Castor oil is extremely versatile and unique in its composition. Castor oil consists for 90% of the unsaturated C:18 ricinoleic fatty acid. It is a major source of sebacic acid.
Castor oil and its derivatives have major applications in the manufacturing of soaps, lubricants, hydraulic and brake fluids, paints, dyes, coatings, inks, cold resistant plastics, waxes and polishes, nylon, pharmaceuticals and perfumes.
About 1% of the global castor oil production goes into medical or health store products. It is used to ease constipation and as an emetic to induce vomiting. It is notorious for its strong taste, which was for many years a standard gag in comic strips and Our Gang film shorts.