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Where Castor Oil Really Comes From
from Abbi L.

Ed:  Just in response – to your response (Castor Oil for Scalp P)!  Castor oil actually comes from the bean of the castor plant; whatever that is.  It’s an ancient oil that was once used for fuel to burn lamps and in ancient beauty treatments, according to the label on the bottle.  And let’s not forget our favorite use: as a laxative.  You were right, it’s good for what ails us!

I just wanted to say how much I appreciate this website.  Thank you for all your hard work and for getting the ball rolling, Ed.  It helps me a great deal to know there’s a network of flakers out there supporting each other.  Sincerely, -Abbi L.

*****

Ed’s Response:  There’s an example of a life-long mistake.  For as long as I’ve known the name “castor oil” – which has been a long time – I have mistakenly assumed it derived from fish.  Why?  I can only guess a parent or grandparent, or an oblique reference from somewhere else, planted the assumption when I was in grade school.  I can’t remember what the bottles looked like – surely never read a label – and only remember the agony of being made to swallow a spoonful when, for whatever reason (probably constipation) my care givers deemed it appropriate. There's also a likelihood that I've confused it forever with cod liver oil.

My shame drove me to do some punitive research and I came up with this web site:

http://waynesword.palomar.edu/plmar99.htm

Here is, I’m sure, everything most anybody would ever want to know about castor plants, beans and oil.  This excerpt is from the introduction:

Although it is native to the Ethiopian region of tropical east Africa, the castor bean or castor plant (Ricinus communis) has become naturalized in tropical and warm temperate regions throughout the world, and is becoming an increasingly abundant weed in the southwestern United States. Castor plants are very common along stream banks, river beds, bottom lands, and just about any hot area where the soil is well drained and with sufficient nutrients and moisture to sustain the vigorous growth. Although the seeds or beans are extremely poisonous, they are the source of numerous economically important products and are one of earliest commercial products. Castor beans have been found in ancient Egyptian tombs dating back to 4000 B.C., and the oil was used thousands of years ago in wick lamps for lighting. To many people the castor plant is just an overgrown, undesirable weed, and yet it produces one of nature's finest natural oils.

Now I just hope I run into strangers on the bus, in restaurants, better yet sitting beside me on an airplane, who happen to mention castor oil.  “Do you know where it comes from?” I’ll ask.  And if they say they do not, they’re in for it.

Thanks for your kind words about FlakeHQ, Abbi.  Hearing from people like you is what it’s all about.  So stay in touch.  –Ed

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