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5 Castor Oil Uses and Benefits | What is Castor Oil?

July 26, 2019 9 min read


Have you ever been recommended castor oil by a friend or a family member? If so, then it may be important for you to understand a few things about it beforehand. Instead of rushing to begin consuming or using on your skin, take a few moments to learn more about this oil.

Here you will find all the necessary things you need to know about castor oil. This blog also contains useful insight regarding the use and misuse of castor oil. 

What is Castor Oil? 

Castor oil is highly useful, multi-purpose vegetable oil that humans have consumed for thousands of years. The seeds of a plant calledRicinus communisare its primary source of extraction. These seeds contain a toxic enzyme called ricin. However, these enzymes are deactivated as a result of the heating process through which castor oil is processed. This makes castor oil safe for human consumption, in most cases. 

Castor oil offers multiple uses for medical, industrial and pharmaceutical purposes. Besides these, the oil has found extensive usage as an additive in foods, medications and skincare products. In addition to this, castor oil is also considered an important ingredient in industrial lubricants and biodiesel fuel components. 

There is a very long history of this oil. As mentioned earlier, humans have been using castor oil for the past several thousands of years. In ancient Egypt, for instance, castor oil was used in fuel lamps. The ancient people of Egypt also used this oil to cure ailments such as eye irritation and they even gave it to pregnant women to facilitate labor. 

Castor oil remains as popular as it was in the past. Even in modern times, this oil is recommended as a natural treatment for conditions from skin ailments to constipation. Many natural beauty products have also been found using this product. As you can tell, there are so many uses!

How To Use Castor Oil 

As has been mentioned above, there are a number of uses of castor oil. For dozens of centuries, humans have been consuming and using this oil for many reasons. The history suggests that castor oil has been used both externally and internally. It can be applied on the skin to heal dryness and irritations from eczema, psoriasis, and other skin inflammation. In addition to this, some forms may be consumed as a remedy for constipation (however, we feel there are much more effective natural remedies for this out there!)

Where does castor oil come from? 

We all continue to use castor oil for different ailments. Have we ever wondered about the roots of this oil? How many of us actually know the origins of castor oil?

Many people have no clue about the background of this oil. If you are one of them, it may interest you to know that the castor oil comes from seeds of a plant called Ricinus communis. This plant is found in the tropical areas of Asia and Africa. 

India happens to be the world leader in the production of castor oil. She has been leading the international castor oil trade for many decades. The production of castor oil in India keeps fluctuating between 250,000 to 350,000 tons a year. Within India, Gujrat is the largest producer of castor seed with a whopping share of 86% of the country’s total castor seed production. Gujrat is followed by Andhra Pradesh and then Rajasthan in terms of producing castor seed. 

In Gujrat, the regions of Mehsana, Banaskantha, and Saurashtra are the prime sources of castor seed. In Andhra Pradesh, the seed is extracted primarily from the districts of Nalgonda and Mahabubnagar. These areas happen to be the biggest castor oil producers in India, and production has nearly doubled as a result of easy access to highly developed national and international markets. 

Global Producers Of Castor Oil 

Other than India, there are also some other countries that produce castor oil in huge amounts for global consumption. Brazil and China are some of the biggest castor oil-producing countries in the world. Historically speaking, the oil is believed to have been first domesticated in Eastern Africa. From Africa, the oil was then introduced to China from where its trade went to India almost 1400 years ago. 

5 Castor Oil Uses | What Is Castor Oil Good For? 

Castor oil is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. This makes it an incredibly great choice for use on the skin. In addition to this, there are quite a few other uses of this incredible oil.

Castor Oil Pregnancy | Castor Oil For Labor 

This oil is famous for its laxative properties. This is where the castor oil derives its reputation as an effective remedy to jump-start labor. From ancient Egyptian women to modern women, castor oil has remained in use to facilitate pregnant women during labor. 

The oil has a very systematic way of providing relief to women during pregnancy. When you ingest small amounts of castor oil, it causes spasms in the intestines that then stimulates the bowels. The stimulation combined with spasms irritates the uterus, which then starts contractions in many women. 

