Top 6 Castor Oil Benefits

Castor oil is made by processing the seeds of a plant called Ricinus communis, also known as castor plant, which can be found in countries like India, Egypt, Algeria, and Greece. This oil has been proven to provide many health benefits, especially for hair and skin care.

Castor Oil Benefits

1. Treating Rheumatism

Since castor oil can be easily absorbed by the skin, many manufacturers use it as a base for various types of pain-killer and anti-inflammatory ointments and creams. Even more, castor oil has many fatty acids like linoleic acid, oleic acid, and ricinoleic acid, which can help reduce symptoms of gout, rheumatism, and arthritis.

2. Emmenagogue

Castor oil can act as an emmenagogue because of the ricinoleic acid it contains, which means that it has the property of provoking menstruation as well as helping to regulate it and decreasing symptoms like bloating and menstrual cramps.

3. Skin Care

Castor oil benefits include skin care. One of the several fatty acids that can be found in castor oil, known as undecylenic acid, has antibacterial and antifungal properties which can be exploited in treating various skin diseases, especially those caused by either of these two agents.

People with skin wounds or burns can also benefit by its protective, moisturizing and anti-inflammatory properties. 

4. Relieving Constipation

Historically, castor oil has been used as a purgative; therefore in some cases, it can be used to relieve constipation when other treatments had failed. However, it must be ingested with precaution, preferably with a doctor's approval.

5. Helping Lactation

This is one of the castor oil benefits. Because its galactagogue capacity which means that encourages milk production, castor oil can be ingested during this period, but at very low dosages to avoid any unwanted effect on the child. When properly taken, it can increase the amount of milk produced and ease the flow of it.

6. Hair Care

Fatty acids such as ricinoleic acid contained in castor oil can prevent infections in the scalp, especially fungal ones which are very common and can cause dandruff, hair loss, or other unwanted conditions. Besides, castor oil has moisturizing properties that can help maintain strong and shiny hair.

How to Use Castor Oil

There are two ways of using castor oil, ingested or topically. In any case, you need to be certain that the product you are using is of the best quality possible; you need to do your research and make sure the oil you are buying is a trustworthy brand of cold-press pure castor oil. Failing to do this and relying on a cheap or questionable brand can put your health at serious risk, or in the best case scenario, it just won't be as effective as expected.

The recommended dose will vary, depending on what you are planning to use it for and many other factors like your age, previous health conditions and existing allergies. In any case, you need to carefully read the package and the instructions it provides. Always start with a low dose and increase it over time as needed.

In adults, a single teaspoon of castor oil per day is enough to regulate gastrointestinal functions. If you want to use it just for general health maintenance, then lower doses can do the work. In children, half a teaspoon of castor oil is the recommended dose. Be aware that this oil does not have a pleasant taste and odor; therefore most people dilute it in juice before consuming it orally.

Precautions of Using

Despite the castor oil benefits, keep the following tips in mind for safe use.

  • Before using castor oil either externally or ingested, you should put a small drop of it on your skin to know if you may have an allergic reaction to it.
  • In some cases, castor oil can interact with some prescribed and over-the-counter drugs, so always check with your doctor to make sure you can safely ingest it. Do not take it for more than a straight week unless your doctor recommends you to do it.
  • Pregnant women or women who may suspect pregnancy should never ingest castor oil because it can lead to abortions or premature birth accompanied with abundant hemorrhage that can put grave danger not only to the fetus but also to the mother.
  • If you have a peptic ulcer or gastrointestinal hemorrhage, castor oil should be avoided.
  • Side effects that castor oil may produce include dizziness, nausea, fainting, abdominal pain, breathing difficulty, chest pain, or in very rare cases hallucinations.
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