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Can Castor Oil Really Provide Benefits?

By Orgesta Tolaj


15 September 2023

Castor oil benefits

©️ / Freepik, Mareefe / Pexels

Who knew TikTok could actually give you some helpful tips? This time around, we are dealing with castor oil benefits. In recent years, castor oil has attracted a lot of attention and excitement on social media platforms. Due to its beneficial effects on a person’s health and appearance, this natural, versatile oil has attracted a devoted fanbase.

But, how can you get started? Should you even be using castor oil to begin with? What are some castor oil benefits? We are here to answer all of those questions for you! Keep on reading to find out more about castor oil, its uses, benefits as well as risks.

What Is Castor Oil?

Castor oil is a type of vegetable oil that is made from the seeds of the Ricinus communis, or castor bean plant. It is a thick, pale yellow oil that has been used for a long time for a variety of things. Castor oil is renowned for its distinctive composition, which is mostly made up of the fatty acid ricinoleic acid.

It is one of the oldest cultivated crops. Its use dates back to ancient civilizations, including the Egyptians, who used it for various medicinal and cosmetic purposes. It was also used in ancient India, China, and Greece. Throughout history, castor oil has been used as a laxative and purgative in traditional medicine systems. It was ingested to relieve constipation and as a means of cleansing the digestive system.

Castor oil can be used for many things. This includes but is not limited to medicine, cosmetic, and beauty products such as eyelash and eyebrow serums, as well as industrial uses for producing lubricants, dyes, and plastics.

Nutritional Information on Castor Oil

A single tablespoon of castor oil provides the following:

  • Calories: 120
  • Protein: 0 grams
  • Fat: 14 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 0 grams
  • Fiber: 0 grams
  • Sugar: 0 grams

Castor oil is a valuable source of:

  • Vitamin E
  • Omega-9 fatty acids
  • Omega-6 fatty acids

What Are Some Castor Oil Benefits?

Castor oil is a commonly used ingredient in various beauty products due to its high content of essential fatty acids. To sum it up a little, fatty acids provide skin moisturization. Ongoing research is exploring its potential effectiveness in treating common skin conditions. Additionally, castor oil has historical use in aiding pregnant women during delivery, with studies indicating that it may help induce labor with a success rate of 91% in women experiencing uncomplicated childbirth.

Castor oil offers several potential health benefits:

1. Laxative Properties

Castor oil is known for its traditional use as a natural laxative. Castor oil contains a unique compound called ricinoleic acid, which is not found in many other substances. Ricinoleic acid is believed to stimulate contractions in the smooth muscles of the intestines and the colon. These contractions help move stool through the digestive tract and ultimately lead to a bowel movement.

2. Anti-Inflammatory Effects

Research suggests that castor oil’s ricinoleic acid can reduce swelling and alleviate pain caused by inflammation. When applied topically, it may be more effective in managing arthritis symptoms compared to prescription topical treatments, although further human studies are needed for confirmation.

Castor oil is believed to possess anti-inflammatory properties, primarily attributed to its main active component, ricinoleic acid. Here’s an overview of how castor oil is thought to exert anti-inflammatory effects and considerations regarding its use for this purpose:

3. Wound Healing

Castor oil’s natural fatty acids function as humectants, helping to moisturize the skin by preventing water loss. This property promotes skin health, soothes skin inflammation, and may accelerate wound healing. Castor oil’s antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, when applied to the skin, can prevent infection, reduce inflammation, improve localized blood circulation, and aid in shedding damaged skin cells, thereby aiding the healing process.

4. Treatment for Skin Conditions

Although clinical research is limited, castor oil’s combination of antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and moisturizing properties is believed to benefit overall skin health. It may also help in the treatment of specific skin conditions, such as acne, fungal infections (including fungal acne), melasma, dandruff, and ringworm.

Does Castor Oil Make Your Skin and Hair Better?

