Most of the time, castor oil is used externally such as with a castor oil pack, though there are some internal uses. You may or may not heard of castor oil, but I bet you had no idea how useful this cheap and safe oil can be.
Castor oil is expressed from the seeds of the castor plant (Ricinius communis) and has a rich history as a traditional remedy for a variety of ailments.
Some say it can be a beautifier for hair and skin, which may have some merit, being that it’s an oil and therefore, moisturizing. It has a subtle smell, a smooth texture, and absorbs fairly easily. It has a lot of positive effects on the underlying tissues.
4 Ways To Use Castor Oils
Some great ways on how to use castor oil, including how to make a castor oil pack, are listed below.
The liver is a critical organ – one of its many jobs is to neutralize chemicals in our bodies (hormones, pharmaceuticals, alcohol, cellular wastes, etc) and prepare them for disposal through the gut or the urine.
In naturopathic medicine, castor oil is often used to help stimulate the liver with this detox function by using castor oil packs on the abdomen. Check out the tutorial below on how to make your own castor oil pack.
DIY Detoxifying Castor Oil Pack
- Castor oil
- Old flannel shirt
- Plastic wrap
- Hot water bottle
- Old towel
- Fold the flannel a few layers thick, and large enough to cover the upper abdomen, especially the area over the right lower ribs.
- Saturate the flannel with castor oil so it’s moist by not dripping.
- Place the flannel over the abdomen as mentioned in step 1, and cover the whole of the flannel with plastic wrap.
- Place a hot water bottle on top of the plastic and flannel, and cover with the towel.
- Keep the castor oil pack on for an hour, then remove and wash your skin.
- The oil can stain fabrics, so protect your furniture and good clothes. Also, wash the towel separately.
- The saturated flannel can be stored in a zip-lock, and reused as often as necessary with an occasional top-up of the oil as it dries.
- Do the pack for a few consecutive days every once in a while as a detox.
“Too much pushing!” – constipation
Internally, castor oil acts in the intestines as a laxative, which means that it can be used to relieve occasional constipation (1 tablespoon for adults, 1 teaspoon for kids over 6 years old).
It is quite safe to use in the short term (less than 5 days), but as with any stimulating laxative, it’s not a good idea for long-term treatment of constipation.
Doing clock-wise castor oil belly rubs can help babies and kids with mild constipation and to encourage the movement of their digestive tracts.
On a side-note, if chronic constipation is an issue, there are other natural ways for how to get rid of constipation that may not necessarily include laxatives, all depending on the cause. A naturopathic doctor will help you assess your diet, digestive, and nervous system function to see where the underlying issue could be.
“Not pushing yet!” – stimulate labour
Another internal use for castor oil is to stimulate labour in overdue pregnant women. There have been scientific studies done that show that it’s a safe and effective way to stimulate labour within 24 hours of ingestion.
The mechanism is presumed to be that the stimulated gut creates reflexive stimulation of the uterus – which helps things progress. It is definitely worth a try before going for more invasive techniques like induction, or artificially rupturing the membranes.
Stimulate circulation and break up congestion
By now I’m sure you’ve picked up on the fact that castor oil tends to stimulate things. Circulation is no exception. Gentle castor oil massages can help promote blood and lymph flow and therefore reduce inflammation:
- Swollen lymph nodes
- PMS-related breast tenderness
- Painful joints from osteoarthritis
Try out castor oil in your home and tell us how it went! Do you know of other ways of using castor oil?