Castor Oil For Health

How To Beat Arthritis This Winter Using Castor Oil

Who doesn’t love winters? The clean air, the smell of pine and eucalyptus, even the bonfires of winter seem to fill the world with incense. People stroll about the streets dressed in their overcoats and mitts and scarves like characters of a children’s book come to life. Gone is the brashness of summer, with its heat and irritation, to be replaced instead with soft mottled light that gives everything such a whimsical quality.

Ah, winter!

For such a lovely time of the year, it seems nothing short of sinful that some of us are forced to dread its very arrival. The pain, the stiffness, the sudden inability to get anything done is made a hundred times worse once winter sets in. And if you, or anyone you know, have had arthritis, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Attention, All Arthritis Sufferers!

(By ‘all’, I mean not just the regular lot, but those of you suffering from any kind of arthritis.)

Surprised much?

It may (or may not) astonish you to know that arthritis by itself isn’t really any disease. Common symptoms of joint pain, swelling, stiffness and decreased motion aside, it is an umbrella term for a host of diseases that are grouped under this cluster – nearly 100+ of them. It can affect people of any age, gender or race, and hence there is a wide diversity of conditions under this group.

Types of Arthritis

For the purposes of this article, however, we’re going to be talking about three very well known forms – Rheumatoid Arthritis, Osteoarthritis, and Psoriatic Arthritis.

1. Rheumatoid Arthritis

Have you ever woken up at morning, feeling like someone somewhere is sticking pins in a voodoo doll that goes by your name? Your joints feel gridlocked, you’re screaming in agony, and the stiffness that takes hold come morning, takes hours to ease away.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune disorder wherein your body’s own cells are attacking you. An auto-immune disorder is so named because the body’s immune cells start to malfunction and attack its own cells instead of foreign invaders. RA is the most common form of arthritis and is seen to affect women (especially if you’re in the age group of 40-60) more than men. It mostly affects the bones of the hand – the wrist and the small joints such as the knuckles and mid-joints of the fingers – and the stiffness and pain may last all morning. Often, lumps called ‘rheumatoid nodules’ may be felt under the skin in places like the hands and elbows. Due to the inflammatory nature of this condition, the joints may turn red or hot too.

RA may be a temporary or permanent condition (depending on the person). But one thing is for certain – early diagnosis and treatment can definitely go a long way in battling this problem.

2. Osteoarthritis

Are you someone who used to love pottering around the garden, but the very idea of spending long hours on your haunches is starting to give you a fright now? Or have you been an avid gym enthusiast for years but now find that your relationship with the treadmill is best termed as ‘friend-turned-foe’? If joint pains are the reason you’re shying away from these once-beloved activities, chances are you are suffering from osteoarthritis. And for someone who’s constantly on their toes, OA can be a debilitating nightmare.

Unlike rheumatoid arthritis that is an auto-immune disorder, osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease. It occurs due to the deterioration of the cells of the cartilage (the shock absorber to your joints) and the underlying bone due to daily wear and tear of the joints. As such, it is seen to affect both men and women of any age, but its chances greatly increase as one gets older. People who engage in strenuous physical activity might be susceptible too. Common symptoms include joint pain and stiffness, with the pain getting worse as the day progresses (this is in contrast to RA where the pain is at its worst early in the morning). OA is a chronic disease and cannot be cured as of now. Early diagnosis and treatment can help manage its symptoms, however.

Injury and obesity have also been seen to cause osteoarthritis. In the case of obesity-induced osteoarthritis, losing weight can help improve the symptoms.

3. Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin condition that causes the skin to get red, itchy, and scaly. It is a common skin condition, and there is no known cure for it though the symptoms can be managed with adequate treatment.

If you or someone in your family suffers from psoriasis, chances are you might develop a condition known as Psoriatic arthritis. Similar to rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis is an inflammatory condition that affects the joints. Men and women are at equal risk, especially if they are between the ages of 30-50. Common symptoms are joint pain and swelling with the accompanying skin psoriasis. It is possible, however, to develop arthritis before psoriasis if you are affected with this condition. There is no known cure for this condition though early diagnosis and treatment can help manage its symptoms.

As mentioned above, arthritis can be a debilitating nightmare. And as a chronic condition that affects people for the remainder of their lifetime, treatment can be a cumbersome and expensive affair. In such cases, it is often helpful to know small tricks and remedies that can save you from making a hasty visit to the emergency room. One such home remedy you must stock up on is castor oil. Let’s take a look why.

