If you read into just about any kind of product within the world that requires oil during manufacturing, you will no doubt have come across castor oil. This product today is one of the most commonly used products in the world, recognised for its versatility and ease of use in so many different applications. Indeed, this is a vegetable oil that has been pressed from castor beans. The end result is a near-colourless liquid that has a very distinctive taste and smell.
The product itself is also home to many important triglycerides, including key fatty includes. A combination of oleates, ricinolates, and linoleates is a big part of what makes up this product and its compounds. However, the actual use of the product stems from various industries.
It is just as common to find castor oil is used in the creation of soaps and perfumes to being used in the development of lubricants, waxes, polishes, and more. Other common applications of castor oil include things like brake fluids. In the creative world, it is commonly used to make items like inks, dyes, and paints.
Castor oil can also be used for factors including cold-resistant plastics, nylon items, and even in some pharmaceutical products. However, despite the fact that castor oil is used in such a wide-ranging number of products, it is not commonly known where castor oil comes from. So, what is the history of this product? How did it come to be?
Where does castor oil come from?
As mentioned above, castor oil is a form of vegetable oil. It is created using castor beans and is pressed from the beans. The castor oil plant as some know it, these perennial flowering plants are the sole species found within the Ricinus family. The plant itself is capable of reproducing by using mixed pollination and can be carried across to pollinate either by insects or by the wind.
This plant is found in many parts of the world, but it is indigenous to locations such as Eastern Africa, India, and areas in the southeast of the Mediterranean Basin. The plant itself, though, can be found in various parts of the tropical world, have been brought there. Many also choose to grow the castor plant because they like its look, and thus many non-tropical regions have large quantities of decorative castor oil plants being grown. This means that it is commonly found outside of the usual climates that the plant itself is actually grown within.
The plant itself can vary quite drastically in how it looks and how it actually grows. Unlike other plants, this plant can require a huge amount of trial and error as how they grow and how large they become is rather specific. Indeed, this can grow to be the size of a small tree if it is allowed – however, the fact it is not a plant that can grow well in the cold explains why the places it thrives naturally are warmer weather locations.
Strangely enough, though, the castor bean is not actually a bean.
What is castor oil used for?
As mentioned above, castor oil itself has a great many uses that ensure it has a long list of properties. It is most commonly used within the medicinal industry, though, with castor oil commonly used in the creation of various antimicrobial products within Ayurvedic healing circles. However, it is most commonly used in various products that need a high-class lubricant. Since the First World War, we have relied upon castor oil to help us make sure that the engines of our air and land vehicles could run smoothly.
Its high resistance to heat compared to many other petrol-based oils means that castor oil has a lot of uses that other types of oil simply cannot be used for. It is even common to find aesthetic jewellery made using the design of castor beans. As such, castor oil is a product that is used in various different parts of the industrial world, and today is commonly seen as a versatile, useful product.
In terms of where the actual product originates from, though, it is the plant itself. The seeds of this plant are then pressed to help make sure that the plants’ oils – castor oil – can be taken and then used in various other industries. For that reason, it is common for castor oil plants to be grown simply for the extraction process to be repeated, giving the industries that need it more access to castor oil as and when it is needed.