Health Benefits of Castor Oil

Castor oil is well known for its numerous health benefits, also identified as Ricinus communis, it is a non-edible, multi-purpose oil and contains about 120 calories per tablespoon. Castor oil is nutrient-rich vegetable oil, it is native to tropical east Africa, belonging to the Euphorbiaceae family, and is widely used for medicinal purposes. The oil is a clear or pale yellow, it is nonvolatile and is viscous with a bland taste. It is non-drying and is used as a purgative because of a strong laxative effect.

Castor oil

Castor oil

Powerful Laxative

Castor oil is a natural powerful laxative, it stimulates the muscles and helps in clear bowels. When castor oil is taken from the mouth, it releases ricinoleic acid with the help of intestinal juices. It relieves constipation, reduces the urge to strain during defecation, but it is important to ensure consumption of the right dosage because a larger amount of castor oil can lead to abdominal cramps, diarrhea, or vomiting in few cases. Long term use of castor oil for constipation is often not recommended. 15 – 16 ml of castor oil can be consumed as one dose by an adult.

Promotes Glowing Skin

Castor oil is a good source of ricinoleic acid, it is a monosaturated fatty acid and natural moisturizer. It retains the natural moisture of the skin and prevents loss of hydration. It is widely used in skin conditions like atopic dermatitis. It has the potential to fight the effects of pollution on skin health. It has natural antiviral and antimicrobial properties, it also protects the skin from various infections. Castor oil is beneficial in reducing acne, it reduces the growth of bacteria like staphylococcus aureus which is commonly responsible for inflammation and infection associated with acne. You can apply castor oil on your skin with the help of cotton, gently massage the area with the help of your fingers in a circular motion. Leave the oil for some time and wash off with the help of water.

glowing skin

Glowing Skin in Winter

Castor oil can be used to heal wounds, it promotes healing by stimulating the growth of the cells and tissues. Ointments containing castor oil is often recommended in healing ulcers created because of prolonged pressure on the skin.

Likewise, castor oil also promotes collagen production, it helps in tightening and rejuvenating the skin. Fatty acids present in castor oil encourages softer and smoother skin. Apply a small amount of castor oil on the skin and keep it overnight for best results, wash it with water in the morning.


The topical application of castor oil relieves pain, treats irritated skin, and reduces inflammation. It is beneficial in rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis. Likewise, castor oil is also beneficial in treating acne, it inhibits bacterial growth and promotes healthy skin.

Treats Hair Loss

Castor oil heals dry scalp, it promotes hair growth, enriches your scalp, and treats hair loss. The fatty acids present in castor oil provides necessary nutrients to the hair follicles, it prevents inflammation and increases the flexibility of the hair shaft. It furnishes luster and shine to the hair and stimulates hair growth. The ricinoleic acid in castor oil restores Prostaglandin E2 receptors and promotes the dilation of blood vessels leading to an improved oxygen supply.

Simple Hair Care Tips

Simple Hair Care Tips

Always consider taking a patch test, before using castor oil. Once you are sure that castor oil is compatible with your skin, you can apply it on your scalp as a pre-shampoo treatment. Additionally, steam can be added for deeper penetration into the scalp. You can mix fenugreek powder with castor oil and apply on the scalp as a hair mask, this helps in making roots stronger and prevents hair fall.

Maintains Healthy Gums

Castor oil helps in fighting fungal infections of the mouth, it is especially beneficial in reducing the growth of Candida albicans in the mouth. It also helps in stomatitis, in the case of elderly people wearing dentures.

Castor oil is believed to induce labor, about 93% of US midwives reports using castor oil for labor induction. It stimulates prostaglandin production which increases uterine activities.

Castor oil should not be used without the recommendation of your doctor, it should be strictly be avoided in pregnancy since it has the potential to induce contractions. Castor oil is associated with certain side effects like –  dizziness, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea, electrolyte imbalance, low blood pressure, and pelvic congestion. Always check with your doctor before adding castor oil in your diet.

Dr. Reena Prajapat
Dr Reena Prajapat is a dentist, she post graduated in hospital management from Apollo Institute of hospital Administration, Hyderabad. Her strong belief in natural and home remedies lead her to Pursue bachelor in naturopathy.