Castor oil is pale yellow-colored oil extracted from castor beans, which are taken from the castor oil plant, biologically known as Ricinus Communis. The oil itself has no very little odor and is tasteless. Known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties, it has been in use for its therapeutic and medicinal benefits for many centuries.
Today, castor oil renders its beneficial services to various sectors, from farming to industrial, as it is widely used in products like brakes & engine lubricants, paints, dyes, coatings, inks, medicines, nail polishes, perfumes, soaps, and many others. But it’s the high concentration of unsaturated fatty acids that lend castor oil its set of health benefits and is used as both, internal and external remedy for treating minor to major illnesses.
The following section will provide information about the various health benefits of it, so keep on reading.
- Castor oil is rich in acids such as ricinoleic acid, oleic acid, linoleic acid, and other fatty acids that are known to be effective in the treatment of rheumatism, arthritis, and gout, etc. At times, It is mixed with other medicines to facilitate their penetration and to enhance the healing effects of rheumatism.
- Due to the germicidal properties of a toxin called ricin, a protein, present in castor oil, it is often used as a spermicidal in spermicidal gels and lotions. However, the use of it should be administered in small dosages. Not only can a high dosage to pregnant women cause abortions, but it can prove to be fatal for the mother too.
- The ricinoleic acid found in castor oil is known to be an emenagogue (an agent that promotes menstrual discharge) in nature and helps open menstruation in cases of delayed, painful, or stopped menstruation. It also helps alleviate pain during menstruation.
- Along with being an emenagogue, castor oil is also a galactagogue (an agent that induces milk secretion) in nature. And because of this, it is often used for easing and enhancing the flow of milk. Apart from this, it also increases the quality of milk due to the presence of fatty acids in it. However, to avoid its adverse effects on an infant, its cold compressed form should only be taken in low doses.
- Another acid, undecylenic acid, found in castor oil is known to possess germicidal and disinfectant properties and is found useful in treating various skin diseases such as sunburns, abrasions, acne, dry skin, boils, warts, ulcers, athlete’s foot, and chronic itching.
- Two of the prime causes that lead to hair loss are microbial and fungal infections. Castor oil contains ricin and ricinoleic acid, both of which are known to have germicidal, insecticidal, and fungicidal properties, and help protect hair and scalp from these two prime causes. Apart from that, the fatty acids present in it not only nourish the hair but also prevent the scalp from drying out by retaining moisture.
- According to the studies, castor oil is a very strong laxative and is found to be very effective against extreme cases of constipation where even the bulk of laxatives don’t work. A teaspoon of castor oil mixed with orange, cranberry, prune, or ginger juice can take the bitter taste away without reducing its laxative effects.
- Castor oil is known to have a softening and soothing effect on the skin and is a great natural remedy for treating wrinkles. It penetrates the skin and stimulates the production of collagen and elastin, which hydrate and soften the skin.
- Since it is known to strengthen the immune system, it is considered a wonderful remedy to treat major illnesses like multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy, gastrointestinal problems, sciatic nerve pain, lymph problems, tumors, migraines, ringworm, inflammations, and because of its germicidal and anti-viral properties, it is also used in medicines for HIV positive people and on burns and infections to protect them from getting infected.
To gain these health benefits of castor oil without any side effects, it is advised that it should be used in moderation and that a doctor should be consulted before consuming it internally.
This article is for informational purposes only. It should not be taken as medical advice.