If you’ve ever used castor oil, chances are you’ve used it wrong.
While castor oil has a multitude of health and beauty benefits, most of my Boomer patients are familiar with castor oil as a laxative; their parents fed them a spoonful for constipation. I always re-educate my patients on the fact that castor oil, which comes from the castor bean, should not be ingested.
The castor plant, formally known as Ricinus communis, contains a potent toxic chemical called ricin that can have potentially dangerous effects when consumed. I always counsel my patients to avoid consuming castor oil, as it can cause significant gastrointestinal upset as best, but I do inform them of the wonderful benefits to be gained from using castor oil topically.
Castor oil is a unique plant. When used on the skin, it has powerful healing, nourishing and stimulating properties. I’m constantly discovering new ways that castor oil benefits the body and sharing it with my patients. Now, I am sharing some of my secrets of castor oil with you.
Castor oil packs for hormones
When applied topically over the area of the liver, especially when heat is applied, castor oil can promote liver function and help it to get rid of excess hormones that can cause PMS, hormonal hot flashes, menstrual cramps, and other concerns caused by excess hormones. Talk with your complimentary medicine practitioner on how to properly use castor oil packs.
Castor oil for constipation
Here is how I recommend patients use castor oil for constipation… Rub it over the belly!
While I warn people against the dangers of ingesting castor oil, it can stimulate the bowels gently in order to promote regularity.
Castor oil for arthritis
Ricinoleic acid has anti-inflammatory effects that I have witnessed first hand in patient care. There is one study from 2009 that states castor oil reduces pain in osteoarthritis of the knee, and this is supported by my experience in practice. Rub castor oil over the arthritic joint to experience its anti-inflammatory benefits.
Castor oil for hair
While I do not recommend castor oil simply as a hand salve due to its sticky, non-absorbent properties, a castor oil mask for hair and scalp is moisturizing. Some sources say that castor oil promotes hair growth and eyelash growth, but there is no scientific evidence to support this claim. However, the nourishing and moisturizing properties of castor oil may benefit hair and scalp with low risk of harm if applied topically.
Some people may have an allergy to castor oil, so be sure to test it on a small patch of skin before using. Keep in mind that castor oil is very sticky and oily, so if you are applying it to your body, be sure to wear clothes you won’t mind getting stained with oil. Also, when purchasing castor oil, be sure to buy it from a reputable source that is not extracted via hexane. You want a pure form of castor oil absorbing into your skin.
No matter which way you use it, this home remedy is effective and economical for a variety of conditions.
Give castor oil a try – just don’t eat it!