Essential Oils

16 Castor Oil Benefits – Uses, Benefits and Side Effects – Hair Growth and Skin

castor oil
Written by RWN Staff

Castor Oil Benefits for Hair Growth, Skin Issues, and Beard Growth. In this article, we will also learn how this could be a magical cure for Constipation, Sexual Health, Yeast Infection, Acne Laxative, as Eyedrops, Arthritis, Ageing, Immunity, and Cancer.

Castor Oil – Introduction

The castor-oil plant is one of the very oldest cultivated crops in the world. Ebers Papyrus, an ancient Egyptian medical text dating back to 1500 B.C., talks about the use of Castor Oil by Egyptian doctors as a natural remedy for protecting the eyes from irritation.

The ancient Egyptians used castor oil for a variety of reasons, including the making of facial oils, improving hair growth, body ointments, and lighting lamps.  It is rumored that the great Queen Cleopatra used Castor oil to brighten the whites of her eyes.

The castor oil plant is indigenous to India, Ethiopia, and the southeastern Mediterranean region and according to a research conducted in 2013 by the ‘Food and Agricultural Organization of United Nations,’ India is the largest producer of Castor Oilseeds. In fact, Castor Oil has been used in India since 2000 B.C. for its medicinal properties in Unani and Ayurvedic forms of medicine. The benefits of castor oil gradually spread to the rest of the world in the 1800s when it started being known as a magical cure for everything from dyschezia to indigestion. (1)

Ricinus communis, commonly known as the castor oil plant is a shrub with glossy leaves. The fruit of this plant is a spiny seed pod. Each seed pod has three sections, and each section has a single seed. (2)

The commercially available castor oil (3) is prepared by extracting the oil from castor beans by mechanically pressing, solvent extraction or a combination of both.

The extracted end product then undergoes the process of filtration and purification to remove any leftover impurities such as dissolved gasses, acids, and water from the oil. The oil is then refined using the process of Degumming, Neutralization, Bleaching, Deodorization, and Winterization before being made available for mass use.

Uses and Benefits of Castor Oil

Lets learn about Castor Oil Benefits and Castor Oil Uses. 

Hair growth

Castor Oil for Hair Growth: Castor Oil promotes hair growth (4) by improving blood circulation to the follicles. Massaging the scalp at regular intervals with castor oil helps to stimulate blood flow, which in turn promotes hair quality and makes it thicker. Castor oil also has Omega-9 fatty acid that also helps to make hair healthy and reduces split ends, thereby reducing hair fall. It goes deep into the pore openings of the scalp and nourishes the hair and moisturizes the scalp. It can also be mixed with other carrier oils such as almond or olive oil to make it easier for absorption.

Due to its antibacterial and antifungal properties, castor-oil can also be used by people who have scalp infections symptomized by bald patches, itchy scalp, and dandruff (5) to make their hair stronger and healthier. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, castor oil might also be useful in treating scalp diseases such as seborrheic dermatitis.

Laxative

Castor Oil is perhaps most well known for being a natural laxative (6). A component of castor oil known as ricinoleic acid is the primary fatty acid present in castor oil. Once the intestine absorbs this acid, it initiates a laxative effect which helps to clear the bowels.

A study was conducted in Manisa School of Health, Celal Bayer University of Manisa, Turkey, on elderly people to determine whether Castor Oil could indeed relieve them from the effects of constipation wherein 80% of the participants suffered from illness for ten years or more. All the participants of the study were monitored seven days before, three days during and four days after the administration of Castor Oil Packs. Even though administration of Castor Oil Packs did not affect the number of feces or the frequency of bowel movements, it did help to pass the bowel by decreasing the symptoms of constipation such as straining during defecation and the feeling of incomplete evacuation.

Castor Oil might be effective in treating occasional constipation (7) when consumed in advised or prescribed quantities. However, it is not an advisable remedy for people who suffer from chronic constipation. They should consult a doctor for the best results.

Healing

Due to its antibacterial and antifungal properties, castor-oil can be used to heal wounds by reducing the chances of infection. Castor oil also stimulates blood circulation, which helps to reduce the chances of infection and increases the wound healing process.

A study (8) was conducted in 2003 by researchers from the Fountain Valley Regional Hospital Wound Care Program. The study aimed to understand the effectiveness of castor oil as a healing agent for skin graft donor sites, some of which were difficult to heal and had higher chances of complications as compared to the graft recipient site.

An ointment containing a combination of castor oil and balsam of Peru-trypsin was applied on the donor skin graft site. None of the 36 patients who participated in the study experienced any wound complications, and all the donor sites were epithelialized within a span of 11 days.

