. The material is on the boot’s sturdy bottom plate, which reduces the weight of the plate by 15 percent.
 
NikeGS
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Lexus CT and Lexus HS
In 2003, Lexus decided to reduce its carbon footprint and make its core models 95 percent recyclable by 2015. Research began into making plastics and other materials using soy, castor seeds, and kenaf fibres.
 
Lexus-CT
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Zeal Optics Sunglasses
In 2013, Zeal Optics created sustainable unisex sunglasses using castor bean oil. They’re light weight, snug, stylish, and wearable
 
zeal_Darby
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While castor oil has been thoroughly investigated for its industrial use, only a minimal amount of research has been directed toward its medicinal benefits.
 

TNphoto Tatsuya Nakagawa
Tatsuya Nakagawa is the VP of Marketing and co-founder of Castagra Products, a storage tank and wastewater coatings manufacturing company that is highly acclaimed for its sustainable coatings, cold weather tank coating applications, and its durable frac tank coatings. Castagra is used by the world’s top oil and gas field services companies.