Castor oil is one of the most widely used natural remedies to alleviate various conditions. This time, we will focus on the therapeutic use of castor oil packs used by many specialists and natural medicine therapists.
Furthermore, we’ll share with you other tips for using castor oil to enrich your hair and skin. Stay tuned!
Castor oil packs are nothing more than a cloth –usually, a flannel that can be folded three times onto itself– clean and completely soaked in castor oil applied on the skin while the person is lying down or sitting.
The idea is to allow the “packs” to remain in place for a long time -until the oil is absorbed through the skin.
Castor oil background
The castor bean plant is native to India. Castor oil comes from the castor bean ricinus communis, which has a very unusual chemical composition. This oil is a triglyceride composed of fatty acids: 90% of these fatty acids consist of ricinoleic acid.
This unique fatty acid is found in lower concentrations in some other seeds and oils (0.27% in cottonseed oil and 0.03% in soybean oil) and is believed to be responsible for the unique healing properties of castor oil.
It was adopted for medicinal use in Ancient Egypt, China, Persia, Africa, Greece, Rome, and the rest of Europe and the Americas in the 17th century. Now castor oil is widely used in the health & wellness industry.
Because it has a consistent viscosity and does not freeze, it’s ideal for lubricating equipment in freezing climates.
Modern, non-medicinal uses of castor oil are:
- Food additive and flavoring agent
- Mold inhibitor
- Ingredient in skincare products and cosmetics (lipstick, shampoo, soap, and others)
- Used in the manufacture of plastics, rubbers, synthetic resins, fibers, paints, varnishes, lubricants, sealants, dyes, and leather treatments
Castor oil was first used as an aircraft lubricant during the First World War. Therefore, it has a large number of practical industrial uses.
Castor oil has a great effect, when applied topically
Castor oil packs can be an efficient and economical method of infusing the ricinoleic acid and other healing components of castor oil directly into your tissues.
It would be wise to do a “patch test” before applying castor oil packs to ensure you are not allergic to it.
There are several ways of using this oil topically. You can simply rub castor oil on the affected area. If you only have to treat a small area, you can place a castor oil-soaked band-aid over it.
For larger or systemic applications, you can use it as a massage oil, which is reported to be especially effective when applied along the spine and the lymphatic drainage pathways.
Materials needed for making castor oil packs
- High-quality castor oil
- A hot water container or hot compress
- Plastic wrap, plastic sheeting, or plastic garbage bag
- Two or three large 30-centimeter (1 foot) square pieces of wool or cotton flannel, or a single piece large enough to cover the entire treatment area when folded in thirds
- A large old bath towel
Fold the flannel into three thick layers large enough to cover the upper abdomen and liver, or stack the two or three individual pieces.
Soak the flannel with the oil until completely saturated. The oil should be at room temperature.
Lie on your back with your feet elevated (a pillow under your knees and feet works well), place the pack directly on your abdomen, cover the wet flannel with the plastic sheet, and place the hot water bottle on top of the plastic.
Cover everything with the bath towel to insulate the heat. Be careful with the oil as it may stain the surface you are lying on. If necessary, cover that surface to protect it.
Keep the pack on your body for 45 to 60 minutes
When you are finished, remove the oil from the skin with a solution of 2 tablespoons of baking soda in 1 liter of water or simply with soap and water.
Be sure to wash the towel separately, as the castor oil can make other clothes stink if they are washed together.
Castor oil packs can be used several times; however, each time you will need to add more oil, as much as necessary, to keep the pack saturated.
Store the pack in a large zip-lock bag or another plastic container in a convenient place. Replace it when it begins to change color.
For maximum effectiveness, use the castor oil packs at least four consecutive days per week for one month. Patients who use it daily report greater benefits.
Castor oil benefits
Enhances immune function
Castor oil has potent properties that support and enhance the lymphatic and immune system.
By using castor oil packs, you will be able to increase the production of white blood cells responsible for producing antibodies known for their ability to fight invading pathogens.
The lymphatic system also affects the digestive and circulatory systems. It aids in the detoxification process, supports heart health, and treats digestive problems such as constipation and diarrhea.
Improves blood flow
Poor blood circulation is one of the main symptoms of upcoming chronic diseases. By improving circulation, the blood system will pump blood to and from the heart and transport oxygen and nutrients throughout the body more efficiently.
This process is essential for maintaining a healthy body and removing waste.
With proper blood circulation and no toxins in the blood, your body will balance hormones effectively.
In other words, there will be fewer mood swings, depression, anxiety, PMS symptoms, in addition to improving the reproductive system and hormone-producing glands, such as the thymus, pancreas, and thyroid.
Improves digestive health
When taken orally, castor oil works as a natural laxative and aids in bowel movements. Its active compound, ricinoleic acid, aids in digestion, absorption of nutrients, and cleansing of the digestive system.
By having a healthier bowel, you will reduce digestive problems such as diarrhea, bloating, cramping, leaky gut, etc.
Treats yeast infections
Due to its potent compound of ricinoleic acid, castor oil can provide amazing results in case of yeast infections and fungus, such as herpes zoster, tinea cruris, athlete’s foot, cystic acne, ringworm, etc.
You can take the oil orally or apply it topically. Heat 1-2 tablespoons of castor oil over low heat and apply it to the affected area. Repeat this procedure regularly until you see improvement.
