The use of castor oil for aesthetic purposes is quite popular, being mainly used in order to enhance hair growth and even other hairs (such as beards or eyebrows, for example). This, since it acts as a natural strengthener.
However, this oil can also be used for therapeutic purposes. Check and understand better:
What is castor oil?
Castor oil is extracted from castor seeds ( Ricinus communis ), which makes it also known as “castor oil”. Unlike the seed from which it is extracted, this oil is not toxic – on the contrary, it can bring several benefits.
Its positive actions to the organism are linked, mainly, to its assets such as vitamin E and omega 6 and 9 (ricinoleic acid). So that it can contribute to the relief of inflammatory processes, pain and even be used for aesthetic purposes.
That is why this component is present in several cosmetics, especially those for hair care, in order to ensure strengthening and faster growth to the hair.
In addition, another benefit is the laxative action of the oil, since its ingestion promotes irritation of the intestinal mucosa and facilitates the elimination of the fecal bolus in cases of constipation.
It should be noted that, when it comes to the extraction of castor oil for medicinal purposes (as mentioned above), the process is done through cold pressing . What is done to guarantee a clearer, colorless product, free from ricin and without acidity or impurities.
Thus, providing a safe use of the ingredient – as long as following the recommendations and not disregarding the contraindications, as is the case of pregnant women and children, for whom the oil may present risks.
How to use castor oil as a laxative?
Among the therapeutic properties of castor oil is its laxative action . That is, it acts as a stimulant for the functioning of the digestive system and can be indicated for cases of constipation ( constipation ).
This effect occurs because, when the oil comes into contact with the intestine, it releases the ricinoleic acid. With this, it promotes irritation of the intestinal mucosa (and the accumulation of water), which favors the formation and elimination of the fecal bolus.
In general, consumption of up to 1 tablespoon of the oil for this purpose may be recommended .
But it should be noted that this should not be done without medical advice, as even ingredients or products of natural origin (such as castor oil) can be harmful to health – as well as medicated laxatives, for example.
This, since the inappropriate or exaggerated use of laxative substances can cause dependence, rebound effect (worsen constipation), dehydration and / or potentiated effects.
Therefore, it should be remembered that the laxative action is only desirable in cases of constipation or as a form of prior procedure for carrying out tests, for example. So there is always a need for professional support .
How to use castor oil for arthritis and osteoarthritis?
Another property of castor oil, associated with ricinoleic acid (the main fatty acid in the oil), is its anti-inflammatory action . What makes it suitable for the treatment of chronic problems, such as arthritis and osteoarthritis – as well as for other rheumatic diseases.
Among the main symptoms of these conditions is heat in the affected areas, in addition to pain and even limited movement due to the stiffness caused by inflammatory processes.
In this sense, the use of castor oil can provide relief from these discomforts, since it minimizes the factor that is triggering the problem (that is, inflammation).
For this, it is not necessary to ingest the oil (as when the laxative action is desired, for example). Topical use alone should be enough to reduce the symptoms in question.
One way to use it is to heat a few tablespoons of castor oil in the microwave for about 30 seconds . That done, just apply it with a cotton (very moistened) in the areas affected by arthritis or osteoarthritis.
Then, you can wrap the region with a band (without removing the oil) and leave for about 40min to 1 hour, in order to allow greater penetration and release of assets. Thus, ensuring the reduction (complete or partial) of pain and limitations caused by the disease.
If you wish, you can also count on a warm bag under the place during that time, since the thermal alteration is one of the techniques that can contribute to the relief of pain.
How to use castor oil for inflammation?
Since castor oil can be indicated as a complementary therapy in cases of arthritis or osteoarthritis, two diseases that are based on a chronic inflammatory process, it can also be beneficial in the case of other inflammations.
As mentioned, this action is possible due to ricinoleic acid, since this fatty acid allows analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects . Thus, it is especially effective for pain relief (local or generalized).
This action also does not require the ingestion of oil, only compresses and / or massages can be made in the area affected by pain (or muscle inflammation).
Therefore, its use can be beneficial for the relief of the following conditions, for example:
- Menstrual cramps;
- Ear or throat pain;
- Muscle tension and pain;
- Pain after surgical procedures (dental, gynecological, orthopedic, etc.);
- Rheumatism (set of diseases, such as arthritis, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, etc.).
Although castor oil is completely natural, there may still be contraindications for use, such as for people allergic to this ingredient. In addition, its use and / or ingestion are also not recommended for pregnant or lactating women .
Since it can induce labor and cause spontaneous abortions, or interfere with the production and composition of breast milk (directly affecting the baby’s health and well-being).
Also, due to its laxative action and impact on the functioning of the digestive system, this oil is also contraindicated for people with irritable colon, intestinal obstruction or in case of diseases that affect this system – except under medical prescription.
As for pediatric use, it is also not recommended, especially in young children.
Finally, it should be noted that when used under suitable conditions and by people who do not fit the listed contraindications, castor oil does not usually cause adverse reactions. Still, always prefer to seek medical advice in advance.
This, even more considering that this oil, in all its beneficial uses, corresponds to a complementary therapy and should not substitute another accompaniment.
Knowing the benefits and ways of using a particular product, asset or ingredient can be very beneficial and avoid complications due to improper administration.
So, to have access to more information like this, keep following the Healthy Minute!