Though further research and study are warranted to ascertain the impact of castor oil on healing wounds and infections faster, it can be considered useful for healing minor cuts and bruises quicker.

Acne

Acne is caused due to a number of factors such as hormones, skin irritation, and inflammation; accumulation of dead skin cells and bacteria (9) imbalance on the skin. Castor oil has both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, which make it an ideal moisturizer for acne-affected skin.

A study (10) published in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology shows that acne is an inflammatory disease and therefore, application of anti-inflammatory agents such as castor oil can prove beneficial.

Another study (11) conducted to establish the anti-bacterial properties of Ricinus communis (the plant from which castor oil is made) concluded that the seed protein has healthy antibacterial and anticancer activity.

Body Massage

Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, castor-oil is an excellent alternative to regular massage oils. Regular body massage with castor oil can help to alleviate sore muscles, nerve inflammations, and joint pain. As it is easily absorbed by the skin and can go deep into the pores, it is an excellent moisturizer as well. Since it is also a carrier oil, you can mix it with essential oils like rose, jojoba, and tea tree oil to enhance the health benefits of your body massage.

Whenever you use castor oil, always remember to spread a bath towel between yourself and the furniture to prevent the oil from spreading everywhere.

Eye Drops

Due to its anti-inflammatory properties (from the ricinoleic acid present in it), castor oil is considered to be a natural remedy for irritated, swollen and puffy eyes. Since castor oil helps in increasing the production of lipids in the eye (12), it also helps to treat eye dryness by keeping the minimizing the evaporation of tears and keeping the eyes moist. In fact, this also makes an active agent for smoothening fine lines & wrinkles around the eyes.

It can also be useful in treating minor eye allergies and redness. Some remedies also suggest that Castor Oil can be useful in accelerating recovery after cataract (13) surgery, but more studies need to be conducted to verify this claim.

Since the treatment requires the drops to be put directly in the eyes, it is essential to use sterile, chemical-free, cold-pressed, and hexane-free castor oil.

Commercially manufactured castor oil sold in departmental stores might not be suitable for this purpose, and it is suggested to consult your ophthalmologist before beginning any of the eye-related remedies. The presence of any toxins or impurities in the bottle of castor oil can make the situation worse.

Castor Oil capsules

Consumption of castor oil capsules has been known to be useful for people suffering from constipation and digestive issues since it is an excellent laxative. It can also be consumed by people who have slight irregularity in their bowel movements in order to regularize them.

Castor Oil might also be useful in the treatment of primary knee osteoarthritis. A comparative clinical trial (14) was conducted by the Department of Pharmacology and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education Research (14), Chandigarh and All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi in 2009 to determine the effect of castor oil and diclofenac sodium on patients suffering from knee osteoarthritis. The patients were either given a castor oil capsule (0.9 ml) thrice a day for four weeks or a diclofenac sodium capsule (50 mg) thrice a day for four weeks and then the patients were evaluated on the basis of clinical, routine laboratory and radiographic tests at the end of the 2nd and 4th week to determine the effectiveness and adverse drug reactions for both treatments. The results suggested that Castor oil therapy can be used effectively for patients suffering from primary knee osteoarthritis with fewer adverse drug reactions as compared to diclofenac sodium. Even though more studies and trials need to be conducted to determine the efficacy of castor oil capsules, the results of this clinical trial are very encouraging. (14)

Varicose Veins

A varicose vein is a medical condition in which the veins swell up and get twisted inside the body. Even though this condition affects 1/4th of all adults, overweight individuals, and pregnant women (15) are more likely to be susceptible in developing this health concern. It usually affects the leg and feet area and occurs due to blood clotting or reverse flow of blood inside the veins.

The anti-inflammatory properties of Castor Oil and its ability to encourage blood circulation makes it an invaluable natural remedy for people suffering from varicose veins. It can help with reduction and in some cases, even complete cure of varicose veins. The oil needs to be applied topically and massaged on the affected area for 1-2 minutes daily for best results. It can also be mixed with carrier-oils such as olive oil, coconut oil, or Almond oil to increase its healing properties. However, it is essential to use the pure, cold compressed, hexane-free, and organic variety of Castor Oil for best results.

One must also remember that Castor Oil is not a treatment in itself and should be used in addition to a procedure prescribed by your doctor.

Yeast infection

Yeast infections (16) are prevalent in women, and about 75% of women suffer from this disease at some point or another during their lifetime. That is not to say that men are immune to yeast infections. Yeast infection is caused by an overgrowth of a particular type of fungus known as Candida albicans, which is naturally occurring throughout the body, including the skin, mouth, genital area, and digestive tract. This overgrowth can be due to heat and humidity, sexual activity with an affected person or low personal hygiene.

