Obtained from the castor bean, castor oil is a thick emollient applied externally to soothe dry skin. It is also ideal for hair treatments as it softens and nourishes. An excellent ingredient in soap making.

The castor tree grows up to 5m in height and gets hollow as it ages. The seeded fruit is covered with dense clusters of soft spikes. The castor seed is toxic due to the presence of lectin (ricin) and alkaloid (ricinine) but these are not present in the oil. Lectin (not to be confused with LECITHIN) is a carbohydrate-binding-protein found in seeds/legumes including castor.
Castor oil can be applied to help relieve ear problems, stimulate hair growth and used on baggy eyes/dark circles.

The leaf of the castor plant known as umhlakuva in Zulu is used as poultice for wounds/boils/sores. The seeds are worn as a necklace.

INCI: Ricinus communis