Castor oil is an odorless oil extracted from the seeds of the Ricinus communis plant. It has a light and clean smell ( sometimes pungent). It is nearly taste, but for some people taste is unpleasant. It is an excellent source of ricinoleic acid.
Castor oil is used as an active ingredient in several medicines, skincare products, and shampoo.
With a comedogenic rating of 1, castor oil is suitable for almost all skin types and doesn’t clog skin pores.
The antimicrobial properties of castor oil reduce the risk of bacterial, viral, and fungal infections. It also provides many health benefits.
Nutrition In Castor Oil
About 90 percent of castor oil is ricinoleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid. Castor
oil also contains
- Oleic acid ( about 3%)
- Linoleic acid ( about 4%)
- Stearic acid (about 1%)
- Other linolenic fatty acids (more than 1%).
Health Benefits of Castor Oil
Following are the major health benefits of castor oil.
(1) May Induce Labor
Castor oil has labor-inducing properties. The laxative nature of castor oil causes intestinal spasms, stimulates the bowel and vagal nerve. This causes irritation and contraction of the uterus and helps with labor.
As per studies, castor oil is a safe non-pharmacological method for inducing labor, and pregnant women who take castor oil are more likely to go into labor within 24 hours.
Castor oil is effective for inducing labor in women that have borne more than one child ( post date multiparous).
But there are contradictory studies that claim castor oil doesn’t induce labor, and there was no reported harm to the baby or mother.
Using castor oil for inducing labor should be considered only after taking doctor’s advice as each pregnancy is different and may or may not have its complexities
This is a healthy medical decision made for the safety of mother and baby and is usually recommended between 41 weeks and 41 weeks and 6 days of pregnancy.
(2) Treats Constipation
Castor oil packs reduce straining during defecation and give a feeling of complete evacuation post bowel movement.
The use of castor oil for treating constipation should be considered after consulting with a doctor.
Use a small amount as its excessive use may damage the functioning of the bowel muscles.
Taking a castor oil dose of 15 ml or 3 teaspoons causes bowel movement within 2-3 hours, and relieves constipation.
Using castor oil for treating constipation may cause nausea or vomiting. If you experience such symptoms, discontinue the use and consult a doctor.
(3) Helps In Birth Control
Castor seed oil can also be used as birth control due to the presence of ricin ( a protein) in it. It is a toxic compound that works as a germicidal substance when administered in very small dosages. Because of its spermicidal properties, it is also added to spermicidal gels and lotions as an effective birth control method.
Because of its spermicidal properties, it is often added to spermicidal gels and lotions as an effective birth control method.
(4) Aids in the treatment of arthritis
The anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties of ricinoleic acid in castor oil provide relief from pain and inflammation caused by inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, rheumatism, rheumatoid, gouts, asthma, and bronchial asthma.
As per a study on people with osteoarthritis, people who took castor oil capsules thrice a day for four weeks showed improvement in osteoarthritis symptoms.
Other fatty acids such as linoleic acid and oleic acid in castor oil also relieve pain and inflammation caused by arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. They relieve symptoms such as joint pain and knee pain.
With a comedogenic rating of 1, castor oil suits most skin types and easily penetrate through skin pores during the massage, and relieve arthritis pain quickly.
It also treats muscle soreness.
(5) Good for Nursing Women
The fatty acids in castor oil benefit nursing women as they stimulate the secretion of breast milk and increase the quality of milk.
Despite its advantage for lactating mothers, it is advised to consume it in low doses and after consulting with your to ensure there won’t be any adverse effects on the infants.
(6) Helps In The Treatment of Plantar Fasciitis
The anti-inflammatory properties of castor oil help in treating Plantar Fasciitis.
Plantar fasciitis is a major cause of heel pain that involves the inflammation of the thick band of tissues that run across the bottom of the foot and connects our heel bones to the toes.
Castor oil provides quick relief from plantar heel spurs, a condition closely associated with plantar fasciitis.
(7) Good For Eyes
Antioxidants in castor oil protect our eyes from free radical damage and reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration, cataract, and glaucoma.
The anti-inflammatory properties of castor oil improve early signs of cataracts, relieve dry eye symptoms, and reduce the risk of eye infections.
Castor oil helps in getting rid of dark circles beneath the eyes.
(8) Strengthens Immunity
Castor oil strengthens our immune system, the defense mechanism of the body that helps in preventing and treating various infections and diseases, wounds and injuries, etc.
Antioxidants and other relevant compounds in castor oil protect our white blood cells or immune cells from free radical damage and strengthen immunity.
When our immune system is stronger, we are less likely to fall sick and the risk of cough, cold, fever, and flu diminishes automatically.
The antimicrobial properties of castor oil reduce the risk of bacterial, viral, and fungal infections.
