Benefits and Uses :
Castor oil has a number of medicinal, industrial and pharmaceutical uses.
It’s commonly used as an additive in foods, medications and skin care products, as well as an industrial lubricant and biodiesel fuel component.
In ancient Egypt, castor oil was burned as fuel in lamps, used as a natural remedy to treat ailments like eye irritation and even given to pregnant women to stimulate labor.
Today, castor oil remains a popular natural treatment for common conditions like constipation and skin ailments and is commonly used in natural beauty products.
Here are 7 benefits and uses of castor oil.
1. A Powerful Laxative
One of the best-known medicinal uses for castor oil is as a natural laxative.
It’s classified as a stimulant laxative, ( to relieve temporary constipation) meaning that it increases the movement of the muscles that push material through the intestines, helping clear the bowels.
When consumed, castor oil is broken down in the small intestine, releasing ricinoleic acid, the main fatty acid in castor oil, which is then absorbed by the intestine, stimulating a strong laxative effect.
Although it is considered safe in small doses, larger amounts can cause abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. So take precaution in the dosage.
2. A Natural Moisturizer
Castor oil is rich in ricinoleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid.
These types of fats prevent loss of moisture thus suitable as skin moisturizer.
Castor oil is a common component in cosmetics like lotions, makeup and cleansers to promote hydration.
You can also use this rich oil on its own as a natural alternative to store-bought moisturizers and lotions.
Though applying castor oil to the skin is considered safe for most, it can cause an allergic reaction in some people.
3. Aids Wound Healing
Castor oil application to wounds promotes healing and prevents sores from drying out.
Castor oil decrease the risk of infection by stimulating tissue growth so that a barrier can be formed between the wound and the environment.
It also reduces dryness and cornification, the buildup of dead skin cells that can delay wound healing.
4. Good Anti-Inflammatory Effects
Ricinoleic acid, the main fatty acid found in castor oil, has impressive anti-inflammatory properties.
Studies have shown that when castor oil is applied topically, it reduces inflammation and relieves pain.
The pain-reducing and anti-inflammatory qualities of castor oil may be particularly helpful to those with an inflammatory disease such as rheumatoid arthritis or psoriasis.
5. Reduces Acne
Acne is common in teens and young adults . Castor oil has several qualities that may help reduce acne symptoms.
Inflammation is thought to be a factor in the development and severity of acne, so applying castor oil to the skin may help reduce inflammation-related symptoms.
Acne is also cause by an imbalance of certain types of bacteria normally found on the skin, including Staphylococcus aureus .
Castor oil has antimicrobial properties that may help fight bacterial overgrowth when applied to the skin.
Fungus like Candida albicans commonly causes dental issues like plaque overgrowth, gum infections and root canal infections.
Castor oil has antifungal properties and may help fight off Candida, keeping the mouth healthy.
7. Maintains Healthy Hair and Scalp
Many prefer castor oil as a natural hair conditioner.
Dry or damaged hair can especially benefit from an intense moisturizer like castor oil.
Applying fats like castor oil to the hair on a regular basis helps lubricate the hair shaft, increasing flexibility and decreasing the chance of breakage.
Castor oil may benefit those who experience dandruff, a common scalp condition characterized by dry, flaky skin on the head.
Though there are many different causes of dandruff, it has been linked to seborrhoeic dermatitis, an inflammatory skin condition that causes red, scaly patches on the scalp.
Due to castor oil’s ability to reduce inflammation, it may be an effective treatment for dandruff that is caused by seborrhoeic dermatitis.
Plus, applying castor oil to the scalp will help moisturize dry, irritated skin and may help reduce flaking.
Castor oil may also help treat denture-related stomatitis, a painful condition thought to be caused by Candida overgrowth. This is a common issue in elderly people who wear dentures.
A study in 30 elderly people with denture-related stomatitis showed that treatment with castor oil led to improvements in the clinical signs of stomatitis, including inflammation.
Another study found that brushing with and soaking dentures in a solution containing castor oil led to significant reductions in Candida in elderly people who wore dentures .
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