It’s no secret that common household items are wonder drugs that come to our rescue in a lot of ways. Be it skin ailments, health issues, beauty fixes. Your kitchen cabinet holds a possible cure for them all. One such miracle lying around your house is Castor oil. Commonly known to people as a laxative, you’d be surprised to know of the many other benefits of castor oil.
Read on to find out more about its goodness!
The Best Benefits of Castor oil
Castor oil has a high concentration of the fatty acid Ricinoleic acid, which makes it a fantastic analgesic (pain-relieving), anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial agent. These properties make Castor oil the wonder remedy to watch out for in a plethora of areas you wouldn’t even have thought of. Broadly speaking, castor oil benefits may be categorised as-
- Health Benefits and Uses
- Beauty uses
- Hair Care
- Natural remedies
- Pregnancy and babies
- Around the house
Health Benefits and Uses
- Ricinoleic acid, which constitutes 90% of castor oil, has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties due to its activity as a decongestant on the lymphatic system.
- Treat insomnia by rubbing some castor oil on your eyelids before retiring for the night. Take care to not get any inside your eye however.
- Boosts immunity by stimulating the thymus gland to increase the white blood cell count.
- Increases the count of T-11 cells and lymphocytes in the body within hours of application. This signals the production of more antibodies to fight against foreign particles present in the body and cancerous cells.
- Can be absorbed transdermally by the skin. Especially beneficial for the hollow organs of the body such as the blood and lymphatic systems, uterus, fallopian tubes, gall bladder etc.
- Excellent stomach cleanser. Helps cure digestive problems like acidity, bloating, constipation etc.
- Used as a laxative but unlike other laxatives, castor oil begins activity in the small intestine and not the colon. Thus, all the wastes and toxins present in the body are flushed out more efficiently.
- Promotes circulation of fluids in the body.
- Potent fungicidal effect due to the presence of undecylenic acid, a breakdown product of ricinoleic acid.
- Stimulates the liver in hormone production.
- Castor oil packs may help dissolve uterine fibroids and non-cancerous ovarian cysts.
- Relieves ovarian pain and may help heal ruptured ovarian cysts.
- Apart from helping with menstrual cramps, the ricinoleic acid present in castor oil also helps open menstrual flow when delayed or painful or stopped.
- Application helps with improved efficiency of blood circulation through the pelvis.
- Can help reduce nerve inflammation.
- Castor oil has been used to help treat and manage the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, a nervous system disorder that affects movement.
- Due to its anti-inflammation properties, castor oil has been used to manage the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis, a disorder that affects the impulses from the brain and spinal cord causing degeneration of the voluntary muscles.
- To treat Cerebral Palsy, a disorder that affects movement and appears in early childhood.
- In parts of rural India, castor oil is used to stimulate flow of mother’s milk for breastfeeding. (Note that this practice is not scientifically validated)
- Dab some castor oil on the eyelids and keep it overnight to remove signs of fatigue.
- Moisturise skin and avoid wrinkles by rubbing some castor oil directly on the skin or in combination with lighter oils like jojoba or apricot. Castor oil promotes the production of elastin and collagen which in turn delay the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
- For thicker eyebrows, rub some castor oil into your eyebrows every night.
- Apply castor oil using a mascara brush to your eyelashes overnight for longer, dramatic lashes.
- As a natural lip balm to prevent chapped lips. Castor oil is a component of many over-the-counter lip medications which help to relieve dryness of lips.
- Treat acne faster using castor oil. Using oil to clear oil might sound contradictory but castor oil helps kill the acne-causing bacteria and soothe inflammation.
- For beautiful, healthy nails, massage some castor oil on your fingers every day and see the results within weeks.
- Remove moles and warts by massaging some castor oil mixed with baking soda onto the affected area everyday. Additionally, this treatment avoids scarring.
- As a gentle make-up cleanser to deep clean your pores without drying the skin out.
- Moisturises nail cuticles if used regularly.
- Fades blemishes.
- Recommended by doctors to reduce pigmentation.
- Enhances natural hair colour due to its ability to lock moisture within the hair shaft.
- Make your own mascara using castor oil and beeswax (2 tablespoons of oil mixed with one tablespoon of beeswax melted in a double boiler). Add cocoa/charcoal powder to get a brown/black mascara liquid, as desired.
- Softens rough age spots.
Benefits of Castor Oil For Hair
- Use as a home-made conditioner to soften and revitalise hair. To make this pack you’ll need two teaspoons of castor oil with one teaspoon of glycerin and one egg white.
- Helps relieve the itchiness and flaking caused by dandruff. For dry hair, use a mixture of a tablespoon each of castor oil and olive oil along with the juice of half a lemon. For oily hair, you’ll need a tablespoon each of castor oil, honey and aloe vera gel with the juice of half a lemon. Apply for half an hour before washing off.
- Promotes hair growth when massaged into the scalp everyday. Balding spots disappear and hair is seen to get thicker. Warm before application.
- Prevent and repair split ends by applying castor oil directly to the ends of damaged hair.
- Adds shine to your hair. Apply warm castor oil to your hair and leave overnight (or less) before washing off.
- Helps in relieving joint pain caused by arthritis. Mix with cayenne powder or turmeric and use on affected joints. Use a warm compress right after for instant relief.
