For centuries, castor oil has been used by natural healers all around the world. Its use goes as far back as the ancient Egyptians, who used it to treat eye irritations and as a powerful natural skin care remedy.
It is affordable and highly underrated given the benefits it has to offer. Castor oil can improve immune function, works as antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal, and has been used to treat a variety of skin conditions.
What is Castor oil?
Castor oil is obtained from the castor bean plant (Ricinus communis), composed of fatty acids, with over 90 percent being ricinoleic acid. It is this fatty acid that provides castor oil with its unique health benefits, seeing as how ricinoleic acid is not found in many other substances. Castor oil is produced by cold-pressing the castor bean seeds to extract their natural oil content.
Medicinal uses of Castor oil
Castor oil contains many beneficial components, including fatty acids, phenolic compounds, flavonoids, amino acids, phytosterols, and terpenoids. Castor oil has been most popularly used for treating skin infections, constipation, and improving hair health.
However, its benefits have been proven far beyond just those. It also acts as a labor stimulant, anti-inflammatory and analgesic, immune system and lymphatic stimulant as well as antimicrobial.
1. Inflammation fighter
Castor oil is often used for treating arthritis pain, joint swelling and other pain-related inflammation such as that experienced in the lower back. It possesses natural anti-inflammatory properties, which makes it a great massage oil.
A randomized, double-blind, comparative clinical study looked at the effects of castor oil capsules on symptoms of knee osteoarthritis. Subjects were either given a castor oil capsule (0.9 milliliters) three times daily for four weeks or a capsule of diclofenac sodium (50 milligrams) for the same amount of time. Overall, they found that castor oil worked as well as conventional treatment and can be used as “an effective therapy in primary knee osteoarthritis.”
The anti-inflammatory effects of castor oil can also extend to sciatica, which is highly inflammatory in itself. Applying castor oil to the back of your thigh, hip and lower back area in the form of massage would be helpful, or devising a way to apply a castor oil pack to your upper back hip area would also be useful.
Castor oil stimulates the production of lymphocytes, which help fight disease and help combat endometriosis. Research has shown that castor oil packs applied abdominally act as anti-toxins that impact the lymphatic delivery system.
After a 2-hour therapy period with castor oil packs, the study found a “significant” temporary increase in the number of T-11 cells that increased over a 7 hour period following treatment, upon which they returned to normal.
“The T-11 cell increase represents a general boost in the body’s specific defense status. Lymphocytes actively defend the health of the body by forming antibodies against pathogens and their toxins. T-cell lymphocytes originate from bone marrow and the thymus gland as small lymphocytes that identify and kill viruses, fungi, bacteria, and cancer cells. T-11 cell lymphocytes supply a fundamental antibody capability to keep the specific defense system strong.”
The production of these cells is perhaps why people suffering from endometriosis gain relief from using castor oil packs. The action of these cells may very well help dissolve uterine fibroids and prevent the pain associated with them via anti-inflammatory mechanisms stated above.
3. Boost circulation
Proper blood flow and a healthy lymphatic system go hand in hand. When the lymphatic system fails (develops retention of fluids and toxins), it’s much more likely someone will have circulatory problems. This is due to the fact that the lymphatic circulatory system works directly with the cardiovascular circulatory system to keep blood and lymphatic fluid levels in an optimal balance.
According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, “A growing body of evidence reveals that the lymphatic system influences the health of multiple organs, including the heart, lung, and brain.” So castor’s oil ability to positively affect the lymphatic system likely means better overall circulation and a health boost to major organs like the heart.
4. Cancer fighter
By improving lymphatic function you will also stimulate your immune system. This makes castor oil a great cancer fighter. As mentioned above, castor oil increases the production of lymphocytes, which are natural disease-fighters that attack anything inside the body that should be there like bacteria, toxins, and other perceived threats like cancer.
Ricinoleic acid in castor oil also possesses the ability to draw toxins and other poisonous components out of the tissues, thereby restoring health to the parts of your body that are negatively affected.
Other health benefits of Castor:
- Apply to the skin to treat wounds and bruises.
- Apply to the skin to prevent stretch marks.
- A few drops in the ear can help with hearing loss.
- Combine with baking soda to lighten dark spots like acne scars.
- Applying to the hair overnight will boost hair growth.
- Eliminate nail fungus with daily use of oil on affected areas.
- Relieve pain and itching from insect bites and bee stings.
- Take internally to relieve constipation
How to make a Castor oil pack
Castor oil packs are one of the most efficient and economical methods of infusing ricinoleic acid (and other healing components of castor oil) directly into your tissues and bloodstream.
To use castor oil, you can either apply it directly on the area of the skin that’s affected (and cover it with a bandaid if it’s a small area), use it as a massage oil, or you can do a castor oil pack. These are for larger applications, such as for endometriosis, and you’ll need a few things to make them.
First, you’ll need your castor oil, then a hot water bottle or heating pad, some plastic wrap, some organic cotton flannel (a piece large enough to cover the entire treatment area when folded in thirds), and one large old bath towel.
1. Fold your flannel into three layers thick, or stack three squares large enough to cover the abdomen/stomach area.
2. Soak flannel with the oil so that it is completely saturated.
3. Lie on your back comfortably on your bed or on a couch. Place the flannel pack directly onto your abdomen, and cover with a sheet of plastic, next placed on top with a hot water bottle or heating pad.
4. Cover everything with a towel to insulate the heat, and leave on for 20-30 minutes.
5. Once finished, wash the oil off with water and soap or baking soda and water if it won’t come off.
6. Don’t throw out the flannel. Keep it in a large ziplock bag and store it away. You can re-use about several times, re-saturating it with oil for each use.
7. Apply at least four consecutive days per week for one month.
What type of Castor oil should you buy?
As with most products you apply to the skin, you should opt for oils that have been grown without the use of pesticides, and that have been extracted without the use of solvents or other chemicals. Make sure you buy organic, hexane-free, cold-pressed castor oil, as this will provide you with the best benefits.
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