What is castor oil?
Castor oil has been popularly known for treating skin-related infections, promoting healthy hair, and relieving constipation. However, some studies have shown that castor oil has more important uses when it comes to supporting the body’s immune system. Castor oil is known to increase the count of white blood cells and T-11 cells, which are produced by the lymphocytes for the destruction of cancer cells, bacteria, fungi, or viruses.
The benefits of castor oil all come down to its chemical composition, wherein it is classified as a triglyceride fatty acid. Ninety percent of its fatty acid content is a specific compound called as ricinoleic acid. Since ricinoleic acid is not found in many substances, castor oil is considered as a unique oil. Ricinoleic acid is a dense and concentrated source. It is produced by cold-pressing the seeds and then through the process of oil clarification by heat.
Uses of Castor Oil
1. Helps in Boosting Circulation
A healthy immunity and proper blood flow always go hand in hand. When the lymphatic system fails or when an individual develops edema, which is mostly caused by fluid buildup and toxin retention, there is an increased risk that the individual can become chronically unwell. The circulatory system is mainly responsible for transporting nutrients, blood, oxygen, and carbon dioxide along with hormones throughout the body.
The circulatory system moves oxygen around the body passing through the small arteries and tiny blood vessels known as the capillaries. Blood exchanges nutrients and oxygen for cellular waste in the lung's microscopic tubular structures. This process is very important for keeping all of us alive since it brings oxygen to the cells along with body detoxification.
2. Relieves Muscle Soreness
Castor oil is known to be a warm oil that helps promote the smooth circulation of fluids in the body. Hence, it is regarded as an excellent oil for massage, which also provides relief from soreness. Soreness is usually due to overworking the muscles. If you have been doing vigorous exercises or any type of intense sports activity, then there can be a chance for you to develop an aching calf or thigh muscle pain. To relieve muscle pain and soreness, apply castor oil to the affected area and rub the oil gently. You will find relief within a few minutes of applying the oil.
3. Eases Joint Pain
Ricinoleic acid has pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. It constitutes almost 90 percent of castor oil.
Lymph vessels are known to form a wide range of network throughout the body. They collect waste from various tissues and carry it to the blood to expel it out. Vessel congestion and the collection of toxic waste materials are involved in various autoimmune diseases such as arthritis, which causes joint pain and inflammation.
The use of castor oil helps soothe the congestion by allowing the lymph vessels to freely move. Castor oil directly works on the immune system, wherein it stimulates the thymus gland to produce more lymphocytes.
One advantage of using castor oil is that you can naturally achieve pain relief by just externally applying the oil. In the case of getting relief from arthritic pain, a mixture of cayenne pepper and castor oil makes for an excellent remedy.
4. Helps Heal Skin Wounds and Infections
The health of the skin reflects an individual's gut health. A healthy skin also defines how balanced are the individual’s hormones and how healthy the immune system is. There are numerous chemically loaded skin products available in the market and applying them on the skin may lead to a lot of side effects such as skin irritation, which could get worse in some cases. Castor oil is completely natural and free from synthetically made ingredients.
It directly gets absorbed in the skin, thereby providing several positive outcomes on the appearance of the skin. The regular application of castor oil to the skin can help improve blood circulation, which would help the body fight against various kinds of infections, and at the same time, helps to heal wounds faster. Castor oil is known to contain antimicrobial properties, which mainly target the underlying problem of different skin disorders. With the use of castor oil, it freely allows the movement of lymph vessels. It helps speed up the removal of cellular-related toxins and reducing any redness, swelling, and inflammation, which are the main causes of most medical illnesses.
Due to its fungicidal property, castor oil helps fight against fungal infections such as ringworm (tinea), jock itch (tinea cruris), and athlete's foot (tinea pedis). Castor oil tends to be more effective than other drugs used for the treatment of these fungal infections.
To use castor oil for fungal infections, you can heat the oil and allow it to slightly cool. This procedure can be done before bedtime. When it is warm, gently apply it on the affected area and leave it overnight. Repeat the same process for a couple of weeks to ensure that there is significant improvement on the infection. This treatment can be continued until the infection is completely healed.
5. Helps Induce Labor
Castor oil has been effectively tested for naturally inducing labor. For centuries, pregnant women who are in full-term labor are orally given castor oil to help speed up the contractions of the uterus. Castor oil can naturally induce labor due to its ricinoleic acid content. This fatty acid helps activate the EP3 prostanoid receptors present in the uterus. However, one downside of castor oil is that it causes nausea to pregnant women, which is why castor oil is not used in hospitals.
