Castor oil is well known for its natural laxative properties, but it has some other interesting uses that are also worth taking a look at. Although medical authorities state that it can be toxic in high enough quantities, its use in traditional medicine is longstanding. Learn about the benefits of castor oil in the following article.
What do I need to know about castor oil?
A wide variety of ailments can be treated and cured with castor oil, the most popular use being as a laxative to relieve constipation. Castor oil also reduces aches and pains, stimulates the immune system, treats skin wounds, and works as a powerful antibiotic, antiviral and fungicide.
The oil comes from the seeds, also referred to as beans, of the plant and is composed of fatty acids (90% of which are ricinoleic acids). They’re considered to be responsible for the plant’s unique healing properties. The castor plant is originally from India and is known as “Christ palm”, as it’s said the leaves resemble the hands of Christ. Perhaps this is why the plant has so many healing properties are attributed to it.
The castor plant was adopted by many cultures, such as Egypt, China, Persia, Rome, Greece, Africa, Europe and America. It’s now widely used industrially, mostly in textiles, but also in Russia to lubricate machinery in the cold climate, as it has consistent viscosity and won’t freeze. Other non-medicinal uses for castor oil include: a flavoring or food additive, an ingredient in skin care and cosmetic products, rubber manufacturing, fibers, varnishes, dyes, leather treatments, etc.
It’s important to keep in mind that parts of the castor bean are lethal if consumed or ingested in any way. The beans are not ready for consumption until after they have gone through a special process to extract the oil. Don’t worry, castor oil is safe to use, the toxins are only present in the raw beans.
Side effects include: skin reactions and intestinal disorders, causing irritation of the intestinal lining. It’s not recommended for use by those suffering from cramps, ulcers, hemorrhoids, prolapse or those who have recently undergone surgery.
Advantages of Consuming and Using Castor Oil
Some of castor oil’s properties:
- Relieves colitis: To alleviate the discomfort of this intestinal imbalance, make a compress and apply to the abdomen. Simply wet a cloth with oil and let work for an hour or two. Repeat up to twice daily.
- Removes calluses on the feet: Castor oil helps remove the accumulation of dead skin on the feet. Wet a cloth with a little oil and apply directly to the affected area. Wrap with gauze and cover with a sock to keep it in place. Leave gauze on overnight and file away the now much softer callus the following morning.
- Removes moles: This is a very popular home remedy. Prepare a mixture of baking soda and castor oil. Apply to the mole and cover with a bandage. Leave overnight and wash with warm water in the morning. Repeat daily until the mole falls off.
- Relieves arthritis: If your joints hurt due to arthritis, castor oil can help. Put three tablespoons of castor oil in a pan and heat for three minutes. Dampen a cloth or cotton ball and rub into the painful areas. Cover with a dry cloth and use a heating pad to keep the area warm. Leave on for a half hour or less (an hour being the maximum). Do not use if the area is inflamed.
- Lengthens eyelashes: This is one of many cosmetic uses for castor oil. It helps lashes look fuller and longer. It can also be used on the eyebrows. Apply using a mascara brush. Repeat every night before going to bed, do not rinse.
- Skin care: Because it’s such a great moisturizer, castor oil is a component of many cosmetic products and creams. It acts as an emolient to smooth and protect the skin in lotions, pomades, soaps, etc. It treats dry skin, eczema, flaking, herpes, ulcers, burns and skin wounds. It can also be made into soap for a shampoo that will leave hair smoother and healthier with more shine. It’s also used in the treatment of stye, dandruff, and insect bites, especially mosquitos’. It’s also great for fighting aging skin.
- Strengthens nails: If you have brittle nails, apply castor oil with a cotton ball on each nail. A great source of vitamin E, castor oil will keep your nails looking beautiful.
- Massage the body: It can be used as a body oil for anti-inflammatory massages, to relive aches and pains in the muscles and joints. It’s heavily used in aromatherapy.