Castor oil, like many of mother nature's gifts, are usually dismissed as alternative. However, castor oil has been used for centuries by physicians for its powerful medicinal and curative properties.


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 Historical documents reveal that castor oil was used medicinally in Egypt, India, and China as well as Persia, Africa, Greece and Rome.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!”

A 1923 ad for Squibb's Castor Oil. The text reads: "A vitally important place in every home".


Documented case of castor oil being used successfully to expel tapeworms in 1828. Click to enlarge.