Castor oil improves lymphatic function, increases blood flow, and improves the health of the thymus gland.
Castor oil further strengthens immunity by enhancing the production of white blood cells.
The Ricinoleic acid in castor oil also plays a significant role in boosting immunity.
(9) Aids in the treatment of hemorrhoids
The anti-inflammatory properties of castor seeds help in treating hemorrhoids, a condition that causes discomfort and bleeding due to the swelling of the veins in the lowest part of the rectum and anus.
And as far as using castor oil for the treatment of hemorrhoids is considered, there is not much information in this regard, and research was limited to castor seeds.
The research was limited to castor seeds, and there is not much information about using castor oil for treating hemorrhoids.
For the safe side, it is advised to consult your doctor before taking any step.
(10) May Improve Libido
Castor oil may improve our libido by increasing the absorption of fat molecules in the body.
This helps regulate hormonal balance that improves libido or sexual drive.
It also provides other benefits such as reducing PMS symptoms, controlling anxiety, and controlling mood swings.
(11) Ease Fibroids Symptoms
As per anecdotes, castor oil provides relief from various symptoms of fibroid, a benign and non-cancerous tumor that develops in the uterus.
Constipation is a major cause of fibroid, and the laxative properties of castor oil provide relief from constipation and reduces the risk of fibroids.
(12) Helps In The Treatment of Acne And Scars
Acne is a common skin problem that affects millions around the world and mainly occurs due to the clogging of skin pores by the accumulation of toxins, pollutants, and other impurities.
The detoxifying properties of castor oil remove toxins, pollutants, and other impurities from our skin pores, and reduces the risk of acne and pimples.
For treating acne, do as follows.
- Add few drops of castor oil to lukewarm water, and moisten a clean washcloth in that water.
- Gently rub this cloth on your face in a circular motion before going to bed, and let your face air-dry.
- Wash off your face in the morning.
Regular use maintains skin health and treats acne.
Avoid this remedy if you have oily skin or if you are allergic to castor oil ( do a patch test).
Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, castor oil helps in treating scars and fading stretch marks.
Castor oil soothes skin irritation and relieves skin inflammation.
With an SPF value of 6, castor oil is added to sunscreens to protect them from the harmful UV rays of the sun.
The antimicrobial and analgesic properties of castor oil promote quick healing of wounds, stimulates blood flow, get rid of damaged skin cells, and promote the growth of new skin cells.
It also helps in treating boils and burns.
(13) Reduces Signs of Premature Aging
Castor oil is good for the skin and maintains skin health.
Antioxidants in castor oil protect our skin cells from free radical damage and reduce fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, dark spots, skin blemishes, and other signs of premature aging.
The topical application of castor oil reduces various signs of aging.
In small amounts, castor oil can be applied on sensitive areas such as under the eyes, around the mouth, and other skin areas like the chin, neckline, and forehead.
For this, do as follows.
- Wash and clean the area you would like to apply the castor oil.
- Gently massage the area with a drop of castor oil.
- Let it air dry for 20-30 minutes.
- Wash off with water.
Do a patch test before use to ensure you are not allergic to castor oil.
Castor oil allergy may cause skin itching, skin redness, swelling around the skin, and skin rashes.
(14) For Treating Psoriasis And Eczema
The anti-inflammatory compounds such as ricinoleic acid in castor oil help in treating psoriasis and eczema, two common skin problem that affects millions around the world, and causes pain, inflammation, and discomfort.
Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, castor oil provides quick relief from pain and inflammation caused by these skin problems.
For treating psoriasis and eczema, gently massage castor oil on the affected area at bed and let the skin pores absorb the oil
Regular use moisturizes skin and reduces pain and inflammation.
The anti-fungal properties of castor oil help in fighting Candida, fungal infection and eliminates Candida Albicans from contaminated human tooth roots.
Phenol-castor oil peel is effective against melasma, a condition that causes brown patches on one’s face.
The undecylenic acid in castor oil may help treat ringworm.
(15) Aids in The Treatment of Genital Warts
The anti-microbial properties of castor oil help in treating genital warts.
For treating genital warts, apply few drops of castor oil to the wart on an everyday basis, and it will quickly fall off.
Avoid this if you are allergic to castor oil, or if you are not comfortable with the same.
If you are unsure and have doubts, consult your doctor before use.
(16) Promotes Hair Growth
Castor oil is good for hair and scalp and promotes hair growth.
To boost hair growth, gently massage your scalp with castor oil and let it dry for 2 hours.
Wash off with water.
Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, castor oil may help in the treatment of dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis, an inflammatory condition that causes scaly patches on the scalp.
Nutrients in castor oil nourish our hair and scalp, and strengthen hair, and reduces the risk of hair fall and split ends.
