TCC’s Castor Oil is a vegetable oil obtained from the castor bean (technically the castor seed, as the castor plant, Ricinus Communis, is not a member of the bean family). Castor oil is a colorless to very pale yellow liquid with a mild or no odor and somewhat unpleasant taste. It is a triglyceride in which approximately 90 percent of fatty acid chains are ricinoleic acid. Oleic and linoleic acids are the other significant components.
The castor oil plant is a species of flowering plant in the spurge family, Euphorbaceae. It belongs to a monotypic genus, Ricinus, and subtribe, Ricininae. Its seed is the castor bean, which despite its name, is not a true bean. Castor is indigenous to the southeastern Mediterranean Basin, Eastern Africa, and India, but is widespread throughout tropical regions and widely grown elsewhere as an ornamental plant.
Castor oil has a wide variety of uses. The seeds contain between 40 percent and 60 percent oil that is rich in triglycerides, mainly ricinolein. The seed contains ricin, a toxin that is also present in lower concentrations throughout the plant. Ricin is a highly toxic, naturally occurring protein that is one of the world’s most lethal poisons. A dose as small as a few grains of salt can kill an adult human.
In addition to its therapeutic applications, castor oil has numerous commercial uses in transportation, cosmetics, and manufacturing industries for making adhesives, brake fluids, caulks, dyes, lubricants, and many other products that play integral roles in everyday life.