Castor oil, due to its natural anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties is an excellent alternative remedy for people suffering from a low to medium level yeast infection. The oil can be ingested orally to act as a laxative and clean the intestines, thereby aiding in the removal of candida cells.

According to a study (17) published in 2013 in the Journal of Applied Oral Science, the consumption of castor oil helped to reduce the presence of Candida and bacteria placed in root canals after 21 days of treatment.

All though more research needs to be conducted to establish the effectiveness of Castor Oil as a definitive treatment for yeast infections, it might be useful as an alternative remedy when used in addition to a procedure prescribed by your doctor for fungal and bacterial infections.

Arthritis

Since Castor Oil is anti-inflammatory in nature, it is an excellent alternative to regular massage oil for people who suffer from arthritis, sore muscles, and nerve inflammation. This is due to a component called ricinoleic acid, which is present in castor oil and has anti-inflammatory properties.

Castor oil can be introduced to the affected area in the form of a pack or be ingested directly. It can also be slowly massaged onto the affected area by itself or mixed with a carrier-oil such as a coconut, almond or olive oil to allow it to seep into the skin and provide comfort to the affected area. Consult with your doctor before beginning any treatment using packs or ingesting it because unsupervised use can have severe health repercussions.

Also Read: Rheumatoid Arthritis Diet, Cure and Exercise

Sexual health in men

When it comes to sexual health in men, Erectile Dysfunction is one of the most widespread problems today. The inability to hold an erection repeatedly is called erectile dysfunction and it can occur because of variety of reasons such as stress, anxiety, depression, excessive alcohol consumption, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. It can also be caused due to certain medical conditions.

Consumption of castor oil can help your sexual health in 2 ways. Firstly, it aids in the absorption of fat molecules during digestion. Since the fat molecules play an essential role in the creation and secretion of hormones, castor oil can help in improving the hormonal balance in the body.

Secondly, as we have discussed earlier, castor oil is very useful in toxin removal and enhancing blood circulation. Since erectile dysfunction is caused due to the insufficient or inconsistent flow of blood in the penis, improved blood circulation in the body will also improve the libido, thereby promoting good sexual health. Castor oil can also be massaged on the sexual organ daily to stimulate the muscles and dilate the blood vessels.

However, if you are undergoing any kind of treatment for erectile dysfunction, it is advisable to consult your doctor before beginning this natural home remedy.

Sexual health in women

Just like men, women also experience fluctuations in their sexual health due to hormonal imbalances. These can range from mood swings and PMS to anxiety and depression. Castor oil helps in establishing the necessary hormonal equilibrium by aiding absorption of the fat molecules which help in hormone formation. It also improves blood circulation, which reduces the symptoms of PMS, depression, and anxiety and increases the sexual drive.

Improved Immunity

The strength of our immune systems dictates how easily we fall ill or resist an illness. Our immunity can be compromised very quickly due to several factors such as our diet, stress levels, lack of sleep, and being overweight. The lymphatic system, which is responsible for transporting antibody-containing white blood cells throughout the body plays a crucial role in strengthening our immune system.

Castor oil packs may be able to improve lymphatic circulation in our body and therefore, help us to improve our immunity. It also helps in improving blood flow and thymus gland health.

According to a study (18) conducted by Harvey Grady published in the Journal of Naturopathic Medicine, castor oil packs have helped to improve the lymph flow, developed the immunity temporarily, improved liver health and help to reduce inflammation.

Moisturizer

The monounsaturated fatty acid known as ricinoleic acid acts as a wetting agent and reduces the loss of moisture from the outer layer of the skin. Therefore, some cosmetic companies use it in their lotions, moisturizers, makeup, and cleansers. Its ability to promote hydration makes it an ideal alternative to commercially manufactured creams, lotions, and moisturizers as well.

Since many moisturizers available commercially contain a lot of potentially harmful components including preservatives and dyes, which can be damaging for the skin, in the long run, castor oil is a great natural moisturizer.

However, it is advisable to do a patch test before using it on your face or body since it can cause an allergic reaction on some people.

Aging

Castor oil can be beneficial for people across all age groups when it comes to fighting wrinkles and other signs of aging. Even though there isn’t a lot of strong evidence to prove the efficacy of this oil towards the reduction of wrinkles and fine lines, castor oil has been used for decades as one of the more popular natural remedies for dealing with such signs of aging. The presence of fatty acids, antioxidants, and Vitamin E in this oil makes it an excellent moisturizer which helps minimize wrinkles and smile lines. It is essential to purchasing high quality organic, cold-compressed, Hexane free, and pure Castor oil to get the best results.