Castor Oil For Arthritis Pain

The castor plant (Ricinus communis) is native to India and Africa and forms a part of many traditional medicine remedies. The castor oil, derived from the seeds of the castor plant, has a very high percentage of ricinoleic acid (more than 90%). It is the presence of this unique fatty acid that lends to castor oil its properties as a strong analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial agent and makes it such a potent panacea for all your medical issues.

How Does Castor Oil Help With Arthritis?

Arthritis, as we know, causes severe joint pain and is an inflammatory disorder (in case of rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis). But notice we said, ‘castor oil is a strong analgesic and anti-inflammatory agent’? Castor oil, even when applied topically, is readily absorbed by the skin and once in, is very effective in relieving pain and inflammation of the joints.

Additionally, using castor oil has been seen to improve the activity of the immune system. Considering these benefits, castor oil is pretty much the most potent home remedy you can lay your hands on to get your arthritis under control. In fact, some people have even vouched for how regular use of castor oil for joint pain helped them.

How To Use Castor Oil For Arthritis Relief?

Castor oil may be used in a variety of ways to deal with the pain and inflammation caused by arthritis. Provided below is a brief description of the method and materials you’ll need to treat arthritis using castor oil.

1. Use Castor Oil Topically

A. You Will Need

  • A bottle of hexane-free castor oil
  • Cotton cloth

B. How To Do This

  • Warm some castor oil in the microwave or over the gas.
  • Soak the cotton cloth in the warm castor oil. Wring to remove excess oil.
  • Place the cloth over the affected areas – the joints and swollen parts of the body.
  • Allow the oil to penetrate the skin by leaving the cloth in place for half an hour. Do this twice a day, every day, for best results.

2. As A Castor Oil Pack

A. You Will Need

  • A bottle of hexane-free castor oil
  • A medium-sized piece of flannel
  • Plastic wrap
  • Hot water bottle
  • An old towel

B. How To Do This

  • Heat 4 oz of castor oil in the microwave for 45 seconds. Remember to use a glass dish.
  • Soak the flannel in the hot castor oil. Allow it to soak up the oil.
  • Sit/lie down in a comfortable chair or bed. Use the towel to support the area you’re going to use the pack on to keep it elevated.
  • Cover the affected joint with the flannel soaked in castor oil.
  • Use the plastic wrap to bind the flannel to the affected area. Place the hot water bottle on top of the plastic wrap.
  • Keep the pack on for 45 minutes to an hour. Use it twice a day, three times a week for best results (use for three consecutive days, followed by four days of rest). Can also be used for shorter durations of 20 minutes whenever you feel the pain setting in.

3. As a Massage Oil

A. You Will Need

  • A bottle of hexane-free castor oil

B. How To Do This

  • Warm some castor oil over the stove or in a microwave.
  • Take a few drops in your hand and rub your hands together to spread the oil evenly over the palms.
  • Depending on the affected area, you may use choose to opt for a lymphatic massage, Swedish massage or Petrissage.

Lymphatic massage – To do this, cover the affected joint/muscle with oil. Use light, patterned strokes on the affected area (going down and out). This helps in detoxifying the body of the excess fluid collected due to inflammatory processes as seen in rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis.

Swedish massage – Spread the oil on the affected area. Use your fingers to trace circular patterns and long strokes on the aching joint. Vary the pressure to suit your comfort.

Petrissage – Spread the oil on the affected joint/muscle. Lift the skin wherever it aches and gently roll and knead it. Works best to soothe aching muscles.

• Massage regularly for 15 minutes twice a day to see best results.

Check to see if you’re allergic to castor oil by doing the PATCH TEST

Prior to using castor oil for arthritis, check to see if you’re allergic to it by doing a patch test. Apply a small amount of castor oil on your wrist or forearm. If the area gets inflamed (turns red and/or develops rashes/bumps), you’re allergic to castor oil, and further use is not recommended. It is better to consulting a physician before trying anything.


Castor oil use should be avoided by

  • Very young children (children aged below 4 years).
  • Pregnant women. The laxative property of castor oil causes strong pelvic contractions that may expel the foetus. Consumption in any form is, thus, not advised. Consult a doctor before using castor oil for topical application too.
  • Liver patients.
  • People suffering from diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, etc.

Try these castor oil-based remedies to beat arthritis this winter, and rediscover the joy of being able to do all your favorite winter activities. Don’t let aching joints stand in the way of that misty morning walk. We hope we helped!

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