These days, castor oil, like many of mother nature’s gifts, are at best dismissed as an ‘alternative’ therapy. However, castor oil has been used and recommended for its powerful medicinal and curative effects for centuries by physicians.
But as science and cynicism have replaced the desire to heal sickness with the modern-day desire to protect drug & pharmaceutical profits, much of this valuable information has been forgotten.
What is Castor Oil?
Castor oil is extracted from the seeds of the castor oil plant (ricinus communis). The seeds produce 1/4 of their weight in oil. The extracted oil is pale yellow and transparent. It has little taste or smell, and causes a slight burning in the throat when swallowed on its own.
When handling castor oil, be sure to protect your clothing or bedding from drips as castor oil can stain fabric irreversibly (although Arm & Hammer washing soda may help remove castor oil stains).
In Spanish, castor oil is called Aceite de Ricino or Aceite de Castor. In India, where the plant is native, it is called Erand Oil (Velakennai in Tamil). It is known as Kharwa in Arabic. In China, it is known as Ma Hong Liang. It is known as Minyak Jarak in Indonesia.
Castor Oil use through the ages
There is evidence that it was cultivated in England as early as 1562 but castor oil use goes back even further. In ancient Rome, the castor oil plant was also called the Palma Christi, or the hand of Christ. 4,000 year-old castor bean seeds have been discovered in Egyptian tombs. Historical documents reveal that castor oil was used medicinally in Egypt, India, and China as well as Persia, Africa, Greece and Rome.
The Healing Properties of Castor Oil
While the castor bean contains toxins that make it poisonous, the oil has only trace amounts of those toxins and instead of poisoning the body, causes purgative effects instead. When rubbed into the skin, castor oil penetrates deeper than any other essential plant oils. Rubbing castor oil on the skin relieves pain, reduces inflammation, detoxifies the body and boosts lymphatic circulation.
Castor oil also contains Ricinoleic Acid, a very unusual fatty acid that can be found only in castor beans and ergot (a fungus). Ricinoleic Acid inhibits the growth of many bacteria, viruses, molds and yeasts. This is why castor oil has been known to work well on acne as well as other skin conditions like ringworm, keratoses, scars, and fungal infections. Read more about castor oil’s uses for beautiful, healthy skin and hair.
Many ailments can be cured with Castor Oil – but skepticism abounds
Castor Oil has many medicinal uses, including constipation (when taken internally), relief from pain, inflammation and stomach problems. It also has cosmetic uses and has been said to restore a youthful glow, and maintain smooth and supple skin.
Unfortunately, castor oil’s humble nature and its long list of medicinal uses generally cause people to view it with skepticism. It is also virtually unknown within the medical community or dismissed as a poison, which is unfortunate because so many take their cue from those folks in white coats. I personally think it is far too long that we have equated skepticism and cynicism with intelligence. There is much more to healing than what science can adequately explain.
1. Castor Oil is a mild and effective laxative
A half ounce of castor oil taken internally will have a quick and mild laxative effect, giving relief for constipation. To improve the taste, take the oil by floating in a glass of warm milk or mixing it with a fresh egg yolk.
2. Castor Oil expels tape worms and other intestinal worms
Castor oil taken internally has been documented to discharge tape worms successfully. Take a tablespoon of castor oil in a glass of warm milk in the morning and at night. The worms will be passed out of your system.
3. Castor Oil relieves arthritis, back pain and muscle aches
Castor oil applied topically can give immense relief from arthritis, back pain and general muscle aches and soreness.
You can improve its effectiveness by applying a cloth soaked in castor oil over the painful joint and covering it with plastic (such as cling film). Place a hot water bottle over this (this method is also known as a ‘castor oil pack’). The heat will help the castor oil to penetrate your inflamed tissues and joints.
Even without external heat, a castor oil pack will still work wonders. Just leave it on for longer. You can do this easily by putting the castor oil pack on before going to bed, leaving it to work overnight.
4. Castor oil cures sleeplessness and insomnia
If you suffer from insomnia, rub a little castor oil over your eyelids before going to bed. Castor oil applied this way will bring about a feeling of deep relaxation for a peaceful slumber without the use of drugs.
5. Castor Oil treats skin infections
To treat small skin infections, apply a few drops of castor oil onto a plaster or bandaid and apply it over the area you wish to treat each day. For a larger skin infection, use a piece of clean cloth soaked in castor oil instead.
6. Castor Oil relieves stomachaches and colic in babies
To relieve stomachaches, warm some castor oil by rubbing it between your palms and massage this gently over the abdomen and the bellybutton area (the navel). This relieves stomach pain and helps to expel trapped gas. Castor oil used this way also helps relieve colic in newborns and helps them sleep.
7. Castor Oil alleviates period pain and menstrual cramps
You can similarly massage some hand-warmed castor oil over the lower abdomen to relieve period pain and menstrual cramping. Using the castor oil pack method over the lower abdomen can also help reduce menstrual irregularities and uterine and ovarian cysts. It’s not unusual to feel some ‘fluttering’ over the ovaries (either side or both) when a castor oil pack is applied.
8. Castor Oil shrinks swollen lymph nodes
Rub castor oil over the swollen lymph nodes each day and it will gradually shrink in size. Castor oil works by speeding up the circulation of the lymphatic system.
9. Castor Oil cures vaginal infections and urinary tract infections
Apply castor oil directly to the skin, and cover with a warm washcloth or hot water bottle for half an hour to an hour.
10. Castor Oil shrinks hemorrhoids
Soak a cotton ball with castor oil and apply it to the hemorrhoid. Lie down to do this. However, if the cotton ball stays in place, you can also walk around with a towel wrapped around your waist.
11. Castor Oil relieves gallbladder pain
Pain from gallstones can be relieved by using hot castor oil packs. Place a castor oil pack over the area to relieve pain from gallbladder attacks.
12. Castor Oil relieves aching feet
If you have the type of job where you’re standing on your feet the whole day, you can use castor oil to soothe your tired and aching feet. At the end of the day, simply massage some hand-warmed castor oil over your feet. You should feel immediate relief.
For greater comfort during the day, rub a generous amount of castor oil over your feet and put on cotton socks before leaving the house. You will experience greater comfort while standing on your feet or walking all day.
For severe foot pain, apply a generous amount of castor oil over your feet’s problem areas, wrap it up in some plastic (such as cling film) and finish this off by putting on socks before going to bed. Your foot pain should lessen by morning. Repeated application of this for a few weeks will eventually resolve most foot pain completely.
I was able to heal my very painful heel spurs (calcium deposits) using castor oil, so this is something I can attest to personally. (p.s: using castor oil like this will also get rid of corns and soften thick calluses.)
13. Castor Oil boosts the immune system, increases lymphocytes
Castor oil has the remarkable ability to increase our body’s lymphocytes. Lymphocytes, or white blood cells, regulate wound healing. Studies have shown that T lymphocytes may play an important role in healing.
This boost in the body’s lymphocytes could also be why castor oil applications appear to be helpful for anyone weakened immune systems.
- Those dealing with viral infections, such as shingles. (One commenter, Denise, talked about how castor oil seem to be the only thing helping soothe the pain from her shingles here.)
- Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
- People who have AIDS/HIV, lupus or other autoimmune diseases.
A 1999 paper ‘(Immunomodulation Through Castor Oil Packs’ by Harvey Grady, Journal of Naturopathic Medicine) showed that a 2-hour topical application of castor oil (castor oil packs) produced a significant increase in the number of T-11 cells.
Amazingly, the number of T-11 cell lymphocytes continued to increase for 7 hours after the treatment.