CASTOR OIL? It has been around for thousands of year – used in the ancient days for healing purposes. Castor oil is a vegetable oil from the castor bean (ricinus communis). It is colorless, pale yellow, is a triglyceride, and a monounsaturated fatty acid. The FDA claims castor oil to be safe and effective. To be pure and effective it has to be cold pressed. It is then heated to take out any properties that might be considered harmful. When you buy it, look for Cold Pressed, and pure, with no additives, on the label.
I heard of castor oil when I was pregnant. Considered an ‘old wives tale’ it, was suppose to induce labor. Children often heard of it as a punishment (ugh, it did not taste good), if they did anything wrong. In the 15th Century, and many centuries before, it was attested to work well as a laxative. During the World War era (1933) in history, it was used by Hitler as torture of his war prisoners, basically the Jewish people. But what is thought about Castor Oil today?
As I researched Castor Oil, I found it to be a versatile oil. Since I had purchased a bottle ions ago, I wanted to know what it was really good for. The Punishment use had been dispelled by medical specialists as being cruel. They recommended against that type of practice, because they did not want medicines – which Castor Oil was considered to be, to be associated with punishment. As for ‘inducing labor’ – read on.
When I say versatile, that it is. It is considered to be a valuable seed oil, that can be found in soaps, lubricants, paints, dyes, waxes and polishes, perfumes, pharmaceuticals, food and preservatives, etc. The following will enlighten you on its many considered and approved uses today. Castor Oil can be used ‘naturally’ as a:
- LAXATIVE – for temporary relief of constipation, to be taken by mouth in a small dose. Start with 1 tsp. It works in the small intestine where it is digested into ricinoleic acid. This softens the stool. Must be careful not to take it in large doses, as it will cause abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Always consider the age, weight and size of the person taking any medications when using spooned measurements. Start small and work up to see how it works with your body system.
- NATURAL MOISTURIZER – Castor Oil is added to many commercial healthcare and beauty care products for the purpose of moisturizing the skin. However, it can be used on its own for this purpose. This avoids the preservatives, dyes, and perfumes which are additives in store bought products. Castor Oil is inexpensive and can be used on the face and body. It is thick, by my own experience, mix it with other skin friendly oils – like almond, olive, or coconut oil. It will rub on easier and be absorbed into the skin better, and will be ultra-hydrating. Also, when used this way it helps to avoid an allergic reaction which could occur when used straight on.
- WOUND HEALING – castor oil is known to promote ‘wound healing’ as it prevents sores from drying out, stimulates tissue growth as a barrier to decrease the risk of infection. Also prevents the build up of dry skin.
- ANTI-INFLAMMATORY – used topically, Castor Oil reduces inflammation and relieves pain. Works great on rheumatoid arthritis pain and the pain experienced from psoriasis.
- ACNE – a condition that many teenagers have to cope with. Castor oil has been shown to help reduce acne symptoms associated with the imbalance of certain bacteria found in the skin. It has antimicrobial properties. Test tube studies found it inhibits the growth of several bacteria to include ‘staphylococcus aureus’.
- FIGHTS FUNGUS – “Candida albicans’ is a type of fungus which causes dental issues like plaque overgrowth, gum infections (often caused by the wearing of dentures), and root canal infections.” You can clean any dentures, bridges, etc. with it. Rub it on and around irritated gums, and around an impacted tooth that needs a root canal procedure – it will take away the pain and lessen the damage. Castor Oil has been found scientifically to help fight off Candida, which, in turn, keeps the mouth healthy.
- SKIN – used topically can treat skin ulcers and lesions.
- HAIR & SCALP – Massaging castor oil into the scalp may benefit those suffering with dandruff – a condition of the scalp recognized as ‘normal exfoliation of the epidermis of the scalp in the form of dry, white scales’ – no oily scalp involved. When applied to the scalp, castor oil will help moisturize the dry irritated skin and reduce the flaking and itching involved. As well, it will keep the hair soft and silky.
- There are many other uses, such as poultices, adding to smoothies, and etc. Have fun with this one.
PRECAUTIONS: Already mentioned throughout the blog – here is a reminder.
- First, about that ‘old wives tale’ regarding inducing labor. I tried it (per doctors suggestion), and, it did not work (at least, not on me). So, the question is can taking Castor Oil induce labor? Answer: There have been no studies done to confirm whether it does or does not induce labor. DOCTORS TODAY “DO NOT RECOMMEND THAT WOMEN AT ANY STAGE OF THEIR PREGNANCY SHOULD CONSUME CASTOR OIL. The pressure caused by diarrhea or stomach cramping could do damage to the pregnancy.
- Remember – diarrhea can alleviate constipation, but too much and “Poof” the ‘diarrhea’ becomes ‘extreme diarrhea’ and causes dehydration and electrolyte imbalances.
- Allergic Reaction – can be experienced by some people when applied to the skin. Try putting a small amount of Castor Oil on a tiny patch of skin to see how your body reacts.
AGAIN: Do your own research when trying new things – natural or processed. Check with your Dermatologist or family physician before you proceed. Or, if you don’t want to do either. PROCEED WITH CAUTION.
HAVE A GREAT DAY! GOD LOVES US ALL!