These days, castor oil, like many of mother nature’s gifts, are at best dismissed as an ‘alternative’ therapy. However, castor oil has been used and recommended for its powerful medicinal and curative effects for centuries by physicians.
But as science and cynicism have replaced the desire to heal sickness with the modern-day desire to protect drug & pharmaceutical profits, much of this valuable information has been forgotten.
What is Castor Oil?
Castor oil is extracted from the seeds of the castor oil plant (ricinus communis). The seeds produce 1/4 of their weight in oil. The extracted oil is pale yellow and transparent. It has little taste or smell, and causes a slight burning in the throat when swallowed on its own.
When handling castor oil, be sure to protect your clothing or bedding from drips as castor oil can stain fabric irreversibly (although Arm & Hammer washing soda may help remove castor oil stains).
In Spanish, castor oil is called Aceite de Ricino or Aceite de Castor. In India, where the plant is native, it is called Erand Oil (Velakennai in Tamil). It is known as Kharwa in Arabic. In China, it is known as Ma Hong Liang. It is known as Minyak Jarak in Indonesia.
Castor Oil use through the ages
There is evidence that it was cultivated in England as early as 1562 but castor oil use goes back even further. In ancient Rome, the castor oil plant was also called the Palma Christi, or the hand of Christ. 4,000 year-old castor bean seeds have been discovered in Egyptian tombs. Historical documents reveal that castor oil was used medicinally in Egypt, India, and China as well as Persia, Africa, Greece and Rome.
The Healing Properties of Castor Oil
While the castor bean contains toxins that makes it poisonous, the expressed oil only has trace amounts of those toxins. So when castor oil is taken internally or ingested, it causes purgative (laxative) effects instead of poisoning the body.
When used externally (rubbed into the skin), castor oil is able to penetrate deeper than any other essential plant oil. Rubbing castor oil on the skin can relieve pain, reduce inflammation, detoxify the body and boost lymphatic circulation.
Castor oil also contains ricinoleic acid, a very unusual fatty acid that can be found only in castor beans and ergot (a fungus). Ricinoleic acid inhibits the growth of many bacteria, viruses, molds and yeasts. This is why castor oil has been known to work well on acne as well as other skin conditions like ringworm, keratoses, scars, and fungal infections. (Read more about castor oil’s uses for beautiful, healthy skin and hair.)
Many ailments can be cured with Castor Oil – but skepticism abounds
Castor Oil has many medicinal uses, including constipation (when taken internally), relief from pain, inflammation and stomach problems. It also has cosmetic uses and has been said to restore a youthful glow, and maintain smooth and supple skin.
Unfortunately, castor oil’s humble nature and its long list of medicinal uses generally cause people to view it with skepticism. It is also virtually unknown within the medical community or dismissed as a poison, which is unfortunate because so many take their cue from those folks in white coats. I personally think it is far too long that we have equated skepticism and cynicism with intelligence. There is much more to healing than what science can adequately explain.
1. Castor Oil is a mild and effective laxative
A half ounce of castor oil taken internally will have a quick and mild laxative effect, giving relief for constipation. To improve the taste, take the oil by floating in a glass of warm milk or mixing it with a fresh egg yolk.
2. Castor Oil expels tape worms and other intestinal worms
Castor oil taken internally has been documented to discharge tape worms successfully. Take a tablespoon of castor oil in a glass of warm milk in the morning and at night. The worms will be passed out of your system.
3. Castor Oil relieves arthritis, back pain and muscle aches
Castor oil applied topically can give immense relief from arthritis, back pain and general muscle aches and soreness.
You can improve its effectiveness by applying a cloth soaked in castor oil over the painful joint and covering it with plastic (such as cling film). Place a hot water bottle over this (this method is also known as a ‘castor oil pack’). The heat will help the castor oil to penetrate your inflamed tissues and joints.
Even without external heat, a castor oil pack will still work wonders. Just leave it on for longer. You can do this easily by putting the castor oil pack on before going to bed, leaving it to work overnight.
