Castor oil is a multi-purpose vegetable oil that has been used for thousands of years by humans.
The oil from the seeds of the Ricinus communis plant is extracted to make it.
These castor bean seeds contain ricin, a toxic enzyme. The heating process that castor oil goes through, on the other hand, deactivates it, allowing the oil to be used safely.
Castor oil is useful in a variety of medical, agricultural, and pharmaceutical applications.
It is widely used as an ingredient in foods, drugs, and skincare products, as well as an industrial lubricant and part of biodiesel fuel.
Castor oil was used as a fuel in lamps in ancient Egypt, as a natural remedy for ailments such as eye irritation, and was even offered to pregnant women to stimulate labor.
Castor oil is still used in natural beauty products and is a popular natural remedy for common conditions such as constipation and skin ailments.
What are the benefits and uses of castor oil?
- A Powerful Laxative
One of the most well-known medicinal applications of castor oil is as a natural laxative.
It is known as a stimulant laxative, which means that it enhances the movement of the muscles that force material into the intestines, thus aiding in bowel clearance.
Stimulant laxatives work quickly and are widely used to alleviate constipation.
Castor oil is broken down in the small intestine after being absorbed by the mouth, releasing ricinoleic acid, the main fatty acid in castor oil. The ricinoleic acid is then absorbed by the intestine, causing it to have a strong laxative effect.
Several studies have shown that castor oil can help with constipation.
For example, one study discovered that when elderly people took castor oil, they had fewer constipation symptoms, such as less straining during defecation and less recorded feelings of incomplete bowel movements.
Although small amounts of castor oil are considered healthy, larger amounts can cause abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
While castor oil may be used to alleviate occasional constipation, it is not recommended as a long-term treatment.
Castor oil may be used as a natural treatment for constipation on occasion. It should not be used to treat chronic constipation because it can cause side effects such as cramping and diarrhea.
- A Natural Moisturizer
Ricinoleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid, is abundant in castor oil.
These fats have humectant properties and can be used to moisturize the skin.
Humectants keep moisture in the skin by preventing water loss through the skin’s outer layer.
Castor oil is often used in cosmetics to facilitate hydration, and it is often applied to items such as lotions, lipstick, and cleansers.
This rich oil can also be used on its own as a natural alternative to store-bought moisturizers and lotions.
Many common store-bought moisturizing products contain potentially harmful ingredients such as preservatives, perfumes, and dyes, which can irritate the skin and damage overall health.
By substituting castor oil for these ingredients, you will reduce your sensitivity to these additives.
Furthermore, castor oil is inexpensive and can be used on both the face and the body.
Since castor oil is thick, it is often combined with other skin-friendly oils such as almond, olive, and coconut oil to create an ultra-hydrating moisturizer.
Although applying castor oil to the skin is generally considered healthy, it can cause an allergic reaction in some people.
Castor oil can help lock moisture in the skin. Though this natural alternative to store-bought products is considered safe for most, it can cause allergic reactions in some.
- Promotes Wound Healing
When castor oil is applied to wounds, it provides a moist atmosphere that facilitates healing and keeps sores from drying out.
Benelux, a common ointment used to treat wounds in clinical settings, contains a combination of castor oil and Peru balsam, a balm derived from the Myroxylon tree.
Castor oil promotes tissue formation, allowing a barrier to developing between the wound and the environment, reducing the risk of infection.
It also decreases dryness and cornification, which is the accumulation of dead skin cells that can cause wound healing to be delayed.
According to research, ointments containing castor oil may be particularly beneficial in the healing of pressure ulcers, a form of the wound caused by prolonged pressure on the skin.
One research looked at the wound-healing efficacy of a castor oil ointment in 861 nursing home residents who had pressure ulcers.
Those whose wounds were treated with castor oil healed at a faster rate and in less time than those treated with other treatments.
Castor oil promotes wound healing by promoting new tissue growth, reducing dryness, and preventing the accumulation of dead skin cells.
- Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Ricinoleic acid, the main fatty acid present in castor oil, has powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
Castor oil has been shown in studies to minimize inflammation and pain when applied topically.
Castor oil’s anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties can be particularly beneficial to those suffering from inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or psoriasis.
Ricinoleic acid has been shown in animal and test-tube tests to alleviate pain and swelling.
When compared to other treatment approaches, one study found that applying a ricinoleic acid gel to the skin resulted in a substantial reduction in pain and inflammation.