There is another way castor oil is believed to provide support to women in pregnancy. The oil can effectively reduce fluid absorption and electrolytes in the small intestine. This will cause diarrhea along with contractions. Castor oil helps to release prostaglandins which cause cervix dilation as well. 

How Effectively Does This Work? 

Castor oil-induced labor produces mixed results. There has been a small study which mentioned that more than half of pregnant women dosed with castor oil went into labor within 24 hours. Compared to these outcomes, only 4% of women began to labor in the same timeframe who did not receive any treatment with castor oil.

However, the effective impact of castor oil results in irregular and painful contractions that could cause the mother and baby to suffer from stress, leading to exhaustion. This being said, it is never recommended to use castor oil to jumpstart labor. Just as the oil can irritate your bowels, it can irritate the bowels of your unborn child as well. This can lead to meconium in your amniotic fluid and potential aspiration of the meconium into your baby’s lungs. It’s not worth the risk!

Castor Oil Benefits For Hair 

One of the more impressive benefits that comes from castor oil is the improvement of your hair health. You can apply the oil on your scalp. This will help prevent hair loss in some people. There are many reasons why the use of castor oil in this way can be effective. The oil has antibacterial and antifungal properties. These attributes make it beneficial against dandruff and different types of scalp infections. There is ricinoleic acid in this oil as well, which boosts circulation to the scalp and results in better hair growth.

Ricinoleic acid will balance scalp pH and works to replenish the scalp’s natural oils. Moreover, this also undoes the damage done to hair from the use of harsh chemical hair products. Castor oil consists of different types of antioxidants that support the keratin found in hair. They help make hair stronger, smoother, and less frizzy. 

What Type Of Castor Oil You Should Go For? 

When it comes to castor oil hair treatments, there is no shortage of options. If you are interested in making your own type of hair care from castor oil, you can try mixing it up with other types of hair-friendly oils. Remember that castor oil is very thick. It would be better to mix it up with something that ensures easy application. 

As for pre-made options, there is a famous type of castor oil called Jamaican black castor oil. This oil has highly favorable customer reviews and feedback. Even though Jamaican black castor oil feels as good as regular castor oil, it provides additional benefit for those who have thicker and dryer hair. 


Jamaican Black Castor Oil

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Using Castor Oil Hair Treatment 

In order to reap the full benefits of castor oil, it is imperative that you use it correctly. Using the oil 1-2 times a week would be more than enough. The oil works better on damp hair rather than when it is soaking wet. It is better to apply the oil and leave it there for a few hours, but we know this isn’t always practical. If you’re interested in this method, you can try it on your hair at night, wrap your hair in a towel, and sleep with it on overnight.

Castor Oil Benefits For Skin 

One of the greatest advantages of castor oil is that it is an effective remedy for skin-related ailments. Here are some of the features that make castor oil especially important for the health of your skin: 

  • Anti-inflammatory properties: Castor oil and ricinoleic acid both have anti-inflammatory properties. This means that they are amazing for treating ailments like irritated skin.  
  • Antimicrobial: Castor oil may also offer protection to the skin from bacterial infections by preventing microbes from coming in that may cause diseases. 
  • Moisturizing: This oil contains triglycerides that are necessary to maintain moisture in the skin. This property makes castor oil an effective remedy for dry skin. 
  • Hydration: There is a possibility that castor oil may contain humectant properties. Because of this property, castor oil can extract moisture from the air and bring it into your skin to keep it hydrated. 
  • Cleansing: As mentioned before, there are triglycerides in castor oil. They can provide effective help in removing dirt from the skin. 

Using Castor Oil On The Skin

Using castor oil on the skin is as easy as using it as a moisturizer. After cleansing your face, rub the oil into your skin and let it sit as you normally would for a lotion. 

Are There Any Side Effects? 

