The benefits of Castor Oil

Castor Oil has numerous benefits, but we’re going to focus on the 4 benefits for which it is most popular, namely as a Laxative/De-wormer, a wound repairer, a skin moisturizer, and for hair treatment.

Please note, there’s a difference between the golden castor oil and the black (Jamaican) castor oil. We will touch on the differences in this article.

1) Castor Oil as a Laxative and De-wormer

Castor Oil is most commonly and traditionally used as a natural laxative.  In most parts of the world castor oil is given to children and adults periodically to flush out toxins and remove parasites from the intestines. It works by helping the muscles to push material through the intestines, thus clearing the bowels.  Castor oil is one of the few natural products recognized by the FDA as a stimulative laxative.

Stimulative laxatives are used to relieve temporary constipation or to clean out the bowel before medical procedures.  As such it is sometimes used to aid when a woman is in labor, thus not advised for a pregnant woman during the gestation period of her pregnancy.

Adults and children over 12 can take anywhere from 15 – 60 ml of castor oil in one dose. Children, ages 2-12 can take anywhere from 5 – 15 ml of castor oil in one dose.  If you exceed these dosages it can cause abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. 

While it can be effective in relieving constipation, it isn’t suggested that you employ castor oil as a long term solution.

2) Castor Oil for Healing Wounds

Castor oil locks in moisture, creating an environment that promotes healing and prevents sores from drying out.  It can be used to treat mild wounds, such as athlete’s feet, to chronic and acute wounds such as:

  • Diabetic ulcers
  • Burns
  • Surgical wounds

It also reduces odors while protecting wounds and providing the moisture necessary to induce healing. Ricinoleic acid, the main fatty acid in castor oil, has anti-inflammatory & pain-reducing properties, thus it helps to reduce skin inflammation and support healing.

3) Castor Oil as a Skin Moisturizer

Castor oil is probably the most viscous of natural oils. It works by preventing or reducing water loss through the outer layer of the skin.  It is generally added to lotions to enhance hydration.  It can also be applied directly on the skin as your moisturizer of choice. However, due to its viscosity, it’s suggested that you dilute the castor oil with another carrier oil such as almond, olive, or coconut oil, thus making it lighter and easier to apply.  

As with all things, there are a few people who will have an allergic reaction to castor oil.  Before applying broadly, apply sparingly to your skin.

4) Castor Oil For Starting Locs

Castor oil has moisturizing properties which help lubricate the hair follicles, increasing flexibility and decreasing breakage.  It is also commonly used as a treatment for dandruff, sealing in moisture and helping to prevent dry, flaky scalps. While commonly recognized as effective for the above hair treatments, there is no scientific evidence supporting its efficacy as a hair solution.  But studies have shown that if you apply castor oil then wash your hair it will cause the hair to become twisted and tangled, forming locs of hair versus the single strands that you’re accustomed to. For those who find it difficult to loc their hair, castor oil is an alternative to beeswax, which can cake in your hair.

The Difference between Golden and Black (Jamaican) Castor Oil

The main difference between regular castor oil and black castor oil is that regular castor oil is extracted through the cold-pressed method, whereas black castor oil is extracted by roasting the castor beans, grinding them into a thick paste, and then boiling them in hot water.  The latter is the preferred oil for hair growth but should not be used as a laxative.

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