6. Promotes Healthy and Faster Hair Growth
Using castor oil helps promote the growth of hair. The main reason is that massaging warm castor oil on the scalp leads to circulatory improvement leading to faster hair growth. However, the application of castor oil should be done on a regular basis for best results. Heat the oil for a bit and allow it to cool before application. While it is warm, apply the oil on the scalp in circular motion.
This process can be done every night before going to bed. You will see the difference within two weeks of using castor oil. If an individual has scanty eyebrows, then a warm castor oil can be applied to the eyebrow ridge with the help of a cotton swab. By regularly applying castor oil, you will eventually find that your hair grows dense, which helps you shape of your eyebrows according to your preference. Moreover, for individuals who are suffering from alopecia, this oil can be applied to hair loss areas.
Alopecia is a type of hair loss caused by an autoimmune disorder. The use of castor oil works well with its anti-inflammatory properties. Apart from increasing the volume of hair, castor oil is also known to enhance the natural color and shine of the hair, so that it looks healthy and thick. Using castor oil also helps lock in hair moisture, thereby avoiding dry hair cases. The moisture on the hair shaft is preserved making each strand of hair look thicker and dark. Once you have washed your hair, dry it properly with a soft towel.
To use the oil, warm one tablespoon of castor oil and dip your fingers in the oil. Now, run your fingers on the strands of your hair, so that each and every strand properly gets the oil. For those who have long hair, they can divide their hair into two sections and gently rub each section of hair with their palms, so that their hair strands are coated with castor oil.
7. Constipation Relief
Castor oil is a natural laxative when orally taken. It helps prevent straining and provides the feeling of complete relief after a bowel movement. Castor oil contains a fatty acid called as ricinoleic acid, which is released in the intestine when this oil is orally taken. This ricinoleic acid helps in the proper digestion, allows the proper absorption of nutrients along with cleansing the system.
This then ultimately helps in regularizing and softening the stools. With the regular use of castor oil, the small intestine works by effectively absorbing fat and removing toxins or bad bacteria. The oil promotes a better lymphatic drainage and blood circulation. Hence, castor oil has been considered as a natural remedy for constipation.
The gut also stays healthy, wherein there is a balance of good and bad bacteria leading to a lesser interference with the bowel movements. An individual who has a healthy gut would complain less of constipation, less chances of abdominal cramps, edema, and other symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
8. Promotes Good Sleep
In today’s busy life, almost everybody experiences emotional, mental, or physical stress. Stress leads to deprivation of sleep, which can also give rise to a number of health issues. Sleep is not something that can be forced on an individual. An individual should sleep without any interruption for seven to eight hours at a stretch.
Castor oil is also known to help promote sleep without any delay and for an extended period of time. Thus, individuals whose biological clock have turned upside down can use castor oil to achieve more hours of uninterrupted sleep.
Studies are unable to explain as to what ingredient in castor oil induces sleep, but for individuals who have used castor oil on their hair and around their eyes have confirmed that it is really effective. For those who are unable to sleep on time or if they frequently have interrupted sleep, then a dab of castor oil on their eyelids may help promote deep slumber for seven to eight hours.
9. Reduces the Symptoms of Arthritis
Individuals who are suffering from joint and muscle pain due to arthritis can use castor oil since the oil is known to contain anti-inflammatory properties. Castor oil can be directly massaged on the painful joints and muscles. For better healing, you can try massaging the painful areas using warm castor oil before applying a hot water pack. This would lead to increase in drainage and absorption. This procedure can be done two times a week to get the maximum result.
10. Eases Colic Problems in Babies
There are times when infants uncontrollably cry due to colic pain, which happens in the first few months after birth. The exact cause of colic pain is still not known. However, there are varied reasons linked with colic pain such as gas, underdeveloped gastrointestinal tract, and abnormal spasms. Castor oil is known to provide better relief from colic pain compared to other forms of colic relief such as oral medications.
Castor oil should not be orally given to babies as it should be externally applied on the abdominal area. The explanation as to why castor oil makes an effective colic relief in babies is still unknown. Some say it can be due to the oil's analgesic properties while some say that it's due to the oil's effective soporific effect, which helps calm the babies. Ultimately, castor oil provides a quick colic relief leading to a baby's sound sleep.
- Ninety percent of castor oil's fatty acid content is a specific compound called as ricinoleic acid, which can help induce labor and relieves constipation.
- Castor oil is known to increase the count of white blood cells and T-11 cells, which are produced by the lymphocytes for the destruction of cancer cells, bacteria, fungi, or viruses.
- Due to its fungicidal property, castor oil helps fight against fungal infections such as ringworm (tinea), jock itch (tinea cruris), and athlete's foot (tinea pedis).