- When used within safe limits, castor oil works as a wonderful laxative. Mix a teaspoon into some orange or cranberry juice each morning to keep your bowel movements regular.
- The fat burning compounds in castor oil help in weight loss.
- Helps relieve calluses when applied directly onto the affected area.
- Get rid of painful corns with a few topical applications of castor oil, a couple times a week.
- Soothe aching muscles with a relaxing castor oil massage. The Vitamin E present in castor oil also helps rejuvenate skin.
- Heals scratches and relieves the pain and inflammation caused by them.
- Cures ringworms and other fungal ailments.
- Shrinks hemorrhoids on the skin. Soak a cotton ball in castor oil and apply topically on the hemorrhoids a few times everyday.
- Reduces the appearance of scars by promoting the growth of healthy tissue around it.
- Helps heal cracked heels. Rub into heels and cover with socks to promote faster absorption, leave overnight. Do this daily to see positive results.
- Can be used in the eyes to soothe irritation caused by dust and other allergies
- Natural anti-allergen. Can help reduce allergies if taken daily (consulting a doctor before ingestion is highly recommended however).
- Helps reduce the nerve pain caused by exposed nerve roots that lead to toothaches.
- As contraception. There is reason to believe that a single dose of castor oil seeds with the outer coat removed may work as a contraceptive for up to 8-12 months. Research in this area is still on. 55. Some women use castor oil inside the vagina as contraception or to cause an abortion.
- Prevents premature graying when applied to hair by locking the pigment in.
- People with dry eyes may find it helpful to use eye drops containing castor oil.
- Disinfects wounds and scrapes. Helps relieve pain.
- Relieves backaches.
- Gets rid of stye infections (pus filled lump found on eyelids, caused by Staphylococcus bacteria).
- Helps relieve headaches and migraine.
- In oil enemas
Pregnancies and Babies
- Helps prevent (before delivery) and lighten (post delivery) stretch marks caused by pregnancy when rubbed directly onto the skin.
- Can help induce labour in women though it must be noted that doctors advice against this.
- Treats colic in babies minus the medication. Warm some castor oil and massage on your baby’s belly to relieve him/her of pain.
Around The House
- As a lubricant for kitchen appliances like scissors, grinders.
- Get rid of garden moles without the guilt of having to kill them. Mix half a cup of castor oil with 2 gallons of water and pour down the molehills. This will force the moles to seek shelter elsewhere.
- Gardening enthusiast? If your ferns seem to be looking too dull, spruce them up with a little fix-me-up using castor oil. Prepare a mix using a tablespoon each of castor oil and baby shampoo in 4 cups of warm water. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of this mix around the ferns followed by regular watering.
- Acts as a good carrier oil for essential oils. Can be mixed with a variety of oils for giving massages.
- Use castor oil to treat minor wounds and cuts on your pets. Unlike medicated topical ointments that pets tend to lick away, castor oil is edible and therefore, safe even if ingested.
- As a natural preservative. Grains and pulses can be stored for the long-term by coating them with a thin layer of castor oil. Remember to wash before future use.
- Natural insect repellent.
- As an alternative to grease in lubricating machines.
- Does not spoil rubber unlike other oils. Therefore, can be safely used in machines and instruments that have rubber parts.
- In home made soaps to add lather and moisturizing properties.
- As a carrier oil in DIY perfumes.
NOTE- Due to its strong laxative effect, Castor oil is not generally used as a cooking oil. However, in some recipes a drop or two of Castor oil may be used in addition with other oils to soften pulses.
Chemical Profile Of Castor Oil
A member of the triglyceride family, Castor oil is majorly composed of Ricinoleic acid, a mono unsaturated fatty acid. This Ricinoleic acid is what lends to Castor oil many of its astonishing properties, starting with that as a laxative. It also helps in the usage of castor oil as feedstock in industries with a commendable market price. Oleic acid and linoleic acid are other major components of this oil. Stearic acid, Palmitic acid and Dihydroxystearic acid are found in small percentages too.
Castor oil is a pale to colourless yellow liquid obtained from pressing the seeds of the castor oil plant (Ricinus communis). In its original form, Castor oil may contain the toxin ‘ricin’ which is removed during processing, thus rendering it safe for use.
- While mostly harmless, some people may be allergic to castor oil leading to rashes. Always do a patch test on the skin of your wrist or forearm to confirm.
- Do not ingest in case of intestinal blockage, acute inflammatory intestinal disease, appendicitis or abdominal pain. Consult a doctor before further use.
- An overdose of castor oil may lead to diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and cramping.
- In rural India there exists the practice of feeding castor oil to newborn infants for the first two to three days of their life. It is done to clear the intestine of meconium (first faeces of a newborn infant). This practice should be avoided as it has been found that it may result in paralytic ileus (intestinal blockage without an actual obstruction due to damage to intestinal muscles and nerves) and aspiration pneumonia (infection caused due to inhalation of food, liquid or vomit into the lungs) in the newborn infants. An instance of hypoalbuminemia (very low albumin level in the blood) was also reported due to this practice.
So now that you know about the many, many benefits of castor oil, what are you waiting for? Rush to the drug store and check out its goodness for yourself today!