Castor oil recipe for the liver
- High-quality castor oil
- Lemon essential oil
- Heating pad
- Washable spa body wrap
- Wool or cotton flannel cushion or fabric
- Add 1 drop of lemon essential oil and 3 of castor oil and dip a heating pad/cotton cloth in it
- You should place the pad/cloth on the right side of your abdomen under your rib cage (your liver is located here)
- If you want to detoxify your kidneys, place them on your back (both kidneys are located there)
- Wrap your body around your entire abdomen to secure the pad
- Next, you should warm the heating pad and place it on top of the flannel
Lie down and be sure to keep the heat pack in place for 1 hour.
11 uses of castor oil for the skin and hair
As we mentioned earlier, castor oil is a triglyceride composed of essential fatty acids. 90% of these fatty acids are composed of ricinoleic acid (omega 9).
It also contains vitamin E, proteins, minerals, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties. This is why it’s used to combat all kinds of skin and hair-related problems.
1. Facial cleansing
According to many dermatologists, oil cleansing is an effective method of deep cleansing the pores, toning, and moisturizing at the same time.
It is convenient to mix castor oil with a lighter oil, such as apricot, olive, or jojoba oil, and massage the face in circles for a couple of minutes.
The fatty acids in castor oil will dissolve the grease and dirt that cause blackheads and acne. To remove the oil, use a soft microfiber cloth dipped in warm water, wring out excess water and apply it to the face without rubbing, with gentle touches.
2. Natural moisturizer and anti-wrinkle
Castor oil is rich in vitamin E and fatty acids, which penetrate deep into the skin and stimulate collagen and elastin production, which soften and moisturize the skin.
This helps to delay the signs of aging, wrinkles, blemishes, and fine lines around the eyes and gives the skin a smoother, more youthful appearance.
Nevertheless, it should not be overused because it is a strong oil, a couple of drops will be enough for the whole face.
An important component of many cosmetic creams and lotions, castor oil, possesses excellent anti-aging properties, and it is usually found in the composition under the name of “castor oil.”
Although the name may lead to confusion, this oil has nothing to do with these cute animals.
The ricinoleic acid in castor oil reduces inflammation and helps fight the bacteria that cause acne. For treating acne, wash your face with warm water to open the pores, and then apply it to the affected areas.
Leave it on overnight and wash it off the next morning. However, care should be taken not to use too much oil as this could cause the opposite of the desired effect: clogging pores and creating more problems for the skin.
3. Reduces stretch marks and scars
Fatty acids help fade stretch marks on the abdomen and thighs by providing elasticity to the skin. Scars also benefit from their use.
The fatty acids penetrate the epidermis down the layer and erase the scar while stimulating new cell growth. Like most natural remedies, it takes time and consistency to see results, but it is very effective.
4. Natural and soothing for insect bites
The anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties of castor oil make it ideal for treating rashes, irritations, and insect bites.
It also helps soothe the skin in case of sunburn. If the affected area is small, a band-aid soaked with castor oil can be wetted and applied over the area.
For larger areas, soak a cotton ball or gauze pad in castor oil and apply it directly to the affected area.
Leave on for an hour (or overnight for irritations and sunburn) and wash off afterward. Repeat several times during the day for faster results.
5. Massage oil
Castor oil has a host of health benefits for the body, not just the skin. It helps relax muscle tension and helps promote blood circulation.
These qualities make it ideal for use in therapeutic massage. It makes a good base oil to dilute other essential oils and enhance the effect of the massage.
6. Castor oil for eyelashes
In case of weak or sparse eyelashes, apply a small amount every night on the roots and massage gently until absorbed.
Make sure to use a tiny amount as it is a very dense oil and be careful not to get it in the eyes. You can also use it on the eyebrows if they are thin or have sparse areas and want to stimulate their growth.
7. Stimulates hair growth
In the case of hair, it is recommended to heat it a little before applying it and massage it on the scalp for about 5 minutes.
It is advisable to repeat this treatment daily and do it before going to bed so that it acts during the night. You can rinse it off in the morning.
The oil stimulates blood circulation to the hair follicles, allowing faster hair growth. It is also rich in Omega-9 fatty acid, responsible for maintaining healthy hair.
8. Prevents split ends and improve dry or damaged hair
Mix a few drops in your usual shampoo; using a couple of tablespoons twice a week will keep it healthy and shiny. Another trick is to apply a couple of drops on the ends as a remedy to repair split ends.
9. Enhance natural color and prevent gray hair
Castor oil can make your natural hair color look deeper and richer. This oil is very moisturizing, and when applied, it seals moisture inside the hair cuticle preventing pigment loss, making each hair look thicker and darker.
After shampooing, towel-dry the hair and divide the mane into sections, lightly heat one or two tablespoons of castor oil, and apply it with your fingers along the hair’s lengths, rubbing the separated strands between the palms to cover all the hair with the oil.
10. Nail moisturizer
It is an excellent cuticle moisturizer. Massaging a few drops every night on the fingernails and toenails will help you achieve hydrated, strong, and healthy-looking nails.
11. Adjuvant in case of calluses and foot corn
Massaging a little castor oil on corns will help relieve pain and inflammation caused by its anti-inflammatory action. You have to be constant, but it is quite an effective remedy.
It is essential to practice safe use, especially if you are using it for the first time. It is recommended to test the oil on your wrist before making sure you are not allergic.
Please don’t use too much castor oil, especially on your face, as it can clog pores and cause breakouts. Pregnant women are advised not to take castor oil by mouth. In any case, always consult with your doctor.