2.01.2012

A Haitian Treasure: Castor Oil (L'huile Palma Christi/Mascreti)

Castor oil is a vegetable oil obtained from the castor bean (technically castor seed as the castor plant), Ricinus communis. Castor oil is a colorless to very pale yellow liquid with mild or no odor or taste. It is a triglyceride in which approximately 90 percent of fatty acid chains are ricinoleic acid.
Source
If you are Haitian/Haitian-American, you may have grown up calling castor oil, l'huile palma christi, l'huile mascreti, or like me and my cousins...stinky oil! By no means did we mean any offense by this-it's just that....it has a very strong smell #justsayin

Growing up, my mother would rub this on my head when I had a headache, my throat when I had a sore throat, my knee when I broke my knee, my scalp for my hair growth....you get the gist.
And yes....it always worked. Nope, no exceptions. It's liquid magic y'all.

It wasn't until I chopped my hair off a few years ago, went natural/organic, and started experimenting with different oils for hair and scalp treatments did I come across something called "castor oil".  I was looking at one of my top favorite hair blogs, Curly Nikki, which is where I came across information about this oil.  I ran to Youtube to see if one my resident hair gurus could support this claim - check! I did some geographical research and found that it was especially popular in the Carribean...specifically in Jamaica...and also in...Haiti.  *Cue angels singing*. 

I ran to my mom to tell her about what I discovered.  (Yup, whenever I discover something, I run an tell my mom...#onlychildproblems.) After talking a little bit more about this oil, she made me realize that it was our beloved l'huile mascreti. And lemme tell you something- every Haitian...living in Haiti or Diaspora surely has AT LEAST 2 bottles of this oil sitting in their cabinet....specifically wrapped in some type of bottle...with a brownish tape wrapping its permitter....sitting in their bathroom sink... right next to other hair greases. Yesssss hunny, it's that serious.

I even took a bottle to college...and when it ran out..trust that my other Haitian friends had some to spare. Let's just say from that point on, I've been using this oil for various hair and skin concoctions and I never ever ever have to worry about it running out. It's always there. #winning.

I want to add that even though Jamaican Black Castor Oil, otherwise known as "JBCO" in the natural hair community is the most talked about form of castor oil, it in fact is the same as Haitian Castor oil in the sense that is derived from the same Castor beans.  The main difference between the two oils is the level of refinement. But TRUST that Haitian castor oil is the business and is just as good (if not better....) than the other ones! Haitian pride baby!

You can find castor oil at local beauty supply stores, health food stores, online retailers (such as Amazon or Kreyol Essence), and in your grandma's cabinet. ;)

See below for some of the health benefits of Castor oil described here.

Castor Oil has been used both internally and externally for thousands of years due to its many wonderful health benefits. Since it can strengthen the immune system, Castor Oil is considered a great remedy to treat the following major illness and ailments:
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Pain From Arthritis and Rheumatism
  • Hair Loss
It has also been found to help with many everyday problems such as:
  • Ringworm, Moles, Warts
  • Yeast Infections
  • Age Spots (Liver Spots)
  • Athlete’s Foot
  • Acne
  • Inflammation
  • Migraines
  • Sunburns
  • Foot Callus
  • Skin Abrasions
  • Stretch Marks
-Promotes Hair Growth, Thickens Eyebrows, Moisturizes Skin, Eliminates Stretch Marks, Excellent for Hot Oil Treatments

Directions for use:

For use as a Hair Growth Grease: 
Apply directly to hair from tips of hair to roots. Leave on as a grease. Repeat weekly for best results.
For use as Hot Oil Hair Treatment:
Simply warm up castor oil in a small cup or bowl. Warm up a sufficient amount that is enough to cover entire hair. After applying cover with a cap and sit for 30min. Repeat weekly for best results.
For use as Eyebrow/Eyelash Growth:
Apply directly onto eyelashes or eyebrows. Leave on. Repeat daily. Amazing results should be obtained after 1 month.
For use as a Skin Moisturizer & to Eliminate Stretch Marks:
Apply an ample amount directly onto area of skin and massage. Leave on. Do not rinse. Can be repeated daily or as desired.


Please dish on your experiences with castor oil!

