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.

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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