4. Castor oil cures sleeplessness and insomnia
If you suffer from insomnia, rub a little castor oil over your eyelids before going to bed. Castor oil applied this way will bring about a feeling of deep relaxation for a peaceful slumber without the use of drugs.
5. Castor Oil treats skin infections
To treat small skin infections, apply a few drops of castor oil onto a plaster or bandaid and apply it over the area you wish to treat each day. For a larger skin infection, use a piece of clean cloth soaked in castor oil instead.
6. Castor Oil relieves stomachaches and colic in babies
To relieve stomachaches, warm some castor oil by rubbing it between your palms and massage this gently over the abdomen and the bellybutton area (the navel). This relieves stomach pain and helps to expel trapped gas. Castor oil used this way also helps relieve colic in newborns and helps them sleep.
7. Castor Oil alleviates period pain and menstrual cramps
You can similarly massage some hand-warmed castor oil over the lower abdomen to relieve period pain and menstrual cramping. Using the castor oil pack method over the lower abdomen can also help reduce menstrual irregularities and uterine and ovarian cysts. It’s not unusual to feel some ‘fluttering’ over the ovaries (either side or both) when a castor oil pack is applied.
8. Castor Oil shrinks swollen lymph nodes
Rub castor oil over the swollen lymph nodes each day and it will gradually shrink in size. Castor oil works by speeding up the circulation of the lymphatic system.
9. Castor Oil cures vaginal infections and urinary tract infections
Apply castor oil directly to the skin, and cover with a warm washcloth or hot water bottle for half an hour to an hour.
10. Castor Oil shrinks hemorrhoids
Soak a cotton ball with castor oil and apply it to the hemorrhoid. Lie down to do this. However, if the cotton ball stays in place, you can also walk around with a towel wrapped around your waist.
11. Castor Oil relieves gallbladder pain
Pain from gallstones can be relieved by using hot castor oil packs. Place a castor oil pack over the area to relieve pain from gallbladder attacks.
12. Castor Oil relieves aching feet
If you have the type of job where you’re standing on your feet the whole day, you can use castor oil to soothe your tired and aching feet. At the end of the day, simply massage some hand-warmed castor oil over your feet. You should feel immediate relief.
For greater comfort during the day, rub a generous amount of castor oil over your feet and put on cotton socks before leaving the house. You will experience greater comfort while standing on your feet or walking all day.
For severe foot pain, apply a generous amount of castor oil over your feet’s problem areas, wrap it up in some plastic (such as cling film) and finish this off by putting on socks before going to bed. Your foot pain should lessen by morning. Repeated application of this for a few weeks will eventually resolve most foot pain completely.
I was able to heal my very painful heel spurs (calcium deposits) using castor oil, so this is something I can attest to personally. 🙂 (p.s: using castor oil like this will also get rid of corns and soften thick calluses.)
13. Castor Oil boosts the immune system, increases lymphocytes
Castor oil has the remarkable ability to increase our body’s lymphocytes. Lymphocytes, or white blood cells, regulate wound healing. Studies have shown that T lymphocytes may play an important role in healing.
A 1999 paper ‘(Immunomodulation Through Castor Oil Packs’ by Harvey Grady, Journal of Naturopathic Medicine) showed that a 2-hour topical application of castor oil (castor oil packs) produced a significant increase in the number of T-11 cells.
Amazingly, the number of T-11 cell lymphocytes continued to increase for 7 hours after the treatment.
This boost in the body’s lymphocytes could also be why castor oil applications appear to be helpful for anyone with a weakened immune system.
- Those dealing with viral infections, such as shingles. (Denise talked about how castor oil seem to be the only thing helping soothe the pain from her shingles: “I have been applying castor oil on my shingles. So far it has soothed them and softened the whole horrible thing. I am going to keep using it as Ive tried everything and its the only thing that seems to be working better than all. What do you feel about shingles and castor oil. I feel its my only hope as I know in the past its relieves pain and redness.”)
- Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
- People who have AIDS/HIV, lupus or other autoimmune diseases.
14. Castor Oil drains and heals pilonidal cysts with little or no scarring
This one came straight from a lovely lady called Esther who wrote in about her recurring pilonidal cysts that were drained within a week of using castor oil packs daily. I’ve pasted extracts of her comments below, but you can click on the links to read them in full.
On 4 September 2011, Esther wrote:
Greetings!! I have to say that I am in absolute awe on all the benefits of castor oil. I would truly like to thank the person who put this article together b/c it has given me so many useful info that I can use and share with others!! In the last week, I have had a recurrence of pilonidal cysts for which I did surgery less than a year ago. Having this cysts was the worst pain I have ever had in my life and I am only in my early 30s!! Needless to say, when I had the cysts come back recently I was not willing to do surgery b/c I knew it could not possibly be the cure if my cysts had came back. In the past few days I have done my own research about pilonidal cysts and natural rememdies. The info available on the internet is truly amazing!! I found a great article for anyone suffering from any kind of cysts to other serious illnesses to please take a look at this article b/c it might help you with your issue. The address for the article is too long so the best way to find it is by the title: Natural Remedies For Pilonidal Cysts My Strange Mind. Don’t worry it gives insight into all kinds of ailments!
So, in only 3 days since the time of reading the article mentioned above, I started using a castor oil soaked in gauze placed on my cysts and a heating pad for an hour. Literally, by the next morning my cysts had gone down in size and the pain started decreasing. It’s my 3rd day using this regimen and one cysts has gone down and the other is forming an opening to start draining!! This is all GREAT NEWS! When a cysts is drained that is a good sign b/c all the infection will come out allowing it to heal. Hence, the castor oil is a great testament of my healing!! I could not have been more relieved b/c I have read stories on sites where people have had 3 or more surgeries for their cysts only to have it return. So for all of you reading this, please don’t be so quick to chose surgery has an option, look at natural remedies first. Believe me, the pain and uncertainties of surgeries isn’t worth it. I am glad I did not have a 2nd surgery b/c the benefits of a natural rememdy is much greater!!
I want to encourage all of you reading this: to become your best health advocate. Don’t depend on any doctor to be your sole educator, do your own research for your health conditions, regardless of how great or small. There are wonderful doctors who really care about their patients’ health and there are many who care more about the money they will make from seeing you in the operation room or their office. So, realize that the internet is a great resource to finding natural cures for everything that has been used for centuries! Take care and be well.
On 14 September 2011, Esther kindly provided a detailed update:”I would like to give an update about my condition. I hope it will be beneficial to someone who is struggling with painful cysts the way that I was…
I learned that certain foods can trigger cysts to grow in the body. Things such as shellfish and sushi should be limited because it has iodine which increases cysts in the body. Also, cutting back on dairy, processed food, sugars, and the like because those things create unhealthy bacteria in the body which cysts thrive on.
I used a castor oil pack with a heating pad for about an hour each night. By the 5th day my cyst (which was big and very painful when I move) started draining. Be Prepared: when your cyst drains it will be a messy sight because it is pus filled with bacteria and white blood cells, thus it will be a lot of liquid (at least mine was). Hence, it is important to shower right away and cover the cysts with a gauze. I continued putting the castor oil on my cysts every night and covered the area with a gauze (I did not use the heat but it is okay to do so) and within a couple days of it draining it began getting smaller and healing!! Literally, I instantly felt no pain after the cyst had drained so relief will come once that bacteria is out of the body! Post-draining: I put Neosporin on the cysts to help heal it along with the castor oil. It is now, a week after it has drained, thus, this combination works well b/c my cyst is almost not noticeable and the way it is healing is so much better than when I had surgery! My surgery left noticeable scars and now, my cysts are healing with little to no scars!
