Castor Oil Health Benefits Explained: Versatile And Effective!

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Obtained by cold-pressing the seeds of the castor oil plant together, castor oil is one of the most versatile and useful oils in the world. However, it took a fair bit of time and quite a lot of trial-and-error until the potential of the oil was fully tapped. From a favored punishment tool of dictator Benito Mussolini (he would force-feed victims mass quantities of the oil for its laxative properties) to a crude labor-inducing drug, it has seen its fair share of misuse throughout its long history.

It hasn’t all been bad, however, as there are those in history who have used it properly and for good causes. Castor beans were found in ancient Egyptian tombs dating all the way back to 4000 BC, as Egyptian doctors used the oil to protect eyes from irritation. Thankfully, in more recent times, the benefits and full potential of castor oil have been wholly realized, to the benefit of millions of people around the world.

It might feel like there is an endless list of natural oils on offer, but the beauty of natural oils is that they give you a diverse range to try from! I’m the kind of person who sticks to what works, but the problem with doing this in your beauty routine is that your skin and hair needs are constantly changing. Depending on the weather, season, hormones, and a multitude of other factors, the condition of your hair and skin changes. The same is true of your body as a whole. Knowing which natural solution will work at any given time is something that takes a little research. With this in mind, let’s break down some castor oil benefits. Before we get carried away though, what exactly is castor oil?

What Is Castor Oil?

the top 10 benefits of castor oil

Castor oil bottle.

Having come a long way from its humble beginnings as an element of the ornamental garden plant known as ricinus communis, castor oil has now been made famous for its numerous benefits and properties, and especially its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects. Utilized for therapeutic, cosmetic, and medicinal purposes, it has a vast number of uses and applications.

A go-to treatment for hair and skin problems, it’s hard to imagine a person who couldn’t stand to prosper from one of its many uses. This is why Jamaican black castor oil is one of the most sought-after and heralded products in the world; natural and effective remedies for common ailments are just hard to come by! The truth is that the popularity of Jamaican black castor oil has rocketed in the beauty world in the past few years. When a natural oil rises to fame so quickly, it’s usually for good reason! Both Jamaican black castor oil and cold-pressed castor oil are incredibly rich in vitamins and nutrients. For the most part, the difference between these oils is largely based on preference. The general consensus is that black castor oil is ideal for hair and cold-pressed castor oil is great for your skin. Nutritionally speaking there is little difference.

However, before we get into the details of particular versions of the oil let’s take a step back. There are so many castor oil benefits to be reaped! Without further ado, here are our top-10 uses of this amazing oil. 

Learn more about carrier oils in our Complete Carrier Oil Guide

Top 10 Castor Oil Uses

1. Castor Oil For Stretch Marks

clear skin

Smooth skin.

From pregnancy to a lack of skin elasticity, there are a number of potential causes of stretch marks. Regardless of the cause, however, everyone can agree that stretch marks are not fun. Castor oil is an all-natural and effective way to eliminate stretch marks. Rich in fatty acids that promote healthy skin, it can be applied topically to attack and eliminates stretch marks. It even has the ability to prevent stretch marks from ever forming in the first place.

The fatty acids work to encourage skin cell turnover and renew the skin. The appearance of stretch marks and scars is exaggerated by dry and lifeless skin. When your skin is properly moisturized it’s able to regenerate to the best of its ability. With this in mind, castor oil can be the ideal solution to revive your scarred skin.

2. Castor Oil For Hair Growth 

Hand holding hair and essential oil dropper on top.

Woman applying castor oil to hair.

Famous question: is castor oil good for hair growth? Let’s take a closer look. Hair-loss is a problem that causes panic in many, to the extent that some are willing to pay exorbitant prices for hair transplants and treatments in a desperate attempt to reverse their fortunes. If only they tried castor oil! With its unusually high omega-9 essential fatty acid content, castor oil for hair growth boosts blood circulation to hair follicles, causing natural growth. Black castor oil can also promote thickness, shine, and overall hair health. This makes it one of the only reliable and all-natural hair care products that you can use as a stand-alone growth treatment.

Even if you’re not suffering from hair loss, there is probably a lot that castor oil can do for your head of hair. The antibacterial and anti-fungal properties of castor oil make it an effective eliminator of dandruff and dry scalp-related issues. Simply apply to the scalp and the castor oil does the rest, as the ricinoleic acid contained in the oil balances the scalp pH, which replenishes the natural oils of the scalp. The natural oils, in turn, help fight against dry scalp and dandruff.

