Castor oil is an age old Ayurvedic remedy with quite a number of beneficial uses. Although it can seem too good to be true, this thick, sticky oil is not only affordable and easy to obtain, but it is indeed extremely effective as well. Whether you are suffering from itchy, allergy eyes or something deeper such as an unwanted fibroid or cyst, this versatile oil can come to the rescue, making it an Ayurvedic self-care essential.
According to Ayurveda, castor oil is heating when taken internally, but cooling when applied externally. Because of this, it is considered beneficial for many Pitta skin issues such as psoriasis, eczema and severe itchy, dry skin. Although it is heating internally, it is also considered the best method for evacuating Pitta from the GI tract when performing a home cleanse or home panchakarma. This is due its powerful purgative effect that is unbeatable for clearing out the colon. This also makes it beneficial in constipation; however, this oil can create dependency if used long term. Therefore castor oil should never be used internally for over 2-3 days in larger dosages, or 10 days in smaller amounts.
Although the castor bean itself is poisonous to our systems, the oil is obtained from the seed inside and can be taken medicinally in small dosages. Since the oil can still cause adverse effects when taken improperly, it is strongly recommended to only use castor oil internally under the guidance of a knowledgeable holistic healthcare practitioner. Thankfully castor oil is considered safe and gentle when used externally and should not produce any negative side effects.
I have seen castor oil work time and time again both in my personal experience as well as in my practice. Here is a list of my favorite and most effective uses for the castor oil.
Top 5 Uses of Castor Oil
1. Skin Care
Castor oil has been widely used in the treatment of many skin disorders including psoriasis, eczema, severe dry skin, unwanted sun spots and wrinkles. Although it is thick and not exactly aromatic, this oil should be applied onto any effected area consistently before bed and left on overnight. If the smell is too much, cooling essential oils can be blended in as needed. To reduce the thickness, the castor oil can also be cut with other base oils such as coconut oil, sesame oil or almond oil if preferred. Although it will not help the smell, the castor oil can also be blended with Neem oil, making it even stronger and more effective for psoriasis, eczema and severe dry skin issues.
Not only is castor oil a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, but is also has a strong affinity for the joints. Further, this can be taken internally as well as applied externally for noticeable results. In fact, for severe arthritic issues I often recommend to utilize both methods to treat the arthritis from all ends.
Internal Use: Castor oil is never recommended to be taken internally long-term nor in large dosages. Therefore a safe and effective way to take it internally for when treating arthritis is as follows:
Make a cup of warm ginger tea each night before bed. Add 1 tsp of castor oil and mix well. Take this down quickly (it doesn’t exactly taste good), followed by a few sips of warm water if needed. Take this for 10 consecutive nights.
External Use: The castor oil should be generously applied to the effected joint(s), taking a few minutes to gently massage the area. Ideally this is done before bed and left on overnight. For an extra boost, you can apply a hot pad for 15-30 minutes after massaging on the oil. To avoid making a mess, feel free to cover the applied oil with saran wrap while the oil is soaking in. Otherwise, old clothes or pajamas should be worn to avoid any unwanted staining.
3. Eye Disorders
It is no old wives’ tale that castor oil eye drops are extremely effective in a multitude of eye disorders. In fact, Ayurveda uses castor oil eye drops to treat everything from dry, red, itchy eyes, “allergy eyes”, styes, conjunctivitis (aka Pink Eye), glaucoma and cataracts. Castor oil is a strong anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory agent and only a drop or two is needed per eye. I have even had great benefit in treating a subconjuntival hemorrhage (broken blood vessel in the eye) in only a few days with the help of castor oil. You can also massage a small amount of the oil around the eyes for a safe and effective anti-aging beauty treatment, as it works to reduce wrinkles and dark circles, while thickening the eye lashes.
Directions: Always make sure the eyes are clean, dry and without any makeup. Tilt the head back slightly and apply 1-2 drops into each eye before bed. For severe issues apply this dosage again upon awakening. After application, close the eyes and massage on and around the eye gently. Allow the oil to penetrate into the eye and avoid washing it out. If the outer eyes are too oily, dab this area with a piece of tissue to remove any excess oil around the eye (optional).
**For dry, itchy and red eyes, feel free to apply the castor oil eye drops as needed during flare-ups for instant relief.
4. Cleansing the Colon
Castor oil is often an essential part of an Ayurvedic home cleanse due to its incomparable purgative property. This powerful laxative is used specifically to cleanse out the colon, flushing out excessive toxins and Pitta (heat) from the body. Although castor oil is very strong in this effect, it can be a bit too harsh for some people. Therefore it is recommended to use only under the guidance of a knowledgeable holistic practitioner. Since the stools are often watery during this flushing process, it is recommended to drink plenty of warm water before and after taking the castor oil.
Directions: Take 1-2 Tbsp of an organic, hexane-free, food-grade castor oil before bed. This should be mixed in a cup of ginger tea or triphala tea, depending on your preference. Take this during a cleanse for 1-3 nights, making sure to drink plenty of warm water in between treatments.
**Never take castor oil while pregnant, breastfeeding or menstruating. It is not recommended to use internally long-term, as it will create dependency in the colon.
5. Benign Tumor*, Cysts and Fibroids
Another amazing and unique quality of castor oil is its ability to break down unwanted tissue. This makes it an excellent choice when treating non-malignant tumors*, cysts and fibroids of all kind. The oil can be massaged on externally each night, but for the most effective results a castor oil pack should be applied at 3-7 nights a week, depending on the severity of the mass. Overtime the castor oil works to break down these cellular masses, providing a safe and natural treatment for these severe issues.
*Castor oil should never be used on malignant tumors, as this may cause the cancer to metastasize.
Directions: Apply the castor pack to the effected area for at least 30 minutes. This should be done consistently 3-7 nights a week until the mass breaks down. The amount of time for treatment will vary according to the size and severity of the mass.
Other uses of the castor oil pack include:
- Detoxifies organs
- Removes stagnation and blockages in the GI tract
- Removes congestion in the uterus (do not use during menstruation)
- Stimulates lymphatic circulation
- Relieves constipation
- Breaks up scar tissue
- Reduces inflammation
- Relieves arthritic, painful and swollen joints (see above)
- Relieves pain and inflammation in the muscles