I have also continued with natural remedies for my body because I want to make sure that I don’t have this problem again. Thus, I started taking Turmeric pills which is a natural antiseptic and antibiotic which will kill unhealthy bacteria in the body, boost your immune system and so on…
For the person who is suffering from painful cysts, I truly hope that you will find a natural approach that will help you to heal from the inside-out!! Nature is truly God’s gift to us and there are so many advantages to looking into natural alternatives. I am soooooo happy that I listened to my intuition and did not do a 2nd surgery or 3rd because I know now that surgery was just a band-aid, it was not getting to the source of my cysts. Hence, it is so essential that you and I listen to our bodies and our intuition! I wish you all good health and happiness!”
148 thoughts on “Castor oil — forgotten medicinal uses”
1)how much i have to take castor oil for luxative?
2) can i take daily the same quantity?
Would castor oil reduce my high blood pressure, if so please tell me the receipe on how to take it, thankyou. Maureen.
Can castor oil packs cure a deep foot infection, where there’s no skin open. Person has heart condition, one stent in 2001, has diabetes 2011 on, from hormones given to treat prostate cancer, cancer is in remission. Person is 59.
It shouldn’t do any harm to try. You might want to add a heat compress over the pack so the oil can penetrate more deeply in this case. Try it for at least a week and see if there’s any improvements. Good luck!
I find that Castor Oil is unique for all ages, there is a need of its promotion.
In this day and age people have forgotton about the real natural cures. It is important to help them be aware. I myself found that castor oil is good for hair last year or so. But was not aware of its other uses. On my own, I have been using it in diffrent ways. I noticed how soft and supple it leaves my hands after applying on my hair. A few days back, I started using it on my face mixed with olive, coconut and almond oil (using same combination for hair as well, lately.) I love it. I am noticing that my liverspots are less noticable. But was wondering what could be the cause. After reading info on this website. I know it was castor oil.
I apply on my son’s skin as well, who has eczema, with great results.
Great article. I use castor oil on my aching feet after my 12 hour shifts. I get instant relief!
I will definatly be trying it in my hair.
I did not know of this, all i knew was that castor oil is fo(r laxative) will try it on my hair and scars too, thank you for all the wonderful post.
will castor oil assist in curing foot sores.
My OBGYN had me take castor oil when I was 3 weeks over due, and inducing did not produce any results. Took 2 tablespoons mixed with orange juice, next day I delivered an 11lb. baby girl all natural!!! Sure beats a c-section.
Is Castor Oil good for Nail fungus? Does Castor Oil help hair follicles?
How good is castor oil for treating hypothyroidism? Can I apply it on my neck? How many days should I repeat the castor oil pack application?
Matthew, if you get any info on this could you email them to me? I would like to see what people say about this.
iodine is not a threat to cysts. – radioactive iodine is but not regular iiodine, regular iodine actually shrinks tumors and cysts. iodine is also beneficial for hypothyroid and radiation exposure . i would be cautious as too much is not good. however – iodine rich foods like seaweed and limited amounts of fish ( because of the high content of toxic mercury – which could be the threat to cysts in aquatic life ) are good. sea vegetables are actually one of the best sources of iodine and iodine deficiency could lead to hypothyroidism as well as ovarian cysts. – just to clarify,
My personal experience if we will take bath with Castor oil , reduce the body heat and avoid hair fall.
From my experience with iodine I don’t think the iodine containing foods would be the cause of cysts in the negative way you are thinking, but more in the way that the iodine might actually be trying to detox/push out whatever it is that’s in your body that doesn’t belong to make the cysts in the first place…the iodine is just assisting your body to purge it out even more. If I were you I would research iodine supplementation & start supplementing with it. I do the iodine protocol every day.
I add a little castor oil with my lotion and wear it everyday, all over. I’ve done this for over a year. My skin, especially on my chest and face, has really improved from the sun damage of my earlier years. Plus, I have less wrinkles on my face.
