Castor oil, used for thousands of years for health, is now recognized for its benefits to hair and skin as well as its use as a topical pain reliever.
Castor oil is simple to use, easy to acquire, and inexpensive. The best news is that you don’t have to use it internally to reap its rewards.
Many decades ago, castor oil would have been a staple in homes and used to treat stomach aches or for a “spring cleanse” to eliminate parasites. In more recent years it is recognized for its pain relieving, abnormal growth reducing, and beauty enhancing properties.
Castor Oil and Inflammation
Research has shown that ricinoleic acid, the active component found in castor oil, has remarkable anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. (1)
Earth Clinic readers have written in about castor oil’s alleviating effect on pain for over 15 years now.
What is Castor Oil?
Castor oil comes from the castor bean, Ricinus communis.
The ricin in the castor bean is quite poisonous, but there is no ricin in castor oil once it has been processed from the bean.
The resulting oil, once processed is an amazing emollient. This alone makes it useful in many ways. But castor oil also has multiple uses in health, beauty and even industry.
It is easy to find in larger grocery stores, pharmacies and online. When using castor oil for health purposes, choose a brand that is cold pressed, hexane free and preferable organic.
Health Benefits of Castor Oil
Conditions that benefit from Castor Oil include:
- Kidney Stones
- Ovarian Cysts
- Swollen Lymph Nodes
- Nasal Polyps
- Nail Fungus
- Hair Thinning
- Skin Tags
- Insect Bites
- Age Spots
- Large Pores
- Dry Skin
- Lackluster Skin
How To Make a Castor Oil Pack
A castor oil pack is helpful to relieve pain, reduce cysts, growths, and as part of a complete treatment plan for kidney stones and gall stones. Castor oil packs are sometimes used over the liver for detox purposes.
Castor oil packs are not only soothing but they promote blood flow, white blood cell production and pain relief.
To make a castor oil pack, gather the following supplies:
- 100% cotton or wool cloth. This will be folded several times so start with a cloth much larger than the area that is to be covered. Castor oil packs can be small, even 1 inch by 1 inch or quite large – even 1 foot by 1 foot. It depend on what is being treated. An insect bite might need a small pack. A large pack is useful for back pain.
- Castor oil
- Plastic wrap
- Heat source (hot water bottle, warm rice sock, heating pad)
- Ace bandage or clothing that will keep the castor oil pack in place
- Fold the cotton or wool cloth into the size desired. Ideally, the resulting folded cloth with be several layers thick.
- Place the folded cloth onto a piece of plastic wrap.
- Pour some castor oil onto the cloth and allow it to soak in. Ideally, the entire cloth will be soaked (but not drenched) with castor oil. It should not be dripping but adequately moist.
- Place the castor oil cloth against the area of the body to be treated.
- Place plastic wrap over the cloth. Ideally it will go at least an inch beyond the cloth in all directions.
- Use an ace bandage to keep the castor oil pack in place. Old clothing can be used instead. For example if a castor oil pack is used on the lower leg, a long sock could be used to hold it in place. Likewise, a sock with the foot cut out could be used to hold a pack onto an elbow.
- Now apply the heat source (heating pad or hot water bottle). A castor oil pack can be applied for an hour or two or overnight. (Do not use a heating pad overnight.)
- After using the pack, fold up the castor oil cloth and place into a ziplock bag. It can be reused as many as 25-30 times. More castor oil may need to be added every few days. Replace the cloth with a fresh one if it becomes soiled.
- The skin will have some remaining castor oil, which can be rubbed into the skin or washed off in the shower. A baking soda solution can be used to remove the oil residue as well. (1 teaspoon baking soda in 1 cup of water.)
How to Use a Castor Oil Pack
Castor oil packs can be used as needed. It may take several applications to achieve results. For detox purposes, castor oil packs may be used 4 nights a week for a month or so.
Castor oil packs are wonderfully soothing when used for pain. When utilized overnight they bring pain relief and promote sleep. They can be used for joint pain, kidney stone pain, gall stone pain, back pain, etc.
Ovarian Cysts, Fibroids and Abdominal Adhesions
For reducing ovarian cysts, fibroid tumors or abdominal adhesions, use the castor oil packs 4 nights a week. Women should not use them during their menstrual cycle. They are also not recommended during pregnancy.
Castor Oil Massage
If you cannot do a castor oil pack, you can also massage the castor oil into the skin where pain is experienced. While this may not be as strong a delivery method as a castor oil pack, it will often bring relief to sprains, strains, and sore joints.
It is also helpful when used topically for hemorrhoids, skin tags, or moles..
How to Use Castor Oil for Hair Growth
Castor oil can be applied to the scalp, eyebrows or eyelashes to promote hair growth.
For eyelashes and eyebrows it is easiest to apply a light amount of oil to the lashes or brows at night and sleep with an old pillowcase on the pillow since the oil can stain.
To promote hair growth, apply castor oil to the scalp. This is accomplished most easily when the castor oil is first put into a cosmetic squeeze bottle with a tip. Then the oil can be applied directly to the scalp and gently massaged in. Cover the hair with a towel and leave the oil in for an hour or two, or overnight. It may take two shampooings to completely remove the castor oil. This treatment can be done 2-4 times a month as desired.
If the hair is long, it is important not to overdo the amount of castor oil in the hair as it can result in a tangled mess!
How to Use Castor Oil for Eyes
Castor oil is sometimes an ingredient in over the counter eye formulas. It is useful for dry eyes and has been reported to reduce cataracts and eye floaters. Simply drop one drop of castor oil into each eye at bedtime. It will leave the eyes blurry for a while and may sting a bit at first.
Castor oil can also be applied to the eyelids instead as it is quite penetrating. Applying castor oil to the eyelids is also a remedy to promote sleep.
How to Use Castor Oil for Beautiful Skin
Castor oil may seem too greasy to use on the face. However, it feels quite luxurious on the face and is used to prevent or decrease wrinkles, reduce puffiness, fade scars and get rid of pimples. Many find it leaves the face positively glowing when used as part of a bedtime ritual.
Use fingers to gently massage a few drops of castor oil to the face at bedtime. Use a tissue to blot off any excess. By morning the oil has usually completely absorbed into the skin. Castor oil on the face the night before can also make make-up application smooth in the morning and make up removal quick at the end of the day.
Castor oil massaged into the feet at bedtime can benefit athlete’s foot and calloused feet. Corns may also be reduced or eliminated with this nightly routine.
How to Use Castor Oil for Swollen Lymph Nodes
To reduce the pain and inflammation of swollen lymph nodes and promote lymph flow, massage castor oil onto the skin wherever the nodes are inflamed. This can be done twice daily or as needed.
How to Use Castor Oil for Nasal Polyps
Castor oil can be dripped into the nostrils a couple of times a day to reduce the size and irritation of nasal polyps.
Castor Oil for Pets
Castor oil benefits four legged family members as well. It is used by pet owners to reduce cysts and tumors. As with humans, it is applied to the eyes for cataracts. For more information, please visit Earth Clinic’s page: Castor Oil for Dogs and Cats.
Have you used castor oil for health or beauty? Please send us some feedback! Continue reading to see how our readers have used castor oil for good health!