Castor oil is a vegetable oil commonly tagged as a “cure all” remedy. The oil is extracted from the seeds of the castor oil bush. This bush can be found all over Jamaica.
Castor oil has a long history of being used, as a source of fuel to a tonic for the hair and body. In ancient times castor oil was used by the Egyptians to fuel lamps because of its slow burning nature. The Greeks also used castor seed oil for lighting and body ointments.
In present times castor oil has both industrial and domestic uses.
In World War I castor oil was used as an aircraft lubricant because of its consistent viscosity and anti-freeze features. Other industrial uses include racing oil for high-performance engines, a primary raw material in the production of nylons and a component in perfumes, plastics, feedstock and insecticidal oils.
Domestically castor oil is used both internally, as a strong and effective purgative and externally to treat skin disorders and improve hair growth and texture. If you are old enough, you may remember your grandmother recommending castor oil to cure what ails you. Surely grandma thought castor oil was the Earth’s most versatile healing gift.
I remember two rituals when I got home from boarding school. I was given a spoon of castor oil to keep the system clear and my suitcase and its contents were left in the sun for a day or more to ensure I did not bring home bedbugs. Castor oil with it’s unpleasant taste was a remembered bane of my childhood.
Tips for using castor oil for hair and scalp:
Wet hair before applying Jamaican Black Castor Oil: Water on the hair helps dilute the castor oil and spread it easily.
Use less Jamaican Black Castor Oil than you think you need — except in hot oil treatment: The scalp easily absorbs small amounts of castor oil; too much only forms a thick layer, causing distribution problems.