a bottle of castor oil

Q. Castor Oil is a life-saver for joints, especially knees.
A few years ago, my husband hurt/twisted his knee while getting in and out of a huge truck. The pain only increased as time went by, so we went to urgent care. After x-rays, etc., my husband was told that it really required surgery to repair and fix his knee, which was NOT in our budget at the time. What to do?
We had already heard about using castor oil on joints from a couple of doctors (M.D.) with knowledge in natural remedies, also.
According to instructions, I massaged castor oil into his whole knee area; then I wrapped the whole area with an old cloth (that I would continue to keep stored/sealed in a zippy-bag, for re-use) and with saran-type-wrap, because castor oil is both oily and staining–it will not wash out. After that, we put a heating pad on the area (SET ON LOW heat) for an hour. We kept the wrappings on his knee over night.
I had to beg my husband to let me apply the castor oil and wrappings on the first night. The second night, he reminded me to fix up his knee again. Night number three, he did it himself, on his own. He woke up the next morning, with his knee feeling great.
If/when he or I ever hurt any joint, both of us know to rub with the castor oil, wrap with a cloth, cover for a while, and get relief. Heat does not have to be applied, but it helps.
There is nothing like castor oil for knees and joints. It’s messy, but who cares, if it helps prevent or STOP the need for surgery and if it stops pain?
PS. A few years ago a non-oily version of castor oil came out on the market: Castiva. We always kept a tube or two around the house; we can not find it now, though. Any idea where we can find Castiva?
A. Castiva Arthritis Pain Relief is still available. You can find it online or in independent pharmacies. Castiva contains a castor oil base and comes in both a warming formula (capsaicin) or a cooling formula (menthol and methyl salicylate). Capsaicin (the hot stuff in hot chili peppers) has long been used to ease joint pain. Combined with castor oil we think this is a winning formulation.
Here are some other castor oil stories:

“Whenever my children hurt themselves, the first thing I reached for was the castor oil. My mother-in-law’s uncle was a boxer and castor oil was what they used after a boxing match to prevent hematomas and bruising. It works like a charm. It has been passed down as a remedy in my family for many years.”

“I rub castor oil on my aches and pains, and it helps a lot. Some people make castor oil packs. I used them when the doctors said I had liver cancer. We don’t know what happened to the liver cancer! It is gone. I use castor oil every chance I get. I hope it works for others! Take care!!”

“Used castor oil in Lacrosse for years. Put on castor oil and wrapped it with plastic wrap, bruise would at times be gone the next day. Frustrated a lot of players because they would swear that they hit you… :-)
Tom D.

“Castor Oil DEFINITELY WORKS!!! I am a huge bruiser, esp. since I am borderline anemic and whenever I bruise and I apply castor oil right away directly to bruise and rub it in a bit, it significantly minimizes the bruise right away and/or decreases the severity or # of days it shows! I love it!”

“I had warts on my hands when I was younger. Tried the burning/freezing remedies and nothing worked as well as my mother’s remedy of applying castor oil to the wart and covering with a band aid. This got rid of the warts completely. I forget how long it took or how often I had to reapply, but they never came back.”

“Castor oil completely eliminated a wart that I had tried to eliminate for over twenty years. It did not even leave a scar! I applied the oil on the wart after showering and at bedtime and covered it with a bandage. I kept at it until it was gone, maybe two months.”

We would love to learn about your castor oil stories. Share your experiences below.
And if you would like other home remedies for arthritis, muscle aches, warts, headaches or just about any other ailment, you might like a copy of our book, Quick & Handy Home Remedies.

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  1. Deanna
    Marshfield, Mo.

    Stumbled onto this site while being wakeful from extremely painful knee and back pain of 18 mos. duration. Very willing to learn of non medical solutions.

  2. Baldev

    I am quit impressed. Will it work for lower back pain which I am having for many years?

  3. pervizmawji

    I will try

  4. john c.

