Top Castor Oil Benefits + Side Effects

By Adriane Marie •  Updated: 11/03/22 •  10 min read

What are castor oil benefits and side effects every ethical consumer must know? Here are castor oil pros and cons and how buying them will impact your health, the environment, animals and laborers. 

castor oil benefits and side effects

Food is something we consume every day. If you’re like me, you do all the research you can to make sure you don’t hurt yourself, the planet, animals or others when shopping. As an ethical consumer myself, I am giving you all the info I’ve found on castor oil benefits and side effects.

You are going to learn all about castor oil benefits and side effects. This will include castor oil benefits for your health and potential risks, castor oil water footprint and carbon footprint, sustainability, if castor oil is vegan or impact animals in other ways, and much more. 

After learning if castor oil is good or bad for you, the environment, animals and human rights, you will be able to make the best choices you can the next time you buy food.

This post is all about castor oil benefits and side effects that every ethical consumer should know.

Top Castor Oil Benefits And Side Effects

Health

Castor oil health benefits may include:

Castor oil is…

Environment

Water footprint: high, it takes 24,740 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of castor oil / 2,965 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of castor oil

Carbon footprint: high, 3.2 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of vegetable oil, a car driving equivalent of 7.5 miles or 12 kilometers

Destruction: low, castor oil production is relatively sustainable, there is no known significant damage to air, water, land, soil, forests, etc. as long as pesticides have not been used, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as toxic, chemical pesticides contaminate air, water, soil, etc.

Castor oil is…

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Animals

Kills: none, castor oil production does not require any animals to be killed

Harms: none, castor oil production does not require any animals to be used

Indirectly kills or harms: none, no animals are indirectly killed or harmed from castor oil production as long as toxic chemicals have not been used, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as pesticides harm and kill wildlife and ecosystems by contaminating soil, water, air and plants that animals eat

Castor oil is…

Laborers

Health and safety: varies, overall, agriculture continues to be one of the most dangerous industries, farmworkers may be subject to dehydration, heat stroke, unprotected exposure to harmful, toxic chemicals and pesticides, unsafe machinery and clean drinking water may not always accessible

Living conditions: varies, laborers are often exploited, they may face tough working conditions including long hours in the sun and heat performing physically exhausting tasks, labor laws and rights may or may not be in place, even if worker protection exists, employer violations may go unreported, refugees and migrant workers are especially vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment, fearing consequences of job loss or deportation

Wages: varies, generally farmworkers earn meager wages, there are many cases of underpaid agricultural workers, wage theft and no overtime payment or benefits

Castor oil…

Where does most castor oil come from?

The world’s top castor oil exporting country is India, followed by Germany, USA, France, Netherlands, UK, Spain, Japan, Belgium, Brazil.

Is castor oil nutritious?

Castor oil contains omega 6 essential fatty acids, vitamin E, as well as other vitamins and minerals.

castor oil is gluten free.

gluten free foods and what to eat on a gluten free diet

Is castor oil gluten free?

Yes, castor oil is gluten free. Castor oil does not contain gluten.

While celiac disease may not be as rampant as many marketing trends lead us to believe, you may have a gluten sensitivity…

Celiac and gluten sensitivity symptoms are similar and may include:

There are hundreds of potential symptoms, many of which are also symptoms of other conditions.

Going gluten-free easier than ever with this: Gluten and Gluten Free Foods List

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castor oil is not a common food allergen.

the most common food allergens include milk, wheat, soy, fish, tree nuts, peanuts, eggs and crustaceans

Is castor oil a common food allergen?

No, castor oil is not a common food allergen. Some people may experience allergic reactions to castor oil but it is relatively rare by comparison.

A group of the eight major allergenic foods, AKA the Big-8, include:

Severe food allergies can be life threatening. Following ingestion of a food allergen, a person with food allergies can experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. 

Persons may still be allergic to and have serious reactions to foods other than the eight foods identified by the law.

Be aware of common dietary restrictions and food allergens with this: The Big 8 Most Common Food Allergens List

castor oil has a high water footprint.

water footprints of food and products

Does castor oil have a high or low water footprint?

Castor oil has a high water footprint.

What is the water footprint of castor oil?

It takes 24,740 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of castor oil / 2,965 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of castor oil.

Did you know that water is a finite, non-renewable resource?

How much water does it take to produce an apple? A serving of rice? A steak dinner?