Yes, there could be some side effects with castor oil for your skin. As much as the oil could be beneficial for the skin, it is also important to keep an eye on its adverse effects. There are some allergic reactions that can occur, including:

  • Skin rashes 
  • Swelling
  • Itching 

If you experience any kind of allergic reaction after using castor oil on your skin, you should discontinue use and the reaction should dissipate. If not, make sure to see your primary doctor or dermatologist. 

Castor Oil Benefits For Eyes 

Castor oil is an important element in many Ayurvedic remedies. In them, castor oil can treat a plethora of eye-related diseases and illnesses covering everything from red and itchy eyes to cataracts. 

Is Castor Oil Beneficial For Eyes? 

Definitely! Castor oil is beneficial for your eyes, as it contains fatty acids and other antioxidants. However, you should specifically pick products that are designed for the ailment you are suffering from. 

What Type Of Castor Oil Will Benefit You? 

Consult your eye doctor to seek recommendations regarding the right type of castor oil for your eyes. Avoid picking just any type of oil, as there are multiple types of castor oil. 

There is a kind of castor oil that involves pressing organic seeds without having to add heat. The best recommendation is to use 100% organic, cold-pressed, hexane free castor oil for your eyes. You should always make sure that whatever oil you pick is hexane-free, organic, and preferably cold pressed.


Organic Castor Oil

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Benefits Of Castor Oil For The Eyes

Fights Dry Eyes and Eyelids 

Castor oil potentially increases the lipid production of the eyes and stops the tears from evaporating too quickly, thereby treating dry eyes. The oil’s anti-inflammatory attributes are an added bonus. To use, we recommend washing your face with Heyedrate Tea Tree Oil Soap first, spraying on the Heyedrate Lid and Lash Cleanser and letting it dry, and then applying castor oil all over the eyelid and lashes, avoiding direct eye contact.


Heyedrate Lid and Lash Cleanser

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Itchy Eyes Treatment 

If you are experiencing itchy or irritated eyes, the use of castor oil could be great. This oil will serve as a moisturizing agent, which provides great support in the treatment of itchy eyes. We recommend using it in the same way that you use it for dry eyes.

Because we know we will get the question, we do NOT recommend putting castor oil directly into the eyes. The reason for this is due to purification standards and sterility. Eye drops either utilize certain preservative methods or are single-use vials that are thrown away after use. In the case of castor oil, this is not the case and there is always potential for infection if you decide to instill castor oil directly into your eyes.


Heyedrate Tea Tree Soap

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Drinking Castor Oil Benefits 

Other than providing benefits for eyes, skin, and hair, castor oil is also effectively helpful as a drinking solution (with caution). Not only can you apply castor oil externally but one can also consume the oil by mouth and get benefits from such consumption. 

There are many amazing benefits of castor oil. One of the most widely used and famously practiced medicinal uses of castor oil is as a natural laxative. Castor oil is famous for its incredible laxative properties. Actually, the oil is also categorized as a stimulant laxative. This means that the oil has the ability to enhance the muscle movement that enables pushing of the materials through the intestines, thereby helping to keep the bowels clean. 

As a stimulant laxative, castor oil is known for acting swiftly and effectively.

Safe Quantities For Consumption 

Just because there are so many advantages of castor oil doesn’t mean you can consume it at will. It is important to be cautious about the amounts in which you are using the oil. Excess of everything is bad. So, the excess consumption of this oil may actually be more harmful than beneficial. 

Please note here that consuming castor oil in smaller amounts is generally a safer approach. When you take the oil in large amounts, it may lead to sid effects such as abdominal cramping, vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea. 

It would also be pertinent to note that you can use this oil only to get rid of occasional constipation. If you are facing long-term health issues, consuming the oil won’t resolve them. 

Castor oil is a centuries-old remedy that has been used as an effective solution for different ailments. These ailments include problems with hair, skin, eyes, and constipation. However, the key to safety is practicing moderation. It is always advised to consult your doctor before consuming the oil. These tips will help ensure that the oil causes no harm and you only derive benefits from it.