Haiti Haitian American

Why Haitians Love Our Castor Oil (L’huile Palma Christi/Mascreti) via Naïka in Balance

Thank you for this information post by blogger Naika in Balance: 

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.

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 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
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    • The author said “huile palma Christi” NOT “huile palm”. “Huile palm” is palm oil BUT “huile palma christi” is palma Christi oil which is castor oil. The phrase palma Christi means hand of Christ. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castor_oil_plant

      Thanks for sharing, Wanda. I truly appreciate your post. I too have a bottle of l’huile mascreti that I got from my parents. It continues to be my go-to oil for many ailments. :). Have a blessed day!

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