In the same research, ricinoleic acid helped minimize inflammation caused by human rheumatoid arthritis cells more than another drug.
Aside from its ability to reduce inflammation, castor oil can help alleviate dry, irritated skin in people with psoriasis due to its moisturizing properties.
While these findings are encouraging, further human research is needed to determine the effects of castor oil on inflammatory conditions.
Castor oil is rich in ricinoleic acid, a fatty acid that has been shown in animal and test-tube tests to help relieve pain and inflammation.
- Reduces Acne
Acne is a skin disorder that causes blackheads, pus-filled pimples, and big, painful bumps on the face and body.
It is most common in adolescents and young adults and can harm self-esteem.
Castor oil has many properties that can aid in the reduction of acne symptoms.
Since inflammation is thought to play a role in the development and severity of acne, applying castor oil to the skin can aid in the reduction of inflammation-related symptoms.
Acne is also linked to an excess of some forms of bacteria present on the skin, such as Staphylococcus aureus.
When applied to the skin, castor oil contains antimicrobial properties that may aid in the battle against bacterial overgrowth.
In one test tube sample, castor oil extract inhibited the growth of many bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus.
Castor oil is also a natural moisturizer, so it can help soothe the inflamed and irritated skin that is common in acne sufferers.
Castor oil reduces bacteria, fights inflammation, and soothes irritated skin, all of which can be beneficial for those looking for a natural acne remedy.
- Fights Fungus
Candida albicans is a fungus that usually causes dental problems such as plaque buildup, gum infections, and root canal infections.
Castor oil has antifungal properties and can aid in the battle against Candida, thus keeping the mouth safe.
Castor oil was found to be effective in removing Candida albicans from infected human tooth roots in one test tube sample.
Castor oil can also aid in the treatment of denture-related stomatitis, a painful condition caused by Candida overgrowth. This is a common problem among the elderly who wear dentures.
A review of 30 elderly people with denture-related stomatitis found that using castor oil improved clinical symptoms of stomatitis, including inflammation.
Another research discovered that cleaning and soaking dentures in a castor oil solution resulted in substantial reductions in Candida in elderly people who wear dentures.
Several studies have shown that castor oil can help combat Candida albicans-caused fungal infections in the mouth.
- Maintains the health of your hair and scalp
Castor oil is widely used as a natural hair conditioner.
An intense moisturizer, such as castor oil, can be particularly beneficial to dry or damaged hair.
Regularly applying fats to the hair, such as castor oil, helps lubricate the hair shaft, improving durability and lowering the risk of breakage.
Castor oil can help people with dandruff, a common scalp condition characterized by dry, flaky skin on the scalp.
Though dandruff can be caused by a variety of factors, it has been related to seborrhoeic dermatitis, an inflammatory skin disorder characterized by red, scaly patches on the scalp.
Because of its ability to minimize inflammation, castor oil can be an effective treatment for dandruff caused by seborrhoeic dermatitis.
Furthermore, applying castor oil to the scalp will help moisturize dry, irritated skin and can minimize flaking.
Castor oil’s moisturizing and anti-inflammatory properties make it an excellent option for keeping hair smooth and hydrated while also reducing dandruff symptoms.
Related article: Itchy Scalp Causes and How to Get Rid of It
Many people use castor oil to treat a wide range of ailments, either by ingesting it or applying it to their skin.
While castor oil is generally regarded as healthy, it can cause adverse reactions and unwanted side effects in some individuals.
- Can induce labor: Medical professionals use it to induce labor. As a result, pregnant women at all times should stop consuming castor oil.
- Can cause diarrhea: While it can be an effective way to relieve constipation, too much of it can cause diarrhea. Dehydration and electrolyte imbalances can occur as a result of diarrhea.
- Can cause allergic
- reactions: When applied to the skin, it may cause an allergic reaction in some people. To begin, apply a small amount to a small patch of skin and observe how your body reacts.
Some people may experience side effects from castor oil, such as allergic reactions and diarrhea. Pregnant women should avoid it because it can cause labor.
The Bottom Line
For thousands of years, people have used castor oil as a powerful natural treatment for a variety of health issues.
It has been shown to relieve constipation and moisturize dry skin, among other things.
If you’re looking for cheap, multi-purpose oil to keep in your medicine cabinet, castor oil might be a good option.