Castor oil is derived from the seed or bean of the castor plant. It's most commonly used as a laxative, but it has many other reported functions. Castor oil may help eliminate warts, boils, menstrual congestion disorders, ringworm, and fungal and bacterial infections, according to The Analyst website. It may also improve the condition of your hair and aid in hair growth, although little scientific evidence exists to support these claims.
Castor oil contains vitamin E, minerals, proteins, antibacterial and anti-fungicidal properties. The Castor Oil website attributes its healing benefits to its unusual chemical composition, which consists of a triglyceride of fatty acids with ricinoleic acid of up to 90 percent. In addition to healing benefits, castor oil also contains anti-inflammatory properties, all of which are related to healthy hair growth.
Target Woman, an online health and beauty magazine, lists good circulation as an important factor for hair growth. Sufficient circulation in the scalp area helps stimulate blood flow to the hair follicles. When the roots of your hair are properly nourished, your hair strands will be stronger and more resilient, allowing them to grow longer without breaking. Castor oil on your scalp can help to increase circulation. In addition, castor oil has a strengthening effect on hair follicles and can stimulate hair growth in cases of alopecia, or hair loss, according to Live and Feel, a health and beauty website.
Prevents Hair Loss
The Hair Disease website says the antifungal and antibacterial properties in castor oil are useful in combating scalp infections, such as follliculitus, ringworm and peidra. Infections and scalp disorders are major causes of hair loss. Pathogens and micro-organisms such as viruses, bacteria, fungus and parasites can attack your skin and scalp, leading to bald patches and impeding hair growth.
Controls Split Ends
Castor oil as a conditioning treatment can help reduce split ends, which in turn prevents hair loss and breakage. Omega 6 essential fatty acids, vitamin E, proteins and other nutrients in castor oil can penetrate dry and damaged hair, smoothing rough cuticles and helping the hair shaft retain moisture. Castor oil has a viscous consistency, so mixing it with lighter oils -- such as olive and jojoba -- makes it easier to evenly and sufficiently distribute it throughout your hair.
Omega 6 fatty acids in castor oil help keep your scalp from drying out, while regular use of castor oil may encourage thicker hair growth, according to the Black Women Beauty Central website. Unrefined castor oil is preferred over refined types, because it contains more nutrients and healing properties. Use castor oil for hot oil treatments and scalp massages to stimulate hair growth and keep your hair soft and manageable. Leave the oil in your hair overnight, covered with a plastic cap to trap heat and enhance penetration. In the morning, wash your hair thoroughly with shampoo to remove all traces of castor oil, then style as usual.