Black Castor Oil: A Traditional Hair and Skin Treatment

black castor oil

Black castor oil has been a staple in the home of many Caribbean and West Indian families for years. It is a tradition to use this oil as a natural remedy for treating issues related to the skin and hair. Yet today, it is becoming a household name in other various parts of the world.

This oil is a derivative of the castor bean, of which the actual plant is most likely indigenous to the Eastern African region of Ethiopia. Still, in addition to the Caribbean, Brazil and India are today among the other tropical and sub-tropical regions that cultivate the castor plant.

Essentially, this all-purpose oil has moisturizing, therapeutic, laxative and anti-inflammatory properties. Ancient Egypt and Rome have even highly recognized it for its amazing healing value. In fact, the Romans liked to fondly refer to this oil as “Hands of Christ.”

The Origins of Black Castor Oil

Black Castor Oil is essentially an unrefined variety of castor oil. It too is from the seed of the castor bean (recinus communis); but by using a method that differs from castor oil extraction.

This unique method of extraction is said to have also originated in Africa, and introduced to the Caribbean region during the slave trade. Black castor oil, as a result, is a tradition in many Caribbean islands; however, the most common varieties today are Jamaican Black Castor Oil and the Haitian version, Huille Maskreti.

Jamaican Black Castor Oil (JBCO)

JBCO is an unrefined castor oil variety of black castor oil. Similar to its counterpart, Huille Maskreti, it has a distinctive smell. In addition, its method of extraction from the castor beans, retains the oil’s essential properties.

For centuries, Jamaican natives have used this oil to heal, nourish and moisturize the skin, hair and scalp. Known mainly for its ability to stimulate the scalp for regrowth, JBCO is growing into a very popular natural hair loss treatment.

Huille Maskreti

Huille Maskreti is a distinctive, Haitian variety from the traditional extraction method. By this process, the castor beans are first toasted and crushed, followed by boiling the crushed beans in water to extract the oil.

While Huille Maskreti and JBCO hold many similarities—in method of extraction and properties, Huille Maskreti has a toastier scent. This is most likely because the castor beans are toasted for a longer time. It too is growing in popularity.


Summary of the Black Castor Oil’s General Properties
  • Naturally heals and nourishes the skin and scalp, including treating issues such as eczema, dandruff, and dry scalp.
  • Stimulates hair follicles for regrowth.
  • Contributes to the maintenance of strong, growing hair, as well as healthy skin.

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