6 Uses for Castor Oil

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By Talia Marcheggiani • February 23rd, 2013 • 495740 Views

6 Uses for Castor Oil

Castor oil is one of the best kept secrets in the world of natural health.  Taken from the bean of the castor plant, this oil is rich in ricinoleic acid, which exerts powerful therapeutic effects.

Historically, castor oil was taken as an oral laxative.  Today, however, taking castor oil this way it is not recommended because its powerful laxative effect can disrupt normal digestion and healthy intestinal flora. When it comes to treating chronic conditions, sometimes it is more effective to treat our bodies gently. Castor oil best exerts its powerful effects when applied topically, directly to the skin. It proves to be a simple, cheap and effective remedy for a variety of common health complaints.

1. Skin health.  Castor oil has a low molecular weight, which means it is absorbed readily into skin and hair, providing nourishment and moisturizing effects. When applied to the ends of dry hair, it moisturizes and prevents split ends.  It has been used for years as a face cream to reduce the risk of dark under-eye circles and to aid in the prevention and treatment of wrinkles.  Castor oil is commonly added to natural lip balms and glosses to add shine and moisture to dry lips and it’s also frequently added to natural mascaras to encourage lash growth.

2. Antimicrobial.  Ricinoleic acid contains antimicrobial properties, which, when applied to open wounds, can act as a disinfectant.  It is effective for treating fungal skin infections, such as ringworm, as well as minor cuts and scratches. An added bonus to using castor oil as a first aid treatment are its anti-itch and pain-relieving properties, which help ease symptoms as minor skin infections heal.

3. Decreasing stagnation.  Because of its low molecular weight, when applied to the skin, castor oil has the ability to not only penetrate the skin, but to reach the deeper organs of the body.  According to Ayurveda, the ancient Indian healing art, castor oil has the ability to warm the body, which can decrease the stagnation of excess bodily fluids and lymph. This stagnation can cause blockages in the body's tissues, leading to water retention and weight gain. In Ayurvedic medicine, it is common to apply a mixture of castor oil and powdered turmeric to masses and lumps found under the skin in order to dissolve them.  It is an excellent oil to use in full-body self-massage for people of Kapha constitution, whose bodies typically accumulate fluids...


Talia Marcheggiani

Location:  Toronto, CA

Talia has a bachelor of science in Life Sciences from Queen’s University and is graduate of the naturopathic doctor program at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM) in Toronto. Her passion for natural medicine began while...