Castor oil is vegetable oil pressed from castor oil. It is a colorless or pale yellow liquid with a distinct taste and smell. It contains a mixture of triglycerides in which about 90% of the fatty acids are ricinoleic. Oleic acid and linoleic acid are the other important ingredients.
Castor oil and its derivatives are used in the manufacture of soaps, lubricants, hydraulic and brake fluids, paints, dyes, coatings, inks, cold-resistant plastics, waxes and polishes, nylons and perfumes.
The name probably comes from a confusion between the Ricinus plant that produces it and another plant, Vitex agnus-castus. An alternative etymology, however, suggests that it was used as a replacement for castoreum.
Structure of the main component of castor oil: glycerol and ricinoleic acid triester. The chemical reactivity of the alcohol group also allows for chemical derivatization not possible with most other seed oils. Because of its ricinoleic acid content, castor oil is a valuable raw material chemical, commanding a higher price than other seed oils.
Food and preservatives
In the food industry, food grade castor oil is used in food additives, flavorings, candies (e.g. polyricinoleic polyglycerol in chocolate), as a mold inhibitor (stops rice, wheat and legumes from rotting) and in packaging. Polyoxyethylated castor oil (eg Kolliphor EL) is also used in the food industry.
The use of castor oil as a purgative is recorded in the Ebers Papyrus around 1550 BC, and was used several centuries earlier.
Although used in traditional medicine to induce labor in pregnant women, there is no clinical evidence that castor oil is effective in dilating the cervix or inducing labor.
Skin and hair care
Castor oil has been used in cosmetic products including creams and as a moisturizer. Small amounts of castor oil are often used in cold process soap to increase the lather in the finished bar. It has also been used to enhance hair care in other products and for anti-dandruff and anti-hair loss properties.
Castor oil is used as a bio-based polyol in the polyurethane industry. The average functionality of castor oil is 2.7, so it is widely used as a rigid polyol and in coatings. A particular use is in a polyurethane concrete where a castor oil emulsion is reacted with an isocyanate and a cement that is structurally inert. This is applied quite thickly as a paste. This base is usually further overlaid with other systems to make a resilient floor.
Castor oil is a non-drying oil, meaning it has low air reactivity compared to oils like linseed and tung oil. Dehydration of castor oil yields linoleic acids, which have drying properties.
Forerunner of industrial chemicals
Castor oil can react with other materials to produce other chemical compounds that have many applications. Transesterification followed by steam pyrolysis yields undecylenic acid, a precursor to the specialty polymer nylon, and heptanal, a fragrance component. Hydrogenation of castor oil saturates the alkenes, yielding a waxy lubricant. Castor oil can be epoxidized by reacting the OH groups with epichlorohydrin to produce castor oil triglycidyl ether, known commercially as Heloxy 505.
The production of lithium grease consumes a significant amount of castor oil. Hydrogenation and saponification of castor oil yields 12-hydroxystearic acid, which is then reacted with lithium hydroxide or lithium carbonate to yield a high performance lubricating grease.
Since it has a relatively high dielectric constant (4.7), highly refined and dried castor oil is sometimes used as a dielectric fluid in high-performance, high-voltage capacitors.
Vegetable oils such as castor oil are usually unattractive alternatives to petroleum-derived lubricants due to their poor oxidative stability. Castor oil has better low temperature viscosity and high temperature lubricating properties than most vegetable oils, making it useful as a lubricant in jet, diesel and racing engines. The viscosity of castor oil at 10 °C is 2,420 centipoise, but it tends to gum up in a short time, so its usefulness is limited to engines that are regularly rebuilt, such as racing engines.
Castor oil has been recommended as a lubricant for bicycle pumps because it does not alter the natural rubber seals.
Early aviation and modelling
World War I aviation rotary engines used castor oil as the primary lubricant, mixed with the fuel
Castor oil was the lubricant of choice for rotary engines such as the Gnome engine after the widespread adoption of this engine in aviation in Europe in 1909. It was used almost universally in rotary-engined Allied aircraft in World War I. Germany had to make do with inferior ersatz oil for its rotary engines, which resulted in poor reliability.
It is very resistant to degradation when the engine has the fuel-air mixture tilted for maximum engine speed. Sticky debris can still be a problem for castor oil-lubricated airmodeling motors, however, usually requiring eventual bearing replacement when debris accumulates in the motor's bearing races. A British manufacturer of four-cycle engines with valve sleeves stated that the "varnish" created using small amounts of castor oil can improve the pneumatic seal of the sleeve valve, improving the performance of such an engine over time.
Red oil, also called sulfonated (or sulfated) castor oil, is made by adding sulfuric acid to vegetable oils, primarily castor oil. It was the first synthetic detergent after ordinary soap. It is used in the formulation of lubricants, emollients and auxiliary dyes.
Castor oil, like cheaper vegetable oils, can be used as a feedstock for biodiesel production. The resulting fuel is superior for cold winters due to its extremely low cloud point and pour point.
Castor oil seed contains ricin, a toxic lectin. Heat during the oil extraction process denatures and deactivates the lectin. Harvesting castor beans, however, may not be without risk. The International Castor Oil Association FAQ document states that castor beans contain an allergenic compound called CB1A. This chemical is described as essentially non-toxic, but has the ability to affect hypersensitive individuals. The allergen can be neutralized by treatment with a variety of alkaline agents. The allergen is not present in castor oil itself.
Returns & Exchanges Policy
Free shipping on all exchanges and returns up to 14 calendar days after delivery. Changing an item has never been easier with the new Stock Credit by Avgerinos service .
Necessary conditions are the presentation of the receipt/invoice inside the package and the condition of the products. The products should be like new and not have been opened or used. There are specific products that cannot be returned for health reasons. After we have received and checked your return package, we will then issue the corresponding Voucher/Gift Card with the same amount of money which you will be able to use on our site.
In the event that your products must be fully withdrawn we issue your refund using the same payment method used for the original purchase.
Return costs are free of charge but excluding additional costs due to your choice to use a delivery method other than the cheapest standard delivery method we offer.
For all the details you can read our full allowance and change policy here.
The return address is: 138 Vasileos Konstantinou, Koropi 19400, T +30 210 6623565
Delivery Time & Hours
Delivery Time: (you calculate as the start date the date of shipment, not the order, and only working days are taken into account).
- Land destinations: 1-2 business days
- Island destinations: 2-3 working days
- Hard to reach areas: 2-5 business days
- Delivery days are from Monday - Friday
- Delivery Hours: 9:00am - 6:00pm (on arrival)
Shipping & COD
- Shipping costs for the whole of Greece are €3.90
- Cash on Delivery is FREE
- Most parcels are up to 2kg, and each additional kilo is charged at €1
avgerinospharmacy.gr will not be held responsible for the consequences due to delivery delay or loss of your parcel by the carrier or due to force majeure. If the parcel is not received within the stated deadlines, an inquiry is made to the carrier and lasts up to 15 days. During this period, no refunds or reshipments can take place.
For all the details you can read our full shipping & handling policy here.
Buy 4 Get 5