Side Effects of Castor Oil
(1) May Cause Diarrhea
The Laxative properties of castor oil help in treating constipation.
However, an excess amount of castor oil may damage the functionality of our bowel muscles and cause diarrhea.
Ricin in some castor oil variants causes allergic reactions and symptoms such as diarrhea, colicky abdominal pain, vomiting, and heartburn.
Because of this danger, Ricin is mostly removed from castor oil during refining.
(2) May Induce Labor
Castor oil is a natural laxative that contracts our bowel muscles and as well as uterus muscles.
It is often used for inducing labor.
Depending on the complexity of the pregnancy, it can either be good or bad.
Generally, it is advised to avoid castor oil during all stages of pregnancy.
However, if the need for labor induction arises, castor oil can be used after consulting with a doctor.
(3) May Cause Allergies
With a comedogenic rating of 1, castor oil suits most but not all skin types.
Do a patch test before using castor oil on the skin to ensure you are not allergic to castor oil.
Castor oil allergy may cause skin rashes, redness of the skin, and skin itching.
Frequently Asked Questions
(1) Is It Safe to Ingest Castor Oil?
The laxative properties of castor oil stimulate bowel muscles and relieve constipation when consumed in moderation.
However, in excessive quantities, castor oil may cause diarrhea and stomach discomfort.
Castor oil ingestion should be done in moderation and after consulting with your doctor.
Avoid castor oil if you are allergic to it.
(2) What are Other Oils That Can Substitute Castor Oil?
Coconut oil is a good alternative to castor oil and helps prevents and treats various skin ailments.
Coconut oil is anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, and contains essential nutrients that provide many health and beauty benefits.
(3) Is Castor Oil Good For Keeping Our Nails Healthy
Some anecdotes suggest castor oil keeps our nails healthy.
However, there are no scientific studies to support it.
Avoid castor oil on your nails if you are allergic or sensitive to castor oil.
(4) Does Castor Oil Helps In The Removal of Skin Tag?
As per anecdotes, castor oil help in removing skin tags.
For this, mix few drops of castor oil into the baking soda to form a thick paste, and apply on the skin tags thrice a day.
Cover the skin tags( with applied paste) with bandages to prevent the paste from getting wiped off.
Regular use dries up the skin tag, and it will eventually fall off.
There is no scientific study to support this claim, and it’s better to consult a doctor before giving it a try.
(5) When should you take castor oil? What is the dosage?
For treating constipation, taking 3 teaspoons of castor oil is a preferred dosage, but it may vary from person to person and severity of constipation.
For using castor oil for other benefits and treatments, consult your doctor regarding the dosage.
Do not consume castor seeds as even a small dose of 3 castor beans may cause serious poisoning.
(6) How long does castor oil take to work?
Castor oil may take 2 to 6 hours for treating constipation, and for labor induction, it may take up to 24 hours.
For other benefits and uses of castor oil, time may vary and depend on the severity of the issue.
(7) Can Castor Oil May help in the treatment of gallstones?
As per anecdotes, the anti-inflammatory properties of castor oil help in treating gallstones.
However, there are not many scientific studies to support this claim.
(8) Can Castor oil be used for cooking?
Castor oil is not a suitable oil for cooking because of its pungent smell and bad taste.
(9) How To Use Castor Oil For Repelling Moles?
Applying few drops of castor oil on moles helps in repelling them.
You can mix few drops of castor oil with baking soda to obtain a gel-like consistency.
Apply this paste on the mole and cover it with an adhesive bandage before going to bed.
The next morning, remove the bandage and wash it off with the mole with clean water.
(10) Can castor oil help unblock fallopian tubes?
As per anecdotes, castor oil increases libido and improves female fertility by unblocking fallopian tubes.
Blocked fallopian tubes are a leading cause of tubal factor infertility ( which accounts for around 25 to 30 percent of all cases of infertility).
(11) Can Castor Oil be used for the treatment of endometriosis?
As per anecdotes, massaging the abdomen with warm castor oil provides relief from pain caused by endometriosis, a disorder in which the tissues that normally line the uterus get out of control and grows outside the uterus.
Massaging castor oil mixed with an essential oil such as lavender oil relaxes pelvic muscles.
Avoid during periods.
(12) Can castor oil heal chapped lips?
Vitamin E and other antioxidants in castor oil improve our skin health and help in treating chapped lips.
This article provides general information about the topic and is not be taken as medical advice or as an alternative to medical advice, treatment, and/or diagnosis. Always consult with your doctor before trying out any of the remedies/recipes suggested in the blog post.
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Bharat Sharma is a Delhi-based writer who loves reading and writing research-based topics revolving around health, fitness, and nutrition. His love for writing started during his teenage and continues till date. After his graduation, he worked for GE Money, and IBM, but later found his true love i.e. blogging.