Many individuals use castor oil as a natural hair treatment due to its moisturizing properties, which can help nourish and strengthen hair, reducing the risk of breakage. However, it is important to note that there is no scientific evidence supporting the claims that castor oil promotes hair growth or reduces hair loss. The same applies to using castor oil for eyelash growth, there is no scientific backing for its effectiveness.

castor oil benefits
©️ Mareefe, Pixabay / Pexels

Castor oil is also commonly used to address dandruff, but while some dandruff treatments contain castor oil as an ingredient, using castor oil alone has not been proven to be effective against dandruff. Additionally, there is a rare condition called acute hair felting, which can occur in people with long hair who use thick oils like castor oil. This condition causes severe tangling and may necessitate cutting the affected hair.

What Are Castor Oil Packs?

Castor oil packs, also known as castor oil compresses or castor oil poultices, are a common natural treatment. This method includes massaging the skin with a cloth dipped in castor oil. Although they can be used on other parts of the body, these packs are primarily placed over the abdomen for therapeutic reasons.

To create your very own castor oil pack, you will need a bottle of castor oil, a cotton cloth, a storage container, a heating pad, and a comfy place to lay down.

castor oil pack
© Curing Vision

While castor oil packs are generally regarded as safe, not everyone may benefit from them, particularly those who are expecting or nursing, have specific medical issues or have sensitive skin. It is recommended to speak with a healthcare provider before using castor oil packs, especially if you have particular health issues.

How to Use The Packs for Castor Oil Benefits

  1. Prepare the Cloth: Fold the flannel cloth to a size that can cover the targeted area, such as the abdomen or another part of the body.
  2. Soak in Castor Oil: Drizzle castor oil onto the cloth until it is saturated but not dripping.
  3. Apply to Skin: Place the soaked cloth directly onto the skin over the area you want to treat.
  4. Cover with Plastic: Cover the castor oil-soaked cloth with plastic wrap or a plastic bag to keep the oil from staining your clothing or bedding.
  5. Apply Heat: Place a hot water bottle or heating pad over the plastic-covered cloth. The heat helps to improve absorption and enhances the therapeutic effects of the castor oil.
  6. Relax: Lie down and relax for about 30 minutes to an hour while the pack remains in place. Some people choose to leave it on overnight for extended treatments.
  7. Storage: After use, store the castor oil-soaked cloth in a plastic bag and reuse it for several applications. Add more castor oil as needed to keep it saturated.

Castor Oil Risks

While there are plenty of castor oil benefits, there are also some downfalls to it. When considering the use of castor oil, it is crucial to be aware of potential side effects:

  1. Labor Induction: Castor oil is sometimes employed by medical professionals to induce labor in pregnant individuals. Therefore, it is advised that individuals at any stage of pregnancy should refrain from consuming castor oil.
  2. Gastrointestinal (GI) Side Effects: While effective for relieving constipation, castor oil may lead to GI side effects such as diarrhea, vomiting, cramping, bloating, and dizziness. Its use for constipation should only be undertaken under medical supervision.
  3. Allergic Reactions: Some people may experience allergic reactions when castor oil is applied to the skin. You are advised to do a patch test beforehand. Simply apply a small amount to a small area of the skin to check for any reactions.

Additionally, people with specific medical conditions, including appendicitis, gastrointestinal obstruction, bowel perforation, and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), should avoid stimulative laxatives like castor oil as they can potentially cause severe side effects.

Castor oil offers a wide range of potential benefits, from promoting hair and skin health to providing relief for certain health issues. Its versatility has made it a popular choice in various traditional and modern applications.

Can Kids and Babies Use Castor Oil?

Yes, both kids and babies can use castor oil. You can use the oil to rub on their bellies to promote digestion. It is also a great way to lower a child’s hyperactivity levels.

Have you ever tried castor oil for any of its purported benefits? If not, do you want to try it out after reading this? Let us know down below!

Note: The information provided in this article is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional medical, skincare, or beauty advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified professionals for any specific concerns related to your health, skin, or beauty regimen.

You might also want to read: Introducing Turmeric Face Masks for Clearer Skin

Orgesta Tolaj

Your favorite introvert who is buzzing around the Hive like a busy bee!