You’ve probably seen this pale yellow oil in your grandmother’s cupboard. Or perhaps you’ve heard of how it helps induce labor in pregnant women. Castor oil has been used for centuries to help treat a number of issues – from hair loss to pain relief, and even acne. Let’s take a look at some popular castor oil uses for the home, hair, and body.
Origin and Composition
Castor oil is a natural plant oil derived from the seeds of a plant called ricinus communis. We commonly refer to these seeds as castor seeds or beans, which are believed to have originated in the tropics in Africa.
Castor oil can be traced back to 1500 b.c. in Ancient Egypt. It's been used all over the world for cosmetic purposes and to heal a variety of ailments.
What makes the oil of castor beans unique is its chemical composition. It’s mostly made up of ricinoleic acid, a fatty acid prized for its incredible anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties.
What Are the Best Uses of Castor Oil at Home?
Back in the day, everyone had castor oil in their home (and for good reason!). This super oil can practically take on anything and everything. Here are some of our favorite uses of castor oil.
Castor oil is a popular ingredient for those looking to achieve healthy, beautiful skin. Below are common uses of castor oil for skin.
We touched on the fact that castor oil is rich in ricinoleic acid. This acid contains antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that can be used to help reduce acne. Ricinoleic acid heals acne by unclogging pore, reducing inflammation, and stopping the growth of bacteria.
You can use castor oil as a regular oil treatment on your face. Simply apply it to clean skin at night or let it sit for 5 minutes and wash it off with water and a gentle cleanser. You can also use castor oil as a spot treatment for acne.
We carry a 2-ounce bottle of castor oil, which is the perfect size for face application.
Face Cleanser/Makeup Remover
Oil cleansers are becoming a trend in the skincare industry. With so many options on the market, why not stick to something more natural and affordable?
Castor oil can be used as an oil cleaner by mixing it with 1:1 ratio of almond or olive oil. Apply this mixture to your face before bed to clean skin. You can leave the oil on overnight or wipe it off with a warm cloth after one to five minutes.
Similar to coconut oil, castor oil can also be used as a DIY makeup remover. Just coat your lashes, eyebrow, lips, etc. with oil and gently work into the skin. Once makeup is noticeably removed, wipe the residue off with a cotton ball or washcloth.
Not only does castor oil cleanse the skin, but it moisturizes it, too. Castor oil contains triglycerides, which help moisturize and heal dehydrated, dry skin. Castor oil also contains humectant properties that pull moisture from the air and keep skin hydrated all throughout the day.
Among the many benefits of castor oil is its ability to help grow and maintain luscious locks.
Hair loss can happen for a number of reasons – from hormonal changes to stress and genetics. Luckily, the ricinoleic acid found in castor oil helps promote hair growth and protect against hair loss. If you’re looking to learn more about what causes hair loss and how castor oil can help, check out our post, Castor Oil for Hair Growth.
Hair, Eyebrow, and Eyelash Growth
For those of you who aren’t experiencing hair loss and simply want to lengthen your hair – castor oil can help. Vitamin E found in castor oil contains antioxidants that fight off oxidative stress and free radicals. Together, this protects the hair follicles from breaking down and slowing down hair growth.
You can use castor oil to help grow your eyebrows, eyelashes, or hair in general. We recommend using castor oil as a treatment for hair growth once or twice a week depending on how fast you want to grow your hair.
Tip: When using castor oil on your hair, dilute it with some argan oil or jojoba oil. Massage it into your hair and wrap it in a towel. Leave it on for half an hour (or overnight), then wash it out.
Not only is castor oil great for skin and hair, but it can be used for a handful of home remedies, which you can see below. If you’re looking for a big bottle of castor oil to use at home, our 16-ounce bottle of castor oil is just the right size.
We all get aches and pains from time to time. Instead of heading to the medicine cabinet, try applying castor oil to relieve joint and muscle pain. Thanks to the anti-inflammatory properties found in castor oil, it can be ideal for alleviating pain associated with arthritis, sore muscles, and nerve inflammation.
You can relieve joint pain by massaging castor oil on the inflamed area and placing heat on top. Other methods involve placing a warm, wet cloth soaked in castor oil on the skin for 15-20 minutes.
Pet Wound Treatment
Yes, you can use castor oil on pets, too. Castor oil can be used to treat a number of skin issues from rashes due to allergies, irritation, or dryness due to cold weather. However, keep in mind to only use castor oil externally on your animal as it can cause problems when ingested.
The undecylenic acid in castor oil can be useful in fighting off fungal infections. Whether you’re battling athlete’s foot, ringworm, or other rashes, castor oil can serve as a natural remedy.
We recommend applying warm castor oil to the problem and leave it on overnight. Continue to do so until the infection is gone.
Castor oil has been used for thousands of years as a laxative supplement. However, scientists are just now realizing how beneficial it can be in helping aid constipation.
Research shows that when ingested, ricinoleic acid sticks to receptors in the small intestine. When this happens, the muscles contract and push out blockages. Castor oil affects the uterus in a similar way, which is why pregnant women use it to induce labor.
Make sure you are using a food-grade castor oil that can be ingested. Do not ingest it unless the product label confirms it is suitable for consumption. If you can, try to find it in capsules at your local apothecary, as the flavor is rather bitter and unpleasant.
Castor oil can also be used as an all-natural lubricant. Studies show that castor oil shows similar, if not higher, values in density and thermal conductivity as standard oil lubricants on the market. This makes castor oil perfect for lubricating cars, planes, bikes, and boats.
Dry Food Preserver
As if there’s anything castor oil can’t do – it’s antifungal properties also are used to help preserve food. Many people coat castor oil on dried grains to prevent them from spoiling and repelling pests. It can also be found in a handful of flavorings and candy.
Potential Side Effects of Castor Oil
Castor is generally considered safe for most people, however, it can cause potential side effects for some. Castor oil could cause an allergic reaction, so it’s best to test the oil on a small area of the skin to get an idea of how your skin will react.
For those looking to use castor oil to relieve constipation, keep in mind that consuming castor oil could cause diarrhea, nausea, and dehydration in some people.
And of course, pregnant women should stay away from castor oil as it has been shown to effectively induce labor.
The Oil That Keeps On Giving
Castor oil truly is a gift that keeps on giving. Its endless uses make it ideal for any and every home. If you want to discover more castor oil uses and remedies, download our ebook, Castor Oil - 16 Home Remedies.