Health Benefits Of Castor Oil
Extracted from castor beans, castor oil accounts for an all natural remedy since ancient times to induce labor and research has proved this to be not just one of those old wives’ tales! The oil is a great lubricant for dry eyes and can even help relieve constipation when ingested orally in safe doses. Topical application of the oil helps soothe chronic joint or knee pain.
One of the most popular industrial oils, castor oil has many medicinal uses. Extracted from the castor beans, legend has it that the castor plant, for the longest time was referred to as Palma Christe. This was because the leaves of the castor plant looked like the Christ’s palm. Ricinoleic acid, an unsaturated fatty acid found in castor oil, offers a lot of benefits for our health. Castor oil is used in many hair, skincare and makeup formulations, particularly in lip glosses due to it’s thick, sticky and shiny texture.
Know more about castor oil benefits for skin and hair.
It is one of the few oils that works as a magic potion no matter it is consumed orally or applied topically.
Benefits Of Castor Oil
1. Eases Constipation
The ingestion of castor oil eases constipation. One way is to drink it directly. But if you don’t like the taste, you can mix it with fruit juice and drink. In normal individuals, however, castor oil consumption may lead to diarrhea.
In a study conducted in Turkey, it was found that castor oil packs decreased the symptoms of constipation in the elderly. More than 80 percent of the subjects reported to have been constipated for 10 years or longer. After the packs, though the number of bowel movements or amount of feces were not affected, it did decrease the feces consistency score and straining to pass stools.1
2. Relieves Arthritis
Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, castor oil has great potential for those who suffer from arthritis. Simply massaging the area with a blend of castor oil and any other carrier oil can ease the pains with regular use. According to a four-week study, castor oil capsules also show good results on those with knee osteoarthritis.2
3. Lubricates Eyes
One of the best lubricants on the planet has to be of some use to the eyes as well, right? Several clinical studies prove that eye drops formulated with castor oil lubricates the eyes effectively. Meibomian gland dysfunction is a common eye problem where meibomian glands are blocked or have some dysfunction preventing it from secretting oil into the tears. This leads to lipid-deficiency dry eyes. In a study, 20 patients with the condition were given castor oil eye drops and were treated effectively.3
In another study on subjects with normal and dry eyes, it was observed that castor oil drops led to a more stable tear film and a significant decrease in dryness in the eyes.4
4. Kick Starts Labor!
There are many old wives’ tales about inducing labor, but most of them are not backed by science. Ingestion of castor oil to get things into gear in the last few days of the third trimester, however, has got the thumbs up from science. According to a study, pregnant women were asked to orally consume 60 ml of castor oil. It was observed that more than 57 percent of these women began active labor within 24 hours. Interestingly, 83.3 percent of these women delivered vaginally. It’s therefore safe to say that castor oil increases the chances of labor initiation.5
However, it may have side effects such as diarrhea and the risk of dehydration for the mother as well as increased chances of fetal bowel movement.6
5. Boosts Immunity
Clinical research has proved that the mere topical application of castor oil on the abdomen can boost the immune system. How does that happen? The application reportedly increases the lymphocyte count significantly, which are types of white blood cells that enhance our immune response.
In a study conducted on rats where they were fed with probiotic isolates from Raffia wine and challenged with castor oil, it was found that the percentage of lymphocytes and the total protein in the spleen increased with both probiotic isolates and castor oil.7
Castor oil is an anti-toxin, improving the functioning of the lymphatic system and enhancing immunological function. In a study published in the Journal of Naturopathic Medicine, it was noticed that lymphocyte values of subjects increased after topical castor oil application. The study found that castor oil pack therapy of minimal two-hour duration increased the number of T-11 cells and lymphocytes (both boost body’s defense mechanism) in the body. 8
How To Do Castor Oil Pack?
Castor oil packs are strongly recommended by ancient healing practices like Ayurveda, naturopathy, and traditional Chinese medicine. Here’s how you can make it at home.
To make the pack, you need flannel cloth, colourless plastic sheets, an electric heating pad or hot water bottle, 2-3 safety pins, castor oil and a large bath towel. After being folded two to four times, the flannel should ideally still be able to cover your entire belly. If you want to use it on any other part, it would have to be a suitable size.
Keep the plastic sheet under yourself and soak some castor oil into the cloth. Place it on your belly and place another plastic sheet over the oil-soaked cloth. Next, place the heating pad on top of the sheet and cover it all up with a towel; secure with safety pins if needed. Stay put for 60 to 90 minutes. You can get rid of the sticky feel afterwards by cleaning your skin with some baking soda and water.9
The message is loud and clear: Have better health with castor oil!
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Arslan, Gülşah Gürol, and İsmet Eşer. “An examination of the effect of castor oil packs on constipation in the elderly.” Complementary therapies in clinical practice 17, no. 1 (2011): 58-62.|
|2.||↑||Medhi, B., K. Kishore, U. Singh, and S. D. Seth. “Comparative clinical trial of castor oil and diclofenac sodium in patients with osteoarthritis.” Phytotherapy Research 23, no. 10 (2009): 1469-1473.|
|3.||↑||Goto, Eiki, Jun Shimazaki, Yu Monden, Yoji Takano, Yukiko Yagi, Shigeto Shimmura, and Kazuo Tsubota. “Low-concentration homogenized castor oil eye drops for noninflamed obstructive meibomian gland dysfunction.”Ophthalmology 109, no. 11 (2002): 2030-2035.|
|4.||↑||Maïssa, Cécile, Michel Guillon, Peter Simmons, and Joseph Vehige. “Effect of castor oil emulsion eyedrops on tear film composition and stability.”Contact Lens and Anterior Eye 33, no. 2 (2010): 76-82.|
|5.||↑||Garry, David, Reinaldo Figueroa, Jacques Guillaume, and Valerie Cucco. “Use of castor oil in pregnancies at term.” Alternative therapies in health and medicine 6, no. 1 (2000): 77.|
|6.||↑||Ohio State University. “Pregnancy: Walking, sex and spicy food are favored unprescribed methods to bring on labor.” ScienceDaily.(accessed November 7, 2016).|
|7.||↑||Flore, Tiepma NE, Zambou N. François, and Tchouanguep M. Félicité. “Immune system stimulation in rats by Lactobacillus sp. isolates from Raffia wine (Raphia vinifera).” Cellular immunology 260, no. 2 (2010): 63-65.|
|8.||↑||Castor Oil: An Essential For Health, Marion Institute.|
|9.||↑||McGarey, William A. The Oil That Heals: A Physician’s Success with Castor Oil Treatments. ARE Press, 1993.|