7 Benefits and Uses of Castor Oil For Health and Home
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Identified by its pale yellow, sticky and thick features, castor oil is a vegetable oil that's been used for centuries. People near and far use castor oil to enhance not only their health, but also their home.
However, what is it about this oil that makes it so popular? We'll explore the wonderful benefits and uses of castor right here, right now!
What Exactly Is Castor Oil?
Castor oil comes from the seeds of Ricinus communis, also known as the castor plant. The castor plant traditionally grows in Eastern Africa, India, and the Mediterranean Basin, but it can be found in almost any tropical region.
What makes this triglyceride so special is ricinoleic acid, which is its primary healing ingredient. Ricinoleic acid is an unsaturated omega-9 fatty acid and is found in very few substances.
The Benefits of Castor Oil
Back in the day, old-timers would use castor oil to heal everything from constipation to the common cold, but its use has expanded so much since then.
Castor oil naturally contains these beneficial elements: flavonoids, phenolic compounds, amino acids, terpenoids, and phytosterols. It is due to these ingredients that castor oil is known as an antioxidant, wound-healing, anti-inflammatory agent.
Castor oil also strongly supports the body's lymphatic system, which is ultimately responsible for absorbing and removing excess fluids and waste materials from our cells.
When the lymphatic system is not working properly, then the cells begin to die and organs start to degenerate. Fortunately, castor oil has the ability to improve lymphatic drainage and blood flow, which may explain why it's able to improve so many chronic conditions.
Castor Oil For Healing The Body
If you have issues with dry skin, constipation, and even arthritis, then read on to learn how castor oil can help you.
A Natural Laxative
It turns out that our parents and grandparents were on to something. Studies today prove that castor oil can actually relieve constipation.
When castor oil is taken by mouth, it breaks down in the small intestines and releases the ricinoleic acid we discussed earlier. This is then absorbed by the intestine, and thus, creates a laxative effect.
On the flip side, castor oil can also cause diarrhea and stomach cramping. Therefore, it should not be used regularly for constipation.
Fights off Fungal Infections
Candida albicans, also referred to as yeast, are known to cause gum infections and plaque overgrowth.
Castor oil has antifungal properties and can aid in ridding candida albicans. In fact, a study was done on thirty seniors with denture related stomatitis (inflammation of lips and mouth), and the use of castor oil greatly restored their quality of life. (1)
Reduces Arthritis Pain
Almost 40 million people in the United States suffer from arthritis, but many of them don't know about the benefits of castor oil.
Simply rubbing castor oil on swollen and inflamed joints is claimed to offer pain reducing results. In some instances, castor oil oral supplements are taken to reduce pain.
A study was done on patients with knee osteoarthritis, where one group was given a castor oil capsule and the other received diclofenac sodium. (2)
The results showed that castor oil worked just as well as traditional treatment methods. This is a plus for individuals who prefer natural options.
Restores Dry and Acne-Prone Skin
Teens and young adults that suffer from acne or dry skin can tell you that it can result in significant self-esteem issues.
However, many have not tried castor oil and are surprised by its capabilities. Castor oil is a natural anti-bacterial and fights the overgrowth of bacteria that resides in clogged pores.
Also, because castor oil is rich in the monounsaturated fatty acid, ricinoleic acid, it acts as a humectant and moisturizes skin.
Humectants are able to maintain moisture by reducing water loss from the outer layer or skin, which is what leads to dryness. (3)
If you look at some of your current cosmetic products, you may find that castor oil is an active ingredient. If your products don't have it, then it may be time to swap out the harsh ingredients you have for something more natural.
Castor oil blends well with coconut oil, almond oil, and olive oil. Combining castor oil with any of those ingredients will lead to major skin enhancements.
Encourages Strong Hair and Scalp Health
Massaging castor oil into the scalp has shown to improve blood circulation and encourage hair growth. (4)
Individuals with dry or damaged hair can apply castor oil directly to their hair to decrease breakage and lubricate the hair shaft. In addition, using castor oil for dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis has proven to be an effective treatment for reducing dry, flaky skin on the head.
Castor Oil For The Home
Individuals that use castor oil to heal themselves can also find that this fatty acid is useful around the house. We'll explore two ways you can use it as an inexpensive alternative to other harsh products.
If you're tired of squirrels, moles, and other animals and insects getting to your plants, then just spray a castor oil solution in your garden. (5)
The mixture will not kill the pests, but it will certainly stave them off. The mixture is simple and is probably already in your house.
Just mix equal parts castor oil and liquid dish soap, and dilute it with water. If you want to really keep them away, then add garlic powder and cayenne pepper to the mixture.
Loosen Up Your Utensils
There is nothing more frustrating than scissors that are stuck together and hinges that squeak.
Try adding castor oil to your utensils to loosen them up. Because it's sticky and thick in nature, cold or warm weather won't make it freeze or melt.
Potential Side Effects
Although castor oil packs a lot of benefits, there are also a few things to watch for. Some people are allergic to castor oil and may experience itching, swelling, and skin rashes.
One should discontinue use and seek medical attention immediately if they experience those symptoms. In addition, castor oil has been said to induce labor, but it's actually a practice physicians don't follow anymore.
In the past, women in labor would suffer from diarrhea and nausea from castor oil, which left them dehydrated. (6)
The Deadly Ingredient, Ricin
The castor plant boasts many benefits, but it also carries a poison. Ricin, a very potent poison from the castor plant, is found in raw castor beans and is what's left behind after castor oil has been processed.
Ricin ultimately shuts off protein synthesis and kills your cells if it gets into your body.
Find A Reputable Source
The best thing you can do to prevent adverse effects or poisoning is to buy from a reputable source.
Look for organic castor oil, as others may include elements that contaminate the oil. In fact, most of the commercial castor oil sold in stores has been sprayed with pesticides and chemical pollutants. (7)
Overall, castor oil is a safe substance that offers several amazing benefits. If you're interested in giving castor oil a try, there are reputable sources where you can purchase it online.
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