Stay engaged,
N

The "Haitian Treasures" series explores the magnificent benefits and uses of Haiti's natural resources, which I call "Haitian Treasures" because they are truly national gems.  Naïka in Balance is the premiere source for information on the tie between Haiti's natural resources and natural, traditional, and holistic healing.

Learn about other Haitian Treasures explored on this blog here!

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*Medical Disclaimer: Though Naïka of Naïka in Balance is in pursuit of a medical degree, she is NOT a licensed health practitioner. 
Naïka believes individuals have the power to make informed health decisions on their own. If you feel that it is necessary to consult your healthcare provider before using any of the remedies mentioned, please do so. Knowledge is power and your health is your wealth.

49 comments:

  1. Nikki, I am so-o-o proud of you for creating this blog. I was laughing my ass off about the castor oil.

    Dan B.

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  2. I love Haitian castor oil. My wife is Haitian and uses this for everything. We always have a bottle in the house! And you're right...it has a unique odor, but is a really good oil.

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    1. Hi! Thanks for your comment! Your wife must be brilliant. Castor oil is splendid- smell and all lol!

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    2. I love hatian castor oil. i use it on my scalp its the best thing to use to sooth the scalp after a relaxer. keeps my scalp moisturized.

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  3. Great info. I've been wanting to try castor oil for a while and was going to buy the JBCO. Now that I know there is a Haitian one, I want to try it! Do you know of anywhere else that sells this? Thanks.
    -Diane

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    1. Hi! Thanks for your comment Diane. Let me know how you like it once you try it! N

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  4. That wasgood a great blog. Very informative. That oil is rich and its an excellent remedy for almost everything as you mentioned. Colds and hair lost. I had a bold spot of my head, usedplease it twice a week, after a month, i grew 2 inches. Great forblog fevers as well.

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    1. Hi! Thanks for commenting. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Castor oil is so amazing!-N

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  5. I knew it!!! I was researching castor oil and like many curious to see if there was something similar in other countries and rig before my eyes your blog!! Great stuff!!

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    1. Thanks for your comment! I think it's great that the same substance is appreciated by so many different cultures.
      N

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  6. Jamaican Black Castor just started using this product (first use) but i saw a tremendous change in the amount of shedding i experienced whilst washing my hair. right now its a massive thumbs up!

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    1. Hi! Thanks for commenting. I'm glad that you've had a positive experience with castor oil. It's definitely great for reducing shedding and promoting hair strength.
      N

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  7. Hi,if somebody want to buy haitian castor oil per drum of 54 gallons in USA,I can supply at a best price. My name is Jean Antoine,tel 01150931705762,e-mail jean.antoine63@yahoo.fr . Thank you

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    1. Do u sell by 1 gallon? If so how much? My email is sucre20022002@yahoo.com, thank u

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  8. For years I've been telling my American friends about huile palma christi. I never realize that it is Castor Oil. This oil has many curative effects, it's unbelievable!!!

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    1. yes castor oil is the business! thanks for commenting. N

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  9. I went natural a while back and realized how popular this oil was, too - only it was attributed to Jamaican's. I've seen other companies - some that are clear and claim to be odorless, but I swear by ours. It may not smell as nice as most other natural hair products, but that's probably why it works so well ;-)

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    1. hi there! yesssss the smell may be a little of but hey it's magic! thanks for commenting :)
      stay engaged, N

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  10. i use it on my cut after my surgery for tyroide it's very good

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    1. oh wow that's fantastic. i'm glad to hear it was useful to help you in recovery. thanks for commenting, N.

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  11. nice write up, I know and used black castor oil, and actually have castor oil sitting under my cabinet. I only mix a little in my oil mixture, because it is one of my thicker oils. A friend came over and was explaining she got haitian oil and immediately her spots that are balding started growing back. I'm not a big user of this oil, because my hair is thick already and I'm not suffering from hair lost. But I like all the other things its good for.

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    1. hi there inner beauty, thanks for your comment. this oil really is great for so many things!
      cheers,N.

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  12. Thank you for this amazing article!..please post again where I can purchase it, I may have missed that in the previous threads.

