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Is Castor Oil Toxic?

is castor oil toxic

Have you ever asked yourself: “Is castor oil toxic”? Let’s find out. Castor oil is recommended for usage as a laxative, for hair and skin care. You may hear that people use it for detoxing and healing liver, for treating arthritis and back pain. Castor oil is derived from castor beans known for their toxic properties. 


As Wikipedia notes castor seeds contain not only castor oil but also ricin. Ricin is a toxin produced in the endosperm of the castor seeds. It is a protein. Ricin enters cells ribosomes and prevents the synthesis of proteins in the cells killing them. Ricin is poisonous when ingested or inhaled. 5-10 seeds of the castor oil plant may kill.


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Is castor oil toxic?

Although the castor oil plant comprises such a dangerous toxin castor oil is free from ricin as the International Journal of Toxicology’s Final Report on Castor Oil states.  Dr Mercola writes that according to the U.S. FDA and Drug Administration castor oil is regarded as effective and safe. When the oil is pressed from the seeds toxins are left in the mash. So you may use castor oil for all your needs. The only thing is that you should consult your doctor before applying the oil as castor oil has contraindications and side effects.


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Castor oil contraindications and side effects

As the International Castor Oil Association notes, studies show that when people were given castor oil at concentrations not over 10% for 3 months they didn’t suffer from any side effects. Nevertheless, castor oil may cause skin reactions, such as redness and itching. The oil is turned into the ricinoleic acid in your small intestine. The acid is known for its irritant and laxative effect. That’s why castor oil may induce gastrointestinal disorders. People report diarrhea and other digestive discomfort after drinking castor oil. Among castor oil contraindications we may mention:

1). Castor oil should be avoided in case you suffer from colitis, irritable bowels, diverticulitis, ulcers or hemorrhoids.

2). If you have lately had surgery castor oil is not for you.

3). Pregnant and breast-feeding women are not allowed to take the oil. Castor oil may provoke labor. Moreover, it is an irritant for the digestive system so it may cause the undesirable effect. Read also about flaxseed oil and pregnancy.

4). Internal intake of castor oil is prohibited for babies and small children. Is castor oil toxic for them? No scientific researches have been conducted to find out the effect of the oil on children.