Castor oil is one of the ancient remedy for treating a number of health conditions, including improving the quality of your hair (pretty much like Brahmi oil) and skin.
Owing to its remarkable benefits, Castor oil is used in making various cosmetic products, soaps, and massage oil. Today this oil is not in fashion when it comes to taking small quantities of it as an oral medicine. No wonder, Castor oil is a non-edible oil with not so pleasant a taste. But still, as we will see below, it has a potential to be very useful.
If you don’t already use it, it might be a good idea to include it into your own pharmacy for preparing home made remedies.
Castor oil is obtained from the beans of the castor-oil-plant, Latin name Ricinus communis by cold pressing.
This oil has strong anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory action. The main substance responsible for the array of health benefits is the Ricinoleic acid. This acid seems to be solely responsible for the Castor’s oil health benefits.
Castor oil contains about 90 percent of Ricinoleic acid. It belongs to the class of mono-unsaturated omega 9 fatty acids. Besides it, there is Vitamin E, which is a powerful anti-oxidant that serves as a protective agent to the unsaturated omega 9.
In this post we will talk about the health problems you can tackle with castor oil.
Table of Contents
Castor oil has some undecylenic acid in it, and this acid is notorious for its germicidal, anti-fungal, and disinfectant properties. If you suffer from athlete’s foot, tinea cruris, ringowrms, candida, or other fungal infections, try using castor oil topically on the affected area.
If you are going to ingest castor oil for its laxative effect and to increase the movement of the intestines, try to find pure organic cold pressed virgin castor oil. The other varieties may not be as safe as this one. It can be used to treat constipation or to cleanse the intestines prior to bowel examination. Don’t go overboard though: one teaspoon is more than enough to get you going, and don’t give it to children under the age of 2.
Baby Colic Treatment
Colic pain in infants is not very well understood a phenomenon. Nevertheless, there are some theories behind it, including spasms in the developing digestive system, gas, over-stimulation by light and noise, and other factors. Castor oil can help you if you use it externally. Rub it on the abdomen of your baby and its soporific (sleep inducing) and analgestic (painkiller) properties can bring relief from colic pain.
This area of application is somewhat controversial. People claim a couple of drops on the forehead or directly on the eyelids can help them get a good night’s sleep. But nobody seems to know how exactly Castor oil does that. If you have trouble sleeping, or want to get rid of insomnia, it doesn’t cost anything to try.
If you have dry skin, the moisturizing properties of Castor oil can help you nurture and improve the elasticity of your skin. It can penetrate deep and give your skin a youthful glowing appearance. Moreover, the natural softening and soothing substances present in Castor oil can do wonders when it comes to reducing wrinkles, blemishes, and fine lines along the eyes and other sensitive areas. The effect of this oil is not only topical. It can penetrate deep and nourish the skin from inside. You can use a couple of drops of Castor oil or mix it with coconut oil, and then apply the mixture on you affected area. Repeat several time a day, and continue doing so for several months.
Benefits for the Hair
The natural anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties of Castor oil and its abundance of omega 9 fatty acid, nutrients, and Vitamin E make it suitable for promoting hair growth. In addition to thickening hair follicles, it reduces the appearance of spit ends, gives your hair beautiful shiny look, and balances the pH value of the scalp. It will help your eyebrows and eyelashes as well. Castor oil can make them thicker and nourish and stimulate the follicles. The way to use it is by massaging it into the scalp and hair roots before going to sleep, and then shampooing the hair the next day. You can do the same with your eyebrows.
The other areas where this oil may be beneficial include treatment of ring worms, to ease eye irritation, to provoke vomiting, to induce labor, and (when applied topically) to stimulate extra milk production in breastfeeding mothers.
Side Effects of Castor Oil
The FDA has categorized this oil as generally recognized as safe and effective especially if you are going to use it as a laxative. But if you are allergic to castor oil, even topical use can be dangerous. One of the most frequent use of castor oil in cosmetics is in lipsticks, so you should keep this in mind if you are allergic. Other people may experience digestive problems, nausea, and other side effects. The unpleasant flavor is the biggest setback for ingesting this oil. The taste may be effectively disguised by mixing it with cinnamon lemon, or peppermint water. Check out all potential side effect of this oil here.
Take Away Points
As you have seen, Castor oil can be beneficial to you in many ways. Due to the presence of beneficial fatty acids, it can be great for your skin and hair, but also for other health problems, like constipation.
For greatest health impact, always choose certified organic cold pressed Castor oil. The source of the oil is important as castor seeds are often heavily sprayed with chemicals like pesticides.
Keep in mind that there is little scientific evidence of the usefulness of this oil in many areas of application. So use it with caution to minimize the possible sensitivity, allergies, and other risks.
Photo 1. courtesy by Pete Markham