I see that you mention using castor oil for 24 hours is not considered normal use. Well, since I mix it with lotion, is that okay?
Hi Coco, I’m sure it’s fine since you’ve used it this way for over a year with no issues. Thanks for sharing your method and experience 🙂
Can’t provide all the details, time has taken it’s toll and the principals have long passed, but here’s the gist of a “miracle cure” by castor oil: Back in 1953-54, my younger brother, 2yoa at the time, was treated for a kidney infection with antibiotics. He came down with what was diagnosed as “bloody colitis/the “bloody S–ts.” The doctors were unable to stop the colitis, and bro was dying. The doctor told my dad to take him home from the hospital. My grandmother, born in 1898, told my dad of a folk remedy used in rural Louisiana for this disorder: A double dose of castor oil. My dad was astounded that a powerful laxative would be used, double strength, for curing what was essentially diarrhea, but agreed to try it as bro was dying anyway: Dehydrated, lethargic, septic…..the oil was given, and in about two hours, bro passed a green, slimy, runny stool and an hour later he was standing in his crib. He is 61 this year…even the doctor was astounded….just sayin…
Thanks for sharing that story, grayfox 🙂 That’s pretty amazing.
I HV VERY OLD SCARS ON MY FACE EN STRETCH MARKS ALL OVER MY BODY EN WANTED A REMOVER A LONG TYM AGO BUT NEVER GET DE RITE ONE,THANKS ALOT I HAVE 2 BUY A BIG BOTTLE OF IT
I’ve been reading recently about facial Oil Cleansing, and in every article on the subject Castor Oil is spoken of as very drying for the skin, particularly the face, and thus the recommendation is to avoid it, or mix it in low ratio to other carrier oils for face cleansing. What is your take on this?
Hmmm… that’s quite odd. I use castor oil around my eyes every night and sometimes all over my face during the day, and I find it to be very hydrating.
I have oily skin though, so maybe individual skin type matters?
If you’re worried, just test it first on another part of your body and see how it goes. Good luck!
Thanks so much for your quick response!
Have you tried castor mixed with coconut oil for face moisturizing?
You’re very welcome 🙂
Sometimes I mix castor oil with coconut oil and use it on my body — the addition of coconut oil makes it much easier to spread over large areas (just because castor oil alone is very thick and heavy). I’ve not mixed them for use on my face, but I’m sure it’d be just as good.
Thanks again 🙂
Just wondering if castor oil can be used for oil pulling? (Read somewhere that it may kill/deplete good gut bacteria). Has anyone used it for OP, and if so what was your experience? Thanks
I want to share my experience with castor oil.
For months, I’ve had pain in the big toe on my right foot. The area around the nail was swollen and inflamed, and so was the fleshy portion just below and to the right of the nail. I was also having problems with the same toe on my left foot – along with a tightness that was very noticeable – and the one immediately next to it. The big toe has a fungus that I’ve tried, unsuccessfully, to get rid of for years and the smaller toe had what appeared to be the beginnings of a corn. There is a bump on top of it at the second joint that gives it the look of a hammertoe and it was swollen and achy. Fungus also invaded both pinky toes many years ago.
Two weeks ago, I started rubbing castor oil on all my toes, paying special attention to the big ones. The second day, I noticed that the swelling was almost completely gone from the one on the right, and so was the warmth. It was still a little tender. By the third day, no swelling, tenderness, warmth or redness. The same is true for my left foot. There is no feeling of tightness in the big toe and the one next to it no longer hurts.
I diligently rub castor oil into my toes at least once daily, usually twice, always before going to bed. I am hopeful that in time the fungus will die from this treatment.
This is not the first time I have used castor oil for pain. I sincerely hope that this story is helpful to someone. Castor oil is good for so many things and costs so little compared to the poisonous and invasive solutions doctors are so quick to offer. There is far more wellness in mother earth than you will ever find in a prescription.
Wow, that’s amazing! Thanks for sharing, Kate 🙂
I’ve used castor oil to remove very painful heel spurs in the past. It never came back after that.