We need to be aware of “water footprints”. That is, the amount of fresh water utilized in the production or supply of goods we consume. As it turns out it takes significantly more water to yield foods that come from animals than foods that come from plants. Imagine how much water a cow needs to consume to generate a piece of beef. Not only how much water a single cow drinks, rather all the water that went into producing the crops that the cow ate.

Find out how much water your food consumes with this: Water Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

castor oil has a high carbon footprint.

carbon footprints of food and food emissions

Does castor oil have a high or low carbon footprint?

Castor oil has a low carbon footprint.

What is the carbon footprint of castor oil?

It takes around 3.2 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of vegetable oil, a car driving equivalent of 7.5 miles or 12 kilometers.

Food not only has a water footprint but also a carbon footprint, known as CO2e, which stands for carbon dioxide equivalent. Since carbon measurements are a bit more difficult to comprehend, it is common to equate CO2e to the distance which a car drives in miles or kilometers.

When calculating carbon emissions, some factors may include…

But that’s not all!

It’s best to keep the following in mind when grocery shopping:

Find out how much carbon your food emits with this: Carbon Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

castor oil is moderately sustainable.

sustainable shopping, for eco friendly brands and products good for the environment

Overall, is castor oil eco friendly? Is castor oil sustainable?

Castor oil production is moderately sustainable. There is no significant damage as long as pesticides have not been used. Be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as toxic, chemical pesticides contaminate air, water, soil, etc. when using regenerative practices.

A 2018 Oxford University study – which is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet – found that ‘avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth’ as animal farming provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of our farmland.

Consuming animal products and byproducts is not environmentally friendly and is one of the worst things for the Earth. Not only is meat production wasteful, it causes enormous amounts of pollution. The industry is one of the biggest causes of climate change.

Read more about ‘What Makes Food Sustainable Or Unsustainable?’

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castor oil is vegan.

vegan food to eat on a vegan diet

Is castor oil vegan?

Yes, castor oil is vegan. Castor oil is an oil made from castor beans and not an animal product or byproduct, therefore making it a vegan food. 

Animals of factory farms and the livestock industry are suffering. They live in horrific conditions that often include confinement, physical abuse and unnatural environments…so much so that they need to receive antibiotics to keep from getting ill or spreading disease. They’re also injected with growth hormones to become fatter faster and live short lives, being slaughtered as soon as they finish growing and are killed prematurely, well before their natural lifespan.

Because we cannot see for ourselves how these animals live and what they endure does not mean it isn’t happening. The meat, poultry and dairy industries do everything they can to distance us from knowing how our food comes to be in order to keep us in the dark about what we support each time we buy animal derived products and byproducts.

Go vegan for animals!

It’s the best way to help animals and it’s not as difficult as you may think. Speak for animals with your actions, for they cannot speak at all.

Going vegan is easier than ever, at a glance with this: Vegan and Non Vegan Foods List

castor oil is a product that may or may not have labor issues.

labor rights, human rights and workers rights issues

Is castor oil a product that has labor issues?

At this time, there are no specific reports of worker mistreatment regarding castor oil farming but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. Castor oil may or may not have labor issues.

Did you know the single largest employer in the world is agriculture? The labor involved behind each and every product cannot go unrecognized. 

Some known problems include workplace health and safety, child labor, gender inequality, inadequate pay, wage theft and exploitation. Workers can even experience harassment, humiliation and violence and unfair employers often fail to provide laborers with access to shade, drinking water, restrooms and breaks. Consequently, laborers can face nausea, dizziness, heat exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke -the leading cause of farmworker death! 

Such mistreatment is like modern day slavery. Workers are often afraid to report issues because they fear it will result in losing their jobs or deportation. 

Fair trade organizations fight to ensure better social, environmental and economic standards. 

We can improve people’s lives with foods we eat every day simply by buying products that are certified fair trade.

This post was all about castor oil benefits and side effects.

Sources:

Castor Oil: Properties, Uses, and Optimization of Processing

Queensland Department of Agriculture

Castor oil plant – NT.GOV.AU

Adriane Marie

Hi, I'm Adriane, creator of HEALabel! I organize info for you to comprehensively see how purchases impact health, environment, animals and laborers. Stay aware because you care! Subscribe below to get my weekly newsletter with tips, new info and other ethical consumer insight.

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