Castor oil is the most unique of vegetable oils. It is an inexpensive oil that offers multiple health benefits. In fact, castor oil has been around such a long time, that its first usage dates back to 4000 BC.
This oil is indigenous to the Mediterranean Basin and India, although it does grow in many other places around the world.
The castor plant, otherwise known by its latin name, Ricinus communis, is also referred to as the Palm of Christ. Apparent biblical references to this oil have given it this name, as well as the appearance of the plant’s leaves resemble a hand, or the ‘palm of Christ’. It is said that this name also refers to its powerful healing abilities.
Castor oil has a most unique chemical structure. It is a combination of linoleic acid (you may be familiar with this, an Omega 6 fatty acid found in sesame oil), oleic acid (an Omega 9 fatty acid, found in olive oil) and ricinoleic acid (only found in castor oil).
Castor oil’s uniqueness allows it to help bring medicine into the body faster and more efficiently. This can also be of use for essential oils as castor oil has been shown to be the best carrier oil because of its chemical structure and molecular weight.
Castor Oil Uses
A carrier substance, it out-performed other carriers, providing more benefit in rheumatoid arthritis cases. This is probably because it not only helps with transdermal penetration of the substance it is carrying, but it is also an anti-inflammatory in its own right
Can be used for oil pulling, superior to coconut oil or sesame oil, because of its ability to alter biofilm in the oral cavity
Mixed with baking soda and a few drops of tea tree oil used on fungal toenail infections, and fungal skin infections of all kinds, including ring worm.
Works as well as conventional eye lubricant for dry eyes. In addition, it has shown clinical benefit in cataract prevention.
Midwives and doulas have a long history of using castor oil to induce labour. Castor oil has been scientifically proven to stimulate smooth muscle such as those found in the uterus to help with inducing labour.[
Has been shown to help alleviate constipation. The intestine is smooth muscle, much like the uterus, so castor oil taken internally can stimulate laxation.
Orally, it is FDA and Health Canada approved as an oral stimulant laxative at dosages of 1 tbsp and above for adults, and 1 tsp for children.
Castor Oil Packs
A well known use of castor oil is with the legendary health-promoting castor oil pack. Castor oil is applied to an organic cotton flannel and placed over the liver, under the right rib cage. You then lie there with the pack on for a minimum of one hour to overnight.
These castor oil packs have recently been gaining appeal again because the once messy, cumbersome treatment now has tools that simplify the process. This is a huge advancement in natural medicine, because these packs that have a long history of use with multiple benefits to support the terrain (the foundation of health), have now become easier to add to your nighttime ritual.
The benefits of doing a castor oil pack include improving:
Function of your digestion, absorption and elimination
Tension and stress reduction
Host microbial balance
Results with a castor oil pack can often be immediate, but not in all cases. The immediate benefits include a deeper, more restful sleep, reduced abdominal pain and bloating, better daily bowel movements and increased feeling of wellbeing. The key to reaping the benefits with these packs is consistency. It is best to wear your pack for a minimum of one hour each day, or ideally, overnight.
Castor oil has been used for centuries in cosmetic care, dating back to the early Egyptians. Cleopatra was well known for using castor oil in her eyes to brighten the whites of her eyes.
The history extends into Roman and Greek Mediterranean Goddesses using castor oil for the health of their hair, eyebrows and eyelash growth, and youthfulness of the skin.
How to Use Castor Oil for Hair Growth
Castor oil has been used for centuries by Egyptian and Mediterranean cultures for long, thick, shiny hair. It helps increase circulation and provides nourishment for the hair follicle. It also reduces inflammation, which can cause damage to hair follicles and moisturizes the scalp. It can be used on the scalp to help with thinning or balding hair or to increase length and thickness.
Here’s how to do it:
Take a dollop of castor oil
Add 2-3 drops of rosemary essential oil **never use rosemary oil near the eyes**
Comb mixture into scalp and cover with a shower cap
Leave treatment on for 1 hour or overnight and rinse in the morning
Doing this treatment weekly may encourage hair growth. Make sure to never use essential oils near the eyes. Cover with a good quality shower cap, and if using overnight lay an old towel down on your pillow (castor oil will stain fabrics).
Castor Oil “Super Salve”
This anti-inflammatory and antibacterial Super Salve is excellent for ring worm, warts, fungal nail infections, bug bites and skin irritations of any kind.
Here’s how to make it:
Combine castor oil, baking soda and 2-3 drops of tea tree oil in a small, GLASS container
Mix ingredients together until they form a paste. You can continue to slowly add baking soda until it reaches a paste consistency.
This salve will keep for months if stored at room temperature, away from direct sunlight, in a glass container. Remember you NEVER want to use a plastic container with castor oil to avoid absorption of chemicals. You can use this Super Salve as often as you like on the affected areas.
How to Use Castor Oil for Oil Pulling
Castor oil is ideal for oil pulling because contrary to other oils, where you need to swish for upwards of 20 minutes, castor oil only needs to be held in the mouth for 2 minutes for a powerful effect.
Here’s how to do it:
Put 2 tbsp of castor oil into your mouth
Swish around in the mouth for 2 minutes
Spit the oil into the garbage (don’t spit down your drains as oils can clog drains!)
Voila! That’s it. Castor oil doesn’t have a strong taste but if you’re not keen on the flavor you can add
Goto E1, Shimazaki J, Monden Y, Takano Y, Yagi Y, Shimmura S, Tsubota K. Low-concentration homogenized castor oil eye drops for noninflamed obstructive meibomian gland dysfunction.Ophthalmology. 2002 Nov;109(11):2030-5.