Castor oil is a non-volatile fatty oil that is derived from the seeds of the castor bean (Ricinus communis) plant, aka castor
seeds. The castor oil plant belongs to the flowering spurge family called Euphorbiaceae and is mainly cultivated in Africa, South America and India (India accounts for over 90% of castor oil exports globally). Castor is one of the oldest cultivated crops, but interestingly it contributes to only 0.15 percent of the vegetable oil produced in the world each year. This oil is also sometimes called ricinus oil. It’s very thick with a color that ranges from clear to amber or somewhat green. It’s both used topically on the skin and taken by mouth (it has a mild scent and taste).