What is Castor Oil?
Castor oil is a vegetable oil derived from the castor bean seed in its purest form. It is colorless, odorless and tasteless. Cultivators of castor beans remove the hull of the seed, before pressing it to obtain the oil.
The history of castor oil goes back a long way, with Ancient Egyptians allegedly using it for their lamps around 4000 BC. Greek travelers like Herodotus recorded that the Egyptians also used it as an ointment. Cleopatra reportedly used it for brightening the whites of her eyes. Over the years, castor oil has earned a phenomenal reputation for being a laxative, cathartic, and purgative medicine. Angelina Jolie and Britney Spears are just two famous fans of this restorative oil!
Uses of Castor Oil: Hair Growth, Skincare and Labor Induction
• as a laxative
• to treat fungal infections on the skin
• to soothe the eyes
• to obtain relief from joint pains
• to improve the appearance of the skin and give it a youthful glow
• to obtain silkier, more lustrous hair
• to manufacture various products
Split ends and dryness are quickly fixed by the moisturizing power of castor oil, which works as a great alternative to conditioner. Castor oil, when applied to the hair, coats each strand, locking in moisture. It gives you silkier, more lustrous hair and can improve the overall condition of your locks. Massaging your head with castor oil can improve blood circulation, which can help stimulate hair growth. Castor oil can also combat scalp infections that lead to a loss of hair. Its germicidal properties make it effective for treating several hair-related ailments like dandruff, folliculitis, etc. (read more)
Castor oil has been used as a childbirth aid since ancient times, and it’s still popular for this purpose in many parts of the world. Many women report it helped them have a quicker and less painful labor, but what is it about castor oil that might cause this? Research into this topic is limited but speak to your doctor or midwife if you’d like advice about how to use it to assist with childbirth. (read more)
If you would like to minimise the appearance of wrinkles on your face, castor oil may be able to help you. It has a low-molecular weight, which means that it is absorbed fast by your skin. It then stimulates the production of collagen and other tissues. This means it can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, as well as pimples, acne, eye bags, sunburn, dry skin, stretch marks, among others. It works well on itchy skin too! (read more)
Massage and lump removal
Since castor oil has a soothing effect on the skin, it is a great choice as a massage oil. It is also an excellent choice to relieve the symptoms of arthritis. It is believed that it can not only penetrate the skin, but the organs as well. It can even dissolve cysts and warts with frequent use.
Do you have a mouth sore? Or an open wound? Castor has been used for centuries to cure such ailments. This is because castor oil contains ricinoleic acid, which has excellent antimicrobial properties. It is also effective for in the treatment of bladder and vaginal infections, and can be used to deal with fungal infections like ringworm. When used around the eyes, it can provide relief from the dust and other particles that entered the eyes. Castor oil is also effective for treating eye problems like styes.
As well as the medicinal industry, the manufacturing sector also uses castor oil. Items like paints, dyes, sealants, varnishes and lubricants often contain castor oil. It is also used in the manufacture of soaps and cosmetics, and as a flavoring agent in food products.
Hair Growth Products Comparison Table
Variable. Typically only good when hair loss is related to vitamin deficiency
Can be effective for some people. Does not stimulate new hair growth
How Long to Start Working
Difference usually noticeable after two weeks
Approximately one month
Approximately one month
Method of use
Massage oil into the hair and scalp
Take daily dietary supplements
Take daily dietary supplements
Moisturizes the hair, nourishes roots, stimulates circulation, combats fungal, bacterial and viral skin infections
Wide range of health benefits if there is a lack of vitamins in the diet. If there is no deficiency, the health benefits of taking additional vitamins may be limited
Can help to reduce cholesterol, regulate blood sugar and improve skin health. Benefits, however, may only be seen/felt upon regular dosage
None, if taken according to the instructions on it’s label
Taking high quantities of vitamins can be harmful
Typically none although there have been some reports of biotin causing acne.
KE writing on Amazon.com says that she had heard people raving about the benefits of castor oil for years but she herself used coconut oil. .She eventually gave in to curiosity and started applying castor oil to her hair almost every night. She has seen great results since starting this new regime, and her hair is now thicker and longer. This is not something any coconut oil can do, only castor oil.
Meanwhile, Rach021788 of babycenter.com used castor oil to assist with childbirth. She explains that after taking two tablespoons of castor oil, she had her first contraction an hour later. She then was rushed to the hospital a few hours after because her water had broken! She was satisfied with castor oil and did not experience any labor complications!
Kirk, on Amazon.com, also tried this product and shared it with his whole family. He explains that his family has all suffered with dry skin for as long as they could remember but that castor oil has put an end to this. He also mentions that it helps them especially during winter when the skin is more prone than usual to becoming dry and cracked.
Castor Oil Benefits and Drawbacks
Common benefits of using castor oil include:
• An improvement in general well-being
• Obtaining relief from various ailments
• Boosting levels of immunity
Some drawbacks include:
• Inducing early labor if taken by pregnant women before they are ready to deliver
• Aggravation of conditions if consumed by people suffering from certain ailments
The Antidote to Several Ailments
When taken for a short-term, castor oil is generally beneficial. Apart from the plus-points mentioned above, castor oil also has other therapeutic benefits. These include providing relief for people suffering from asthma, dysentery and inflammatory bowel syndrome, among other conditions. People also use castor oil to boost immunity, and as an antimicrobial agent.
Things to Guard Against
While castor oil offers a wide range of advantages, you should always fully read the packaging and label before using it. It’s important to bear in mind that you must never consume castor oil seeds orally. The hull contains ricin, which is very toxic. This is removed during the castor oil manufacture process when the oil is separated from the hull.
Like any medication, there are some people castor oil might not work for. Allergies to castor oil are very rare, but can happen. Using castor oil if you’re allergic to it might cause some rashes and itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness and, in extreme cases, trouble breathing.