Castor oil is an ancient remedy with some truly awesome benefits for our health. While most of us (at least of my generation) know castor oil as that extremely effective laxative/purgative that was so terribly hard to swallow, its other benefits have been lost to many of the present generation.
Taken internally, castor oil is not only a laxative but it can also be of benefit to those with irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive problems caused by bacterial overgrowth. It is highly antibacterial, antiviral and anti fungal. It is also an effective emenagogue and glactagogue. Castor oil contains ricinoleic acid (the only known source of this valuable unsaturated fatty acid) which is thought to be responsible for its remarkable healing abilities.
In spite of the healing effects of taking castor oil in small doses internally, the topical applications are where truly awesome results are seen. Many diseases originate from stagnation of the lymph fluid. When lymph drainage slows and fluid accumulates around the cells the cells are forced further away from the capillaries. The amount of oxygen and nutrients the cells receive are decreased and, under exertion and stress, some cells may die. Without the proper flow of lymphocytes, cells are forced to live in their own waste which can lead to degeneration and destructions of organs.
Castor oil packs can be used to improve the flow of lymph fluid. The castor oil exerts a positive influence on the thymus gland and lymphatic tissue. The result is the reduction of swollen lymph nodes and an overall improvement in organ function which lessens fatigue and depression.
Dr. David Williams has written a very informative article on the benefits of castor oil, and how to use the castor oil pack to stimulate lymph flow.
Castor oil, which is scientifically known as Ricinus Communis, can do much, much more for our health. Applied topically and massaged in, it is a very effective treatment for rheumatism, arthritis, gout and any other painful joint condition. Since castor oil is easily absorbed by the skin it is sometimes infused with healing herbs which can facilitate the healing process.
Castor oil contains undecylenic acid, which is germicidal and disinfectant. Due to this fact it is helpful in treating skin ulcers and such fungi as those found around fingernails and toenails. Once again, for this application it is often infused with herbs to facilitate the healing process.
As mentioned before, castor oil contains a high percentage of ricinoleic acid which is germicidal, insecticidal and fungicidal. Microbial and fungal infections are two of the main causes of hair loss and/or dandruff. Castor oil used in hair care products or simply massaging straight castor oil into the scalp, leaving it overnight and shampooing out the next day can greatly help alleviate these problems.
Skin problems such as callouses, warts and plantar warts can also be treated with castor oil. Soaking the feet in epsom salts water first will help the absorbtion of the castor oil and speed the results.
Warning: Do not take castor oil internally without consulting your physician as it may effect some medications. Only the highest quality castor oil should be used internally or topically. Use only cold pressed castor oil.