Some hair hot oil treatments have castor oil, specially ampoullettes that comes from europe.
Wondering if anyone has had success treating:
1) Lymphedema in the arm which has been totally unresponsive to any of the traditional treatments, after treatment of breast cancer.
3) A “bursa” on the elbow which has been drained numerous times & continues to come back.
I’m trying the Castor Oil packet on the scar tissue/adhesions in my back which are extremely painful & debilitating. I’m hopeful that maybe I will get some relief. Nothing else has worked! Thanx for all the info in the previous posts! Who knew Castor Oil was so versatile?!!
I wonder why it took me this long to find this site. I’m an advocate for natural remedies and its the first I’ve heard of castor oil being used on something else apart from hair (I use it religiously in my hair regimen and it works wonders) . I’ll definitely use it on my Keloids. And see how that goes. Fingers crossed. Thank you for sharing and God bless!
Was glad to see all the helpful things Castor oil helps with wondering if it will help a fungus I have itching on hips, thighs, waist, upper arm. I will be trying.
I would like inform U all that i am using castor oil on all saturday and also i’m lot of difference in my body both physically and mentally. Especially it reduce the body heat and always keeps me very cool when we take the oil both continuously.
So utilize the natural one and retain your youthness.
how to use castor oil in quick discharge?
Has anyone had any success using castor oil for peyronies disease.
My experiences involve eye issues. I’ve had a history of chalaziams (sp?) in my eyelids, have even had to have some drained. One doctor remarked that there was a connection with blepharitis. Then I developed a pterygium on one eye. Several years later I had extreme redness in that eye, associated with the pterygium.
Because of being away from home at one point, and being sent to specialists, I ended up seeing a total of six doctors with this condition.
The last doctor I went to was a corneal specialist, and kept prescribing steroid eye drops. Of course, that can lead to glaucoma; then the doctor admitted it could encourage cataracts; and then another doctor referred to the steroids depressing the immune system.
That’s when I began my search for natural treatment!!
I found a recommendation for three things, and when I did all of them, the redness quickly went away, and even the pterygium has nearly disappeared! These are the three things:
• take a tablespoon of vinegar mixed with at least a teaspoon of honey, in a glass of water, two times a day (it’s actually delicious!) (I usually only did this one time a day)
• apply castor oil & heat pack to the eye (I just rubbed on castor oil, and applied a warm washcloth.)
• use an eye wash which contains boric acid (I used something called ‘Fresh Eyes’ – over the counter.
I later red a ‘beauty treatment’ of applying castor oil to a cucumber, and placing on the eyelid to reduce eye redness; there explanation was that the drying tears produced by wind do not have the same pH as normal healthy tears; but that good pH is replicated by castor oil!
That’s amazing, Anita 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing!
Anita, I developed a chalazion when I was in my early teens (got a surgery 5 years and thank goodness it hasn’t grown back) and nearly two years ago developed a pterygium – probably from either: not sleeping enough or riding my bike in really cold weather in the city – lots of dust, dry air that made my eyes cry, etc.) I have postponed my pterygium surgery, mainly because my opthamalogist asked me to. It has grown into the iris of my eye but not my pupil. It is sometimes painful, but consistently red, and unsightly, with it inevitably coming up in awkward conversation especially when I don’t get enough sleep. I am going to try your suggested remedies. Thanks so much for sharing.
I am wondering if it would be safe for me to use a castor oil on my 4 month old daughter as a compress? she has a blocked ureta and I think it could potentially unblock it. Do you think this is safe? Thanks Anna
Hi Anna, yes it’s safe to use in sensitive areas, just be sure to use cold-pressed, hexane-free castor oil. I don’t know if castor oil can help a blocked urethra, but it’s not harmful in any case. I hope your daughter feels better soon.
Hi I was just wondering if anyone had used it for scarring in there fellopion tubes and if the have had any success conceving ?
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