Castor Oil Benefits
- Castor oil is a multi-purpose vegetable oil that people have used for thousands of years.
It’s made by extracting oil from the seeds of the Ricinus communis plant.
These seeds, which are known as castor beans, contain a toxic enzyme called ricin. However, the heating process that castor oil undergoes deactivates it, allowing the oil to be used safely.
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.
- One of the best-known medicinal uses for castor oil is as a natural laxative.
It’s classified as a stimulant laxative, meaning that it increases the movement of the muscles that push material through the intestines, helping clear the bowels.
Stimulant laxatives act rapidly and are commonly used to relieve temporary constipation.
- When consumed by mouth, castor oil is broken down in the small intestine, releasing ricinoleic acid, the main fatty acid in castor oil. The ricinoleic acid is then absorbed by the intestine, stimulating a strong laxative effect.
In fact, several studies have shown that castor oil can relieve constipation.
- Castor oil contains many beneficial components, including fatty acids, flavonoids, phenolic compounds, amino acids, terpenoids and phytosterols. These various compounds give the oil the following properties and potential health benefits:
- Hepatoprotective (ability to prevent damage to the liver)
- Free radical scavenging