3. Castor Oil For Constipation

Castor oil steals the show for this unique benefit: laxative. When taken orally during the day it produces quick results to relieve constipation. If you want to mask the taste you can cool the liquid in the fridge for an hour before mixing with your favorite fruit juice. It usually reaps results within around 6 hours of consumption. You should be warned though: don’t take it before you go to bed for the night as you would with other laxatives.

Additionally, this is not a long term solution but a quick-fix natural remedy for constipation. Over time castor oil laxatives can reduce the muscle tone in your intestines which can lead to chronic constipation if left unchecked.

4. Castor Oil For Lashes & Eyebrows

Natural oils on lashes

Woman applying castor oil to lashes.

You can heal a number of eye-related maladies by applying castor oil. Scant or thinning eyebrows can be thickened by applying the oil, as can eyelashes that are lacking in length or thickness. Castor oil for eyelashes is a gentle and effective home remedy safe for almost everyone. Gland infections on the eyelid, known as ‘styes’, can be eliminated with consistent application. Additionally, castor oil’s healthy-skin promoting properties can work wonders on the skin around the eyes, including diminishing eye wrinkles sometimes referred to as ‘crow’s feet.’

Make sure that your lashes are clean and free of dirt. Dip a cotton swab into some castor oil and apply it to your eyelashes. Ensure that none of the oil drops into your eye (wash out thoroughly if this does occur). Doing this nightly before bed helps to enhance lash length, and you can use a similar method for your eyebrows! You can use castor oil for eyebrows, for lashes, and you can even use castor oil for beard growth! Just be diligent with the nightly application of this quick and easy method.

5. Arthritis Remedy

It’s not just for cosmetic uses – the multipurpose castor oil has a number of health-related applications and uses as well. When massaged into muscles or joints, castor oil can relieve joint, nerve, and muscle pain, and even relieve the aches and pains associated with arthritis. The anti-inflammatory properties of the oil make it an ideal pain reliever, and an all-natural one at that.

6. Fights Fungal Infections

Castor oil is effective in eliminating a number of different common fungal infections, from ringworm to athlete’s foot, and even a persistent itch or rash. With its strong fungicidal properties, thanks to one of the active compounds found in the oil – undecylenic acid – it acts as a natural cure-all for common skin conditions, no matter how persistent or stubborn the problem may be. (If you are looking for another great anti-fungal oil check out tea tree oil.)

7. Castor Oil For Face

Woman with hair in towel holding bottle of skin toner to face.

Woman with clear skin.

You don’t need to be suffering from an ailment to be unhappy with your skin. Dry or cracked skin is a common sign of aging and one that most people would like to be rid of. Castor oil goes a long way towards promoting healthier, youthful-looking skin. The healthy fatty acids contained in castor oil penetrate the skin and stimulate the production of collagen and elastin, which give skin its strength and elasticity. This, in turn, moisturizes the skin, promoting wrinkle-free, healthy-looking skin anywhere on the body. You can even use castor oil to heal cracked skin or to stimulate healthier nail growth when you apply it directly to the afflicted area or nail.

8. Castor Oil For Acne

There’s a reason that cosmetic products use castor oil as an ingredient in skin-care and lip treatment products. The undecylenic acid and vitamin E found in castor oil help repair chapped, dry lips as well as encourage healthy, acne-free skin. Castor oil is an effective, 100% natural treatment for anyone looking for a simple lip balm or acne treatment without dealing with the unnatural filler ingredients found in typical over-the-counter products.

9. Castor Oil For Scars

Woman smiling in the mirror.

Woman admiring clear skin in mirror.

Another common skin ailment that many people find themselves dealing with is the presence of an unwanted scar. Castor oil attacks scars in two ways – the fatty acids in the oil penetrate the skin and erase the scar tissue while simultaneously promoting the growth of new skin cells to replace the old ones. Over time, castor oil can fully eliminate most scars, and unlike other scar-treatments, it can do it fully naturally.

10. Bug Bites And Sunburn

In the summer months, most people find themselves dealing with either mosquito bites or sunburns, if not both. Castor oil is the go-to summertime treatment for these problems, as the anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties of the oil soothe the skin in case of either sunburn or bug bites, eliminating the itchiness and pain.