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    1. hi there, thanks for commenting. you can buy it at local beauty supply stores, kreyolessence.com, or online.
      N

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  13. That L'huile is still my go to for every illness (flu, fever, colds) its the Haitian cure all! I laughed out loud when you mentioned every Haitian has a bottle wrapped in some brown tape, my bottle is in my cupboard wrapped in blue tape! Thanks for sharing!!

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    1. hello reece, thanks for commenting. i'm so proud to own these special brown-tape-wrapped-bottles of goodness :)
      stay engaged,N

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  14. I'm in Haiti for one more week and I just had some made for me in the countryside!!! Shout out to my peoples in Robiya (near Cap-Haitien). I can't wait to use it when I'm back in the States.

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    1. Awesome! This stuff is the business! Cheers,N.

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  15. Hey Naika, My name is Martine and I'm Haitian. I'm soon to come out with my line of product with the Haitian Black castor oil, A.k.A L'huile Mascreti" is the real name of the castor oil. I just want it to share one thing with you on your blog. You may include it on your direction for use Haitian black castor oil. For Fever, apply the castor oil with Vicks VapoRub on your chest, back, and on your temple, then cover yourself with a blanket, it will get rid of the fever within minute without no medication intake. This should only be done at bedtime. This is how Haitian Cure fever for adult and kids

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    1. You're right! One of the best way to use it.

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    2. Hello Martine. Thanks for your comment! Best of luck with your product line :) I love the concept of "Haitian Cure". N

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  17. Hello I want to know how to use it to eliminate stretch marks! Thanks in advance

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    1. Hi! I would rub a small amount on your area of concern 1-2/day for several months, while you track your progress. I hope you get the results you're looking for :) N.

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  18. How did I not know this. Mine is an a Barbancourt bottle on the bottle shelf of my linen closet. I am going to go home and mix it in everything. Heck, I have a headache and will rub some on my forehead. Thank you for this!!!

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  19. my daughter has been raving about castor oil, so I figured I'd try it. to my surprise it smelled & felt exactly the same way my huile palma christi felt. of course I go running into my bathroom & open the unlabeled brown bottle in my medicine cabinet & guess what ? it's the same oil I've been using since childhood, huile palma christi. we use it on skin, hair, sore muscles, fevers whatever!!!! Haiti Cheri!!!!!

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    1. Hi Lyn. It's amazing how that happens! Our people have such deep knowledge of palma christi- it's a beautiful thing :) N

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  20. What a blast from the Haitian past! Growing up a Haitian American with Haitian parents, every time something came up we had to get the huile palma christi. I HATED the stuff!! The smell, the taste, but most of all the fact that every relative who traveled to Haiti came back with a HUGE bottle for my mom, LOL. This stuff works for everything, trust me! Headaches, tummy ache, cough, stuffy nose, you name it. I only recently found out about benefits to hair.

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    1. Hey Pre10der! I also hated the stuff lol, but it really is so great and I appreciate it so much more as an adult :) N.

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  21. Wow....so true! My mom used it a couple of days ago for my son's runny nose and it helped a lot. She hasn't been to Haiti in a while yet always has an endless supply under the bathroom sink :)

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    1. Hey! wow, i never heard it used for a runny nose- i'm now so curious about what the mechanism is. good to know! N.

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    2. I use it on my son when he has a cold and is stuffy. As it is a lubricant it helps loosen the mucus. I rub it on his temple, his chest, his back by his ears his nose it. He even likes to put his fingers in the bootle and rub some on his face. He is 17 months old and is a believer.
      #BostonHaitianMama

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  22. Where can you find some legit Haitian Castor Oil?

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    1. Hi Lakeeya! You can try your local beauty supply store, Kreyol Essence, or any special connections you may have in Haiti ;)
      -N

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  23. Well I am a white girl. My Haitian friend told me about this. She has this plant growing in her yard. So if I want to use this for hair growth how do I do this? since my hair is not like Haitian hair it will not absorb the same. I will look like a grease head! The instructions said don't wash it out. What should I do? Would this work for me somehow, or not?

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    1. I would try mixing this oil with a deep conditioner or conditioner, that way it won't be so overwhelming. I would leave it on for 20 minutes, then rinse out. Everyone, regardless of race, can reap the benefits of castor oil! Try and see what happens.
      -N

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