Benefits, uses and toxicity of Castor Oil

Castor oil is a great moisturizer and laxative, but it also has many other benefits: from being a natural treatment for hair loss and dandruff to skin problems, eyelashes, and arthritis, or even as a balm for insect bites.

What is castor oil?

This oil can be obtained by pressing the seeds of its homonymous plant (the castor oil plant) and it’s mostly made of fatty acids (90% of ricinoleic acid). The properties of the oil can be found in the ricinoleic acids.

The castor plant (Ricinus communis) has been grown and used for centuries, and it’s believed to have originated at the Horn of Africa, but today, the plant has naturalized in warm climate regions, since it cannot withstand frosts.

Toxicity of castor oil.

It is often mentioned that castor oil is toxic because the raw seed of the plant actually is. In fact, castor oil contains ricin, one of the most toxic substances found in nature.

But consumption of castor oil itself isn’t dangerous; it’s actually quite the opposite. The toxin enzyme concentration is minimal, so using it regularly poses no threat. Even so, an overdose of castor oil could still lead to digestive problems such as colic, diarrhea, and nausea, see: NIH

It has many uses in different areas, from lubricant to food additives; as for medicinal uses, it is recommended for the skin, as an immunosuppressant, and for treatment of pain because of its antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties.

Castor oil has been used throughout history dating back to the time of ancient Egyptians, although it’s also been recorded to have made an appearance in Asian history.

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Uses and medicinal properties of Castor Oil:

Relief for arthritis.

It can be used as an ointment or by rubbing the oil directly over the afflicted areas. It’s advisable to warm up the oil before using it and to apply it with the help of a cloth so it can be absorbed better.

Calluses on feet.

It’s often used to soften the callus and ease the process of removing the dead skin. To do this, you should apply the oil directly on the callus and cover it with a bandage, doing this every night and repeating the treatment until the callus reduces its size or disappears completely.

Removing moles.

This is one of the most common uses for castor oil. The process involves combining the oil with sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and applying it with a bandage over the mole, leaving it overnight and repeating the process until the mole falls off on its own.

Reducing dark circles.

Apply a single drop right below the eyes and massage gently.

Skin care.

The oil is an excellent moisturizer and that’s why it’s often used in many creams and ointments. It has a natural, mild emollient effect on the skin.

Longer eyelashes.

Castor oil is a true and natural extension for eyelashes. It makes them lush, longer and it can actually stimulate their growth. Apply the oil with a mascara brush every night before going to bed and do not rinse it.

 

For the hair.

It’s ideal to strengthen and regenerate hair, especially in people with dry and thin hair. The oil can be used in its pure form, or it can be combined with different ones, such as coconut oil.

  • It prevents hair loss.
  • It’s a moisturizer due to the fatty acids present in it.
  • It works as a natural hair conditioner.
  • It moisturizes and nourishes the hair.
  • It helps to get rid of dandruff.
  • Strengthens the roots and scalp.
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Strengthen the nails.

Castor oil is rich in vitamin E which can be used to make the nails stronger and longer. Apply directly with the help of a cotton ball.

For eyebrows.

Just as on eyelashes, castor oil can be applied directly on the eyebrows to stimulate growth and thickening.

Contraindications:

On sensitive people, it can lead to skin reactions or allergies, as well as intestinal disorders. It is not recommended for people suffering from colitis, ulcers, hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome, rectal prolapse, or people that have recently undergone surgical treatment.

It shouldn’t be used during pregnancy or lactation.

In case of any strange symptom or adverse reaction, suspend its use and consult a doctor.

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