Types of castor oil

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Types of castor oil
Castor oil has medicinal, nutritional and industrial applications. (Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

Castor oil is a type of vegetable oil produced from castor beans. These "beans" are actually seeds. It has a slight unpleasant taste or no taste at all, accompanied by an undesirable aftertaste. It may be clear or yellow in colour.

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Medicinal Castor Oil

When castor beans are processed, the first pressing produces castor oil that can be used in medicine. It can be used as a laxative or purging agent, but other modern alternatives are recommended. The oil also is used for skin problems. The ricinoleic acid in castor oil is anti-inflammatory. Castor oil is actually added as a component of some modern medications. Some organisations recommend castor oil for hair growth.

Food Grade Castor Oil

Castor oil is often used as a food additive to add flavouring and as a preservative. It is commonly used as an emulsifier in the production of chocolate.

Industrial Castor Oil

A number of industries make use of castor oil in adhesives, lubricants, inks and other tools. The first Castrol oil was named for the ingredient.

Castor Oil as a Raw Material

Castor oil also is used to produce other raw industrial ingredients. These include sebacic acid, lithium grease and a type of nylon.

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