Castor oil is derived from the seeds of the Ricinus communis plants that grow wild in wastelands across tropical regions. It is often grown as an ornamental garden plant in milder climates, and now cultivated on a large scale for biodiesel manufacture.Castor oil has been around for a very long time, and has been widely used for medicinal purposes in its native lands spread across Africa, the Indian subcontinent and the Mediterranean basin. It is one of the first vegetable oils to be used for industrial purposes because of its high viscosity and lubricating property. In fact, the automotive lubricant company Castrol derives its name from castor oil.Infamous as a laxative, many people consider castor oil a crude product. But this unique vegetable oil has so many wonderful uses that it deserves a place in every home.