Castor oil comes from the castor bean plant. It is the source of ricin, a poison more deadly than rattlesnake venom. In its greatly diluted form, castor oil was given to children on a weekly basis to aid digestion and in the belief that it would rid them of internal parasites. Using castor oil on hair is a tradition among Caribbean parents and is finding new popularity today as people search for natural hair remedies. Castor oil hair treatments are available commercially, but since castor oil mixes well with other ingredients, it is simple and less expensive to make your own.

Insecticidal Benefits

Mix castor oil with neem oil and turmeric and use them to coat your scalp and hair if you have head lice. Castor oil has long been used as a way to kill head lice in Ayurvedic medicine, and it is an ingredient in lice killing shampoos. The slipperiness of the castor oil will also help you comb out the nits.

Antibacterial and Anti-fungal Benefits

Massage castor oil into your scalp after a camping trip, hike, or other outdoor activity. The ricin and ricinoleic acid in castor oil acts as an antibacterial and anti-fungal agent. According to the people at Organic Facts, bacteria and fungus are leading causes of hair loss, though MayoClinic.com only lists ringworm as a fungus-related cause of hair loss. Castor oil has been used to cure ringworm for centuries.

Cosmetic Benefits

Pour a cup or so of castor oil into a small bowl. Add a tablespoon of lavender or almond oil to scent it and thin it out slightly. Castor oil is thicker then commercial hot oil treatments, so it coats and seals the hair shaft which traps moisture inside more effectively. Warm the oil for a second or two in the microwave, so that it is about the same temperature as your skin. Massage it into your scalp and coat your hair. Put your hair up and wrap your head in cling wrap, then let the treatment sit overnight. Shampoo as usual in the morning. Repeat twice a month as needed.

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