It can be used around the eyes, mouth, forehead, chin, and neckline. However, if you are applying it with the intention of reducing wrinkles, do not massage it onto the skin. Ideally, the oil should be applied topically on clean and washed skin with the help of your fingertips on the desired area. Once applied, it is advisable to wait for 20 minutes before washing it off and proceeding with the rest of your daily beauty routine. This should be done daily for a period of 2 months to see any visible benefits.

It can also be mixed with other carrier oils such as avocado and olive oil to improve the absorption. There are many remedies describing how to apply castor oil to minimize wrinkles, but it is advisable to consult your dermatologist before beginning any remedy yourself.

Cancer

Cancer has quickly become one of the most rampant killers in modern society. Despite several research programs, clinical trials and studies, a definitive cure for this disease have not been found yet. Most cancer patients have to undergo chemotherapy at some point in their journey towards recovery.

According to the American Cancer Society (19), some early clinical trials have suggested that ricin can be combined with antibodies to limit the poison to malignant and affected cells and reduces tumors in lymphoma patients.

The American Cancer Society also mentions that oncologists have started using castor oil as a medium for delivering particular kinds of chemotherapy drugs to malignant tumors by using a castor oil formula called Cremophor EL as a carrier for paclitaxel. However, due to adverse reactions to this carrier, including allergic reactions, alternate carriers are being considered to improve the effectiveness of the treatment.

Castor oil cannot be considered as an effective and efficient alternative remedy for cancer without more research being conducted on its applications and efficacy.

There are hundreds of companies which manufacture and sell castor oil commercially. It can become challenging to make a choice when it comes to the best and most effective brands manufacturing castor oil. It is therefore vital to purchase cold pressed unrefined castor oil.

Cold-pressed oil is extracted naturally (without using any chemicals) and at a low temperature. This enhances the properties of the oil itself. Since castor oil is a carrier oil, it can also serve as a base for mixing in with other oils to create face masks, hair masks, lotions for body massages.

Castor Oil in India

Here are some of the best brands selling castor oil in India:

  • Soul flower Castor Carrier Oil
  • The Balance Mantra Cold Pressed Castor Oil
  • Wish care Premium Cold Pressed Castor Oil for Hair and Skin
  • Finn Naturals Organic Castor Oil
  • Aroma Magic Castor Oil
  • Nature’s Absolutes Castor Oil for Hair and Skin
  • Marmara Cold Pressed Castor Carrier Oil
  • Rey Naturals Cold-Pressed, 100% Pure Castor Oil
  • The bliss of Earth Organic Cold and Hexane-Free Castor Oil for Hair Growth
  • Hill dews Castor Oil

Castor oil should always be consumed by following the dosage mentioned on the bottle or as advised by your physician. Always use proper measuring devices to take the exact dosage. Before applying castor oil topically, it is essential to conduct a patch test to ensure that you are not allergic to it.

Castor oil has been known to induce labor and has been used by medical professionals for centuries for this purpose. Since it might induce pelvic contractions when consumed, it is advisable for pregnant women not to use it internally unless specifically asked to do so by the doctor.

Castor Oil Side Effects and Warnings

It is also imperative to keep it outside the reach of children.

Castor oil is beneficial in small quantities. However, excessive and unsupervised intake of castor oil can lead to a lot of health problems, including stomach cramps, diarrhea, and nausea. These aren’t a severe adverse reaction to this oil, and they go away once your body adjusts to the castor oil. However, there are far more severe reactions to castor oil intake such as irregular heartbeat, unusual tiredness or weakness, and skin rash and immediate medical attention is required in case you experience any of them.

It is advisable to consult your doctor before consumption of castor oil in any form.

The uses and benefits of castor oil are not just limited to the human body. It is an excellent pest repellent and can be used to deal with infestation caused by pesky critters like squirrels, moles, and skunks in the garden. It will not kill them but will definitely chase them away.

It can be applied directly to the soil to deal with pesky animals. A mixture of 2 parts of castor oil and 1 part dish soap can also be mixed (2 tablespoons per gallon of water) and sprayed on the infected area.

It can also be used around the house as a lubricant to lubricate squeaky hinges, tools, doors, and windows. The density of castor oils does not allow it to freeze and it, therefore, comes handy in extreme climates as well.

It is a beautiful product with widespread uses and benefits as an alternative natural remedy. People have been using it for thousands of years, so if you are looking for an affordable, multi-purpose oil, castor oil might be just what you are looking for.

Note: Please go through the dosage column before you use the product. 

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RWN Staff

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