How To Use Castor Oil For Hair: DIY  Castor Oil Hair Mask Recipe & Guide

Womans hands pouring essential oil on cotton pad.

DIY castor oil.

When it comes to hair care, there is an abundance of natural oils to choose from. However, if you’re looking for a healthy head of thick hair, then castor oil should be your first call of action. The nutrients in the oil work to balance and fortify your hair strands and scalp, for hair that grows the way it should. For a super-easy hair mask mix castor oil and coconut oil in a 1:1 ratio. Heat the oil mixture for 30 seconds and ensure that it doesn’t come to a boil. Once its warm, apply the mixture gently to your scalp, massaging it into the strands. Comb through your hair so that it gets an even coating. Wrap your hair in a shower cap or towel and allow it to sit for 3 hours. Rinse thoroughly with warm water and follow with your regular shampoo and conditioner.

Your hair won’t grow overnight, but if you apply this mask regularly, your hair health should noticeably improve. Castor oil and coconut oil for hair growth is a powerful combo. Coconut oil contains deeply hydrating properties thanks to its fatty acids, as well as antibacterial properties that balance the scalp. If you want to enhance the qualities of this hair mask, you can add a few drops of an essential oil such as rosemary or lavender. This gives the mask ultra-balancing and strengthening properties to nourish your hair from the inside out.

Castor Oil Shampoo Explained

Brunette woman shampooing her hair while showering.

Woman showering.

There are many reasons why you might want to start using a shampoo that has been infused with castor oil. If your hair is looking a little lackluster or dry, this can affect your overall hair health. When your hair’s health is compromised, it can stunt hair growth. With this in mind, castor oil can be used as an effective way to revive your hair back to health. The powerful compounds and fatty acids work to revitalize your hair and encourage thicker strands.

The good news is that there are plenty of castor oil shampoos out there for you to try. It’s important to know what to look for when searching for the most nourishing solution. Sulfate-free and paraben-free hair care products should be considered go-to’s. The more natural the castor oil shampoo, the better the effects on your hair. If you’re not interested in investing in a castor oil shampoo specifically, you can easily add a couple of drops of castor oil to your regular shampoo and mix well. Top tip: you can do the same thing with most other natural ingredients. If certain essential oils can be utilized to nourish your hair, you can just add a few drops to your existing hair care products to reap results!

Is Castor Oil Safe? Castor Oil Side Effects

As with everything in life, there can be too much of a good thing. The same is true when it comes to castor oil. There have been rare cases where the overuse of castor oil as a hair treatment has led to hair felting. This is a super rare disorder in which your hair becomes so extremely tangled that it hardens into a felt-like texture.

Additionally, it should be noted that ingesting large quantities of castor oil can also be harmful to your body. Side effects can include abdominal cramps, dizziness, fainting, and nausea. This means that you should take precautions when using castor oil, at least to some degree. If you regularly use a castor oil hair treatment, it’s important to be diligent when washing the product out of your hair post-treatment. You should not consider the shampoo and conditioner part of the treatment to be optional. It rebalances your hair and allowing just the right amount of nutrients to absorb into the scalp.

Also, I want to note that just because you may experience these side effects, doesn’t necessarily mean that you will. It’s important to be aware, but it’s no reason to skip the product altogether – how could you, with such an abundance of benefits?

Conclusion

Limiting the best uses of castor oil to just a top-10 is no easy task. We didn’t even get into oil pulling, which castor oil works great for! The natural oil has a vast number of applications and uses, broad enough in scope that it’s hard to imagine a person who couldn’t benefit from one or more of its many applications. From skincare to hair care, to medical uses, it’s not hard to see why castor oil is one of the most popular natural products in the world today.

I’m a big fan of making sure that I stay on top of my hair health. A couple of years ago I cut my hair incredibly short to allow it to grow back healthy and strong. Castor oil is a powerful oil to assist in this process. Although I have to admit that I struggle to make time for hair treatments, when the recipe (like the one above) is so easy, there really are no excuses! Also, if you’re looking for a lash extension – who isn’t these days? – then castor oil is without a doubt the natural remedy to help you achieve the #lashlook in a natural, authentic way. It’s not a miracle oil, but let’s be real, it might as well be!