What is Castor Oil?
Castor Oil is a very pale yellow liquid that is extracted from castor seeds (Ricinus Communis). It is an anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant oil which has been used for centuries for its therapeutic and medicinal benefits. It is believed that most of castor oil's benefits are derived from its high concentration of unsaturated fatty acids. Although it has a strong and rather unpleasant taste, castor oil is used in cosmetics, soaps, textiles, medicines, massage oils and many other everyday products.
What are the Benefits of Castor Oil?
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 illnesses and ailments:
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Parkinson's Disease
- Cerebral Palsy
- Hair loss
- Pain from Arthritis and Rheumatism
It has also been found to help with many everyday problems such as:
- Yeast Infections
- Gastrointestinal Problems
- Menstrual Disorders
- Athlete's Foot
- Skin Abrasions
Castor Oil is also commonly used to induce labour, so pregnant women should always consult a doctor before using it.
Uses of Castor Oil
Arthritis Natural Remedy
The anti-inflammatory properties of Castor Oil make it an excellent massage oil for relieving arthritic joints, nerve inflammations, and sore muscles.
- Make a small pad by folding a small piece of unbleached cotton flannelette into 3 or 4 layers.
- Dip the cotton pad into Castor Oil and place it on to the affected joint or muscle.
- Cover the pad with a plastic wrap.
- Place a hot water bottle or heating pad over the plastic wrapped cotton pad. The plastic wrap will prevent the water bottle or heating pad from getting oily.
- Leave the cotton pad on for 45 minutes to an hour, once per day.
This Castor Oil pack can be reused. Simply place it into a plastic ziplock bag and refrigerate it until it is ready to be used again. It can be refrigerated in a ziplock bag.
Studies have shown that Castor Oil is a very strong laxative, which makes it very effective against constipation. Therefore, simply take a teaspoon of castor oil in the morning. You can mix the oil with orange juice, cranberry juice, prune juice, or ginger juice to take away from the bitter taste without affecting the laxative effects. However, do not take it continuously for more than 3 days. If symptoms persist for longer than 3 days, consult your physician immediately.
Ringworm is known to be a stubborn condition to treat, but one of the active compounds of Castor Oil (Undecylenic Acid) has been found to be very effective at treating this fungal infection.
- Spray Castor leaves with some hot water and coarsely crush the leaves.
- Soak the leaves in pure coconut oil.
- Warm the leaves to a temperature that will not burn the skin, and apply the leaves over the affected area as a poultice.
- Leave on the skin for at least one hour, or optionally overnight.
- You may wrap the leaves with unbleached cotton fabric to prevent the oil from staining your bed sheets.
Repeat the procedure every night before going to bed until cured. However, if you notice any redness or discomfort around the area, discontinue this remedy.
Successful studies have approved the use of Castor Oil for skin infections and other skin problems such as sunburn, abrasions, acne, dry skin, boils, warts, stretch marks, liver/age spots, athletes foot and chronic itching and inflamed skin.
- Dip a cotton ball into Castor oil and apply it onto the affected skin in the morning and at night.
- Alternatively, for larger skin areas, soak an appropriately large piece of unbleached cotton cloth in Castor Oil and wrap the affected area overnight.
- If the area is very small, soak a Band-Aid in Castor Oil and cover the infected skin overnight.
For stubborn fungal infections that affect the skin or nails, it is recommended to soak the affected skin in Epsom Salt for 10-15 minutes to soften and disinfect the skin before applying Castor Oil. This can help speed up the healing process.
The anti-bacterial components of castor oil have been found to be effective against styes (oil gland infections on the eyelid). Simply apply a very small drop of the oil directly onto the stye 2 or 3 times per day.
Castor oil is a natural emollient that penetrates the skin and helps stimulate the production of collagen and elastin which can soften and hydrate the skin. Therefore, it is a wonderful natural treatment for wrinkles since it restores and rejuvenates skin's natural youthful appearance by making skin smoother, softer and pliant. Dip a small cotton ball into the oil and apply it on wrinkled skin before going to bed. Use only a small amount of oil when applying it to the skin near the eyes.
What are the Side Effects of Castor Oil?
Castor oil is normally safe if used in moderation.
However, pregnant and lactating women and people with intestinal blockage, acute inflammatory intestinal disease, appendicitis, or abdominal pain should not take Castor Oil without their doctor's approval.
Note that precautions must be taken when taking the oil internally, so you should always follow the directions on the package and consult your doctor or naturopathic professional before consuming it. A typical recommended dosage for the oil is no more than one-half to one full teaspoon per day. Overdosage of Castor Oil may result in diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain or cramping.
Where and How to Buy Castor Oil
Castor Oil is best purchased from a health food store, since the oil that can be found in a supermarket may be meant for industrial use only (which is not safe for human consumption). Look for cold-pressed or cold-processed oil only and confirm it with a naturopathic doctor before taking it. The color of the oil should be a very light or pale yellow.