Castor oil is a vegetable oil extracted from the seeds of castor plant (Scientific Name: Ricinis Communis). With high concentration of unsaturated fatty acids, castor oil has potential to do magic with your skin, hair, and even inner organs. Commonly used by Ayurvedic practitioners and naturopaths for therapeutic and medicinal purpose, castor oil is also widely in textile industry, cosmetics, medicines and massage oils. Ironically,the castor plant which is known for its numerous health benefits is also the source of one of the deadliest toxins on earth. Though the oil is not toxic and the entire deadly portion is left behind in the pulp of the seeds.
Castor oil is a triglyceride of fatty acids. Approximately 90% of its fatty acid content is made up of ricinoleic acid, which is responsible for castor oil’s unique healing properties. Ricinoleic acid can be effective in preventing the growth of viruses, bacteria, yeasts and molds and therefore castor oil works well in various types of fungus and infections of skin and scalp. Let’s discover more of its uses and benefits.
Uses and Benefits of Castor Oil:
In naturopathy castor oil is used to reduce the inflammation and support the liver for optimal function. Besides this, it also increases the blood circulation, boost the immune system, and speed up the healing process of tissues. While Castor oil is mostly used externally, it can be used internally to maximize the benefits but it is important to discuss your physician before planning to consume the castor oil.
Castor Oil to Reduce Pain from Arthritis and Rheumatism
The anti-inflammatory properties of castor oil make it excellent massage oil for relieving arthritic joints, nerve inflammations, and stinging muscles. Castor oil can be used in several ways topically. You can simply rub castor oil onto an affected area of your skin or you can affix a Band-aid soaked in castor oil if only a very small area needs to be treated.
- Make a small pad of cotton by folding into 3 to 4 layers.
- Dip the pad into Castor Oil and put on to the affected joint or muscle.
- Place a hot water bottle or heating pad over the cotton pad.
- Leave the cotton pad on for 45 minutes to an hour.
Some people also suggest that drinking a little amount of castor oil is more effective than applying a topical pack to reduce the arthritis or joint pain.
Castor Oil for Constipation Remedy
Castor oil is very effective remedy for constipation. As it is very strong laxative, taking a teaspoon of castor oil in the morning will relieve constipation, though the regular consumption of castor oil may result in adverse health effects.
Castor Oil is being used since a long time to induce labor, so pregnant women should not use castor oil without consulting a doctor.Castor oil is a laxative andstimulates the bowels. It can lead to cramps and tightening of the muscles in the intestines. These cramps may extend to the uterus, tightening the uterine muscles and stimulating contractions. These contractions may lead to the onset of active labor. However using castor oil for induction is not recommended without consulting a medical practitioner and is not recommended in a complex pregnancy.
Beauty Benefits of Castor Oil
Castor Oil for Wrinkles and Liver Spots
Castor oil is such an effective moisturizer and emollient that it is commonly used as an anti-wrinkle treatment. Rub castor oil over the area affected by wrinkles or liver spots and allow the oil to soak in to the skin. It will diminish the appearance of age spots and wrinkles around the eyes, and improve the skin complexion and softness. (Also read home remedies for hyperpigmentation)
Castor Oil for Pimples and Acne
Ricinoleic acid, the main ingredient in castor oil, has antiseptic abilities. When applied to pimples, castor oil cleans and penetrates the skin deeper to kill the bacteria. Instead of drying out the skin like other acne treatments do, castor oil benefits the skin by calming inflammation and leaving the skin hydrated. Read more home remedies to get rid of acne naturally
To treat acne, dab a hot damp washcloth all over your face in the evening before you go to bed. The heat will gently open the skin pores on your face. After this, massage a little castor oil gently into the skin and leave it overnight.
Castor Oil for Sunburn
Applying castor oil on affected skin helps to cure sunburn and its various symptoms such as reddish skin, irritation etc.
Castor Oil treats Athlete’s Foot
Apply a castor oil soaked cloth on the affected area. If it is small enough, a band-aid with a few drops of castor oil can be used instead.
Castor Oil prevents stretch marks
Rub a little amount of castor oil over the affected areas daily to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy or periods of weight gain.
Castor Oil for Ringworm
Ringworm is known to be a stubborn condition to treat, but one of the active compounds of Castor Oil has been found to be very effective at treating this fungal infection. Apply castor oil to the affected area of skin 4-5 times daily to get rid of ringworm.
Castor Oil for Moles and Warts
Rub castor oil into moles or warts every night. The moles will start to shrink over a few weeks, and continued use will eventually take out the mole without any scarring. Keep a hot, wet towel on the mole for a minute and then apply castor oil over there, and then reapply the towel for another minute. Repeat the procedure daily few times and within 2 -3 months moles or warts will be completely disappeared.
Is castor oil good for hair? Yes, since ages, especially in India, castor oil is being used to improve the quality of the hair. Many people add it to their conditioner or use the oil as a moisturizing treatment. Massaging with hot castor oil into your hair for a twice-a-week is very effective treatment to get rid of the dandruff and dry hair.
The anti-bacterial and anti-fungicidal properties of Ricinoleic acid in castor oil protect the scalp and hair from infections that can cause hair loss. When rubbed into the scalp, castor oil actually makes the hair grow faster. Rubbing castor oil on your scalp and the roots of your hair will regenerate new hair growth within months. This will also thicken thinning hair. Some people even apply castor oil to their eyelashes to increase their volume and length.
Castor oil can also be used by mixing with egg yolks, onion juice, kefir, sour cream, aloe vera and various herbal infusions to treat the hair problems.
What are the Side Effects of Castor Oil?
The potent toxin ricinis made from a protein in the castor seeds that, if ingested orally, nasally, or injected, gets into the ribosomes of your cells where it prevents protein synthesis, which kills the cells. This toxin is made from the pulp that is left behind after processing castor seeds into oil. Eating just 5 to 10 castor seeds would be fatal. Once poisoned, there is no antidote of ricin. That is why it has been used as a chemical warfare agent. Even though such a toxic component is derived from this seed, castor oil isn’t considered dangerous.
Castor oil is normally safe if used in moderate quantities. However, pregnant or lactating women and people with intestinal blockage, acute inflammatory intestinal disease, appendicitis, or abdominal pain should not take castor oil without consulting a doctor or naturopathic professional. You should always follow the directions on the package and precautions must be taken when taking the oil internally before consuming it. A typical recommended dosage for the oil is no more than 1/2 to 1 teaspoon per day. Over dosage of Castor Oil may result in diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain or cramping.
Where to buy castor oil?
Castor oil should be very light or pale yellow in its appearance and possess a strong musty aroma. Due to its constant high demands, castor oil is one of the most adulterated commodities.
When mixed with Argemone seeds, castor oil can cause serious health problems including Dropsy where the human body gets swelled due to excessive fluid accumulation. It becomes the responsibility of the consumer to make sure that castor oil purchased is purest in its composition and will not harm the user in any way.
It is suggested to purchase it from a certified health food store and buying only those brands which carry the purity certification mark from the respective government association. Make sure to buy cold-pressed or cold-processed and hexane-free castor oil and confirm it with a naturopathic doctor before going to use it.