“Castor oil as we all know is unpleasant, tasteless oil but it has many skin and health benefits. It is now even used in a variety of ways: commercial and homemade skin care, medicinally, for scalp conditions, making homemade soap, massage oils and more!”
Castor oil is derived from the seeds of the Ricinus communis plants that grow wild in wastelands across tropical regions. It is often grown as an ornamental garden plant in milder climates, and now cultivated on a large scale for biodiesel manufacture.
Castor oil has been around for a very long time, and has been widely used for medicinal purposes in its native lands spread across Africa, the Indian subcontinent and the Mediterranean basin. It is one of the first vegetable oils to be used for industrial purposes because of its high viscosity and lubricating property. In fact, the automotive lubricant company Castrol derives its name from castor oil.
Infamous as a laxative, many people consider castor oil a crude product. But this unique vegetable oil has so many wonderful uses that it deserves a place in every home.
1. Safe, Natural Laxative
Well, this use of castor oil needs no introduction, but there’s a myth–probably promoted by pharmaceutical companies–that it is not safe to ingest the oil for its laxative effect. The truth is that, it is not only safe, but also suitable for even small children.
The castor oil plant, including the castor bean, contains a highly potent toxin ricin, but it is deactivated during the oil extraction process. There have been deaths due to castor oil ingestion, but they were from force-feeding it in large quantities to political enemies and dissidents in the past. The deaths resulted from dehydration, and not from any toxic substances.
When the oil is used as a laxative, the dosage can be easily adjusted as its effect is directly proportional to how much oil you are using. The usual dosage is 1 to 2 tbsp for adults and 1 to 2 tsp for children 2-12 years old. Children under 2 years shouldn’t have more than a teaspoonful at a time. You can mix the oil with orange juice to make it more palatable.
Unlike other laxatives that act in the colon, the action of castor oil starts in the small intestine. You can expect a complete clean out of the bowels within 2 to 5 hours of taking the oil.
2. Relieves Muscle Soreness
Castor oil is considered a warm oil that promotes the circulation of fluids in the body. It is excellent as massage oil, and can relieve the soreness resulting from overworking the muscles. If you have aching calf and thigh muscles after vigorous exercise or active sports practice, apply a little castor oil on the sore area and rub it in.
Castor oil is a good carrier oil for essential oils. Add a few drops of Roman chamomile oil or peppermint oil to a tablespoon of castor oil to make the massage more relaxing and healing.
3. Soothes Joint Pain
The analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties of ricinoleic acid which constitutes almost 90% of castor oil have been well documented. A major part of it comes from its decongestant action on the lymphatic system.
The lymph vessels that form a wide network all over the body collect waste from the tissues and carry it to the blood for elimination. Congestion in these vessels and …