As a parent, relative, teacher, guardian or friend of an autistic child, you would agree with me when I say that autistic children are special in every sense of the term. In the words of Dr. Temple Grandin, an animal behavioralist and world-famous autism spokesperson, ‘What would happen if the autism gene was eliminated from the gene pool? You would have a bunch of people standing around in a cave, chatting and socializing, and not getting anything done’.
True enough. A lot of autistic children have gone on to become celebrated musicians, artists, actors, scientists, and authors while others have made a name for themselves in their chosen fields. Most have managed functional lives in a conventional society, which calls for a hurray too. But as someone raising an autistic child is aware, it requires one to be parent, teacher, friend, doctor, therapist, and guide – all in one. The times they hurt themselves, are ill, or in pain are possibly the worst due to their tendency to shut themselves off from the rest of the world. What does one do in such a situation?
- 1 Castor Oil For Autism – As A Home Remedy
- 2 So Where Can Castor Oil Help?
- 3 To Make A Castor Oil Pack
Castor Oil For Autism – As A Home Remedy
As a spectrum disorder, each case of autism is unique in itself and manifests differently from individual to individual. In cases of small scrapes or illnesses, many-a-parent has been found to prefer natural or home remedies to avoid adding to the child’s medication. As such, natural remedies are non-invasive, effective, and friendly options for those looking to treat their child in the comfort of their homes – a huge plus for households with autistic children.
Castor oil, as a natural remedy, has been part of many traditional medicine schools for centuries. Ayurvedic and Unani treatises describe how castor oil is a potent remedy for multiple pain-causing, inflammatory, bacterial, and fungal diseases. It exhibits these properties due to the presence of a monounsaturated fatty acid, ricinoleic acid, which is found in this oil in concentrations of 90% and above. In a study published in the journal ‘Mediators of Inflammation’ by C Vieira et al. in 2000, it was found that ricinoleic acid has analgesic (pain relieving) and anti-inflammatory properties .
So Where Can Castor Oil Help?
Due to the high content of ricinoleic acid, castor oil is a wonderful home remedy for treating –
1. Small Scrapes and Bruises
In case of small bruises and scrapes from minor falls and accidents, consider dabbing a small amount of castor oil on the affected area to help deal with the inflammation and pain. Remember not to get any oil in open wounds.
2. Fungal Infections Under the Nail
Due to castor oil’s potent antifungal effect, apply small amounts directly to any fungal infections that you find developing under the finger or toenails. Just a few applications over a week or two should be enough to deal with the infection.
3. Warts and Blemishes
Castor oil forms a major component of many cosmetic products. In fact, you might be surprised to note just how many of your drugstore products have ‘Ricinus communis’ listed on the back. Use a small amount of castor oil directly on warts or blemishes for 2-3 weeks to see a visible difference in their appearance.
Trichotillomania or the hair-pulling disorder has been documented in many autistic children. If your child has a habit of pulling his/her hair out too, gently rub some warm castor oil into his/her hair. Apart from its soothing properties that will help calm your child, applying castor oil will help with the pain and inflammation and aid the growth of new hair.
Many parents have vouched for the effectiveness of castor oil in helping their children deal with eczema. For those who are unaware, eczema is another term for rashes on the skin. Use castor oil packs (described below) or a warm castor oil massage to treat your child for a minor case of eczema.
Use a small amount of warm castor oil on the affected areas to relieve your child of the inflammation caused by sunburns.
7. Stomach Ache and Other Pains
Castor oil’s analgesic (pain relieving) properties have long been discussed and studied (as mentioned above). If you are looking for a non-invasive method to help your child deal with his/her pain, use a castor oil pack as described below.
8. For Detoxification
Castor oil is also a fantastic remedy for those looking for a make-at-home detoxification pack. If your child has been
- eating poorly
- having a tongue that is coated white or yellow
- craving sweets/other foods
- developing breakouts in the form of acne/pimples
- putting on weight around his/her stomach
- having sinuses that are congested/filled with fluid
chances are that he/she might be in need of an urgent detox to flush out the toxins and get his/her digestive system back in order.
Due to its high fatty acid content, castor oil is rapidly absorbed by the skin and penetrates deep into the body. As a detoxification pack, it stimulates the function of the liver and increases the ability of the body to flush out toxins more efficiently. Studies too have reported its effect on the lymphatic system and its role in increasing the circulation of lymphatic fluid. This lymphatic fluid is, in fact, the system that circulates around the body and fights pathogens like bacteria and viruses, thus keeping infections at bay.
To Make A Castor Oil Pack
You Will Need
- A bottle of hexane-free, 100% organic castor oil
- A piece of cloth – wool/cotton/flannel
- Plastic wrap
- Old sheets
- A comforter
- Baking soda
How To Do This
- Warm some castor oil in a microwave or over the stove. If you are microwaving, remember to use a glass dish.
- Get your child to lie on a bed or a sofa, wherever he/she feels comfortable. Place old towels or sheets under him/her as castor oil has a tendency to stain.
- Dip the cloth in warm castor oil. Wring to remove excess oil.
- Place the cloth on your child’s lower abdomen (or wherever it hurts).
- Bind the cloth to your child’s belly using a plastic wrap. Don’t let the binding be too tight lest he/she become uncomfortable. Don’t let it be too loose either, especially if he/she’s young and/or might entangle himself/herself in it. Skip this step altogether if it makes your child uncomfortable.
- Cover the wrap with a soft blanket or your child’s favorite comforter (avoid getting castor oil on them as the stains are extremely difficult to remove). This is known as a castor oil pack.
- Leave the pack on for half an hour or overnight (depending on your choice). Use a wet sponge soaked in warm baking soda infused water to wipe the castor oil off your child’s abdomen.
Note – In case your child does not want to use this pack or doesn’t stay still long enough, let him/her be. Do not agitate him/her further by forcing contact or getting him/her to stay still. An ideal time to try this pack would be at night, before your child goes to bed. Do this in his favourite room/bed/sofa so as to maximise his/her sense of familiarity and comfort. Consult his/her doctor for advice.
Patch Test – Before using castor oil on your child, do a patch test to ensure that he or she is not allergic to it. Simply dab a small amount of castor oil on his/her forearm or wrist. If the area turns red or inflamed, further use is not advised.
Handling a child with autism can be tricky business. But you’ve come so far, and for that, we doff our hats to you. As you continue to navigate these waters with hope and positivity, we hope our tiny bit of advice on using castor oil for autism helps.