    I had a ten year old knee injury that never got surgery and hurt all the time. I recently re-injured it and could barely walk. A friend recommended castor oil so i tried it. After 3 applications my injured leg feels better than the uninjured one! I love castor oil…

  5. skinnycat

    My husband has been working in carpentry/painting/plumbing, etc for years and his hands ache afterwards. Has a family history of arthritis as well. I massage his hands with castor oil and it works like a charm. Pain gone. Movement re-established. waalaa.

  6. Murphy

    I read this article which makes me a bit leery about trying the Castor Oil. I appreciate that it works so well for so many people, but those who have not tried it before, might want to read this article before making the final decision. I have suffered with joint pain and was so hoping this would be my magic pill, but I also have had colon cancer and suffer from colitis as well. Just want to be sure this is something that won’t affect any of these problems since the castor oil does soak into the skin, as I have read in the comments.
    Any suggestions or help with this would be appreciated
    Here is the link: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/04/28/castor-oil-to-treat-health-conditions.aspx

    • Rozie

      Like everything else you have to use this oil with caution. I just read about the oil for knee pain and started last night. I have tried just about everything else, I will try for 3 nights and report back.

  7. J Braddon

    Castor oil: I use it regularly, as it entirely suppresses the pain of an arthritis joint, and enables me to play a stringed instrument. I use it also in an area beneath my knee, as it eliminates for days or longer the pain of medial meniscus tears (in my case), which are aggravated by squatting and weeding on my knees. I use it also on an ankle with chronic tendonitis: it makes the ache go away after 1-2 treatments, and suppresses it for many days. I simply place it (see method below) so as to be centered on the area of greatest pain.
    How to apply it? I take a large bandaid pad (from a drugstore or Walgreens brand), these being about 2 inches by 3 inches, saturate it with a good amount, spreading it edge to edge, then apply it to the area. It sticks fast, even if the oil goes right up to the edge of the adhesive. I leave it in place about 18 hours. This works better for me than simply massage with oil.
    I began reading about castor oil after I learned through a news report on TV that a member of the US Ski Team had used it to ameliorate an injury from falling on the slopes, enabling her to return to the racing days later. Her PT had recommended it, I believe.
    This treatment has been a miracle for me, after months of PT and visits to the doctor did little good. My husband gets the same excellent benefits for something akin to tennis elbow.

  8. Tony O

    I use Castor Oil to treat Plantar Fascaitis. Put the affected foot across the opposite knee, pull the toes back to expose the tendon that runs from the heel to the ball of the foot. Apply castor oil to the sore part of the heel and massage the tendon with as much pressure as can be tolerated ( the harder the better ). Tha castor oil lubricates the area being massaged and works some magic on the inside as well.

  9. S.H.

    After I wrote my comments about how using castor oil externally helped my husband’s knee, I had a pharmacy tech at Target order 2 tubes of Castiva with CAPSAISIN. They arrived the next day. At about $10, it is well worth it. (I do not own any or am I connected to Castiva’s manufacturers.)
    Castor oil must be rubbed onto the skin. A doctor in Springfield, MO explains that castor oil reduces inflammation, among other things.)
    A friend’s husband had awful knees. She applied the oil at night, as per instructions, and used Castiva during the day, because it would not stain clothes, as castor oil will not wash out completely. She told us that her husband’s knees improved greatly. She told her sister about castol oil, etc., and her knees were improved.
    It might not help everyone, but, hey, a bottle costs less than $5.00, and an old rag and zippy-bag costs little to nothing.

  10. ebm

    Cherry, In Germany it was used as a laxative. It’s thick and sticky, be hard to swallow!

  11. Mary K.

    My father overheard a man in line at the pharmacy ask for cod liver oil caps to take for knee problems. Since Daddy had had knee pain for years after a car accident, he decided to try cod liver oil daily. It worked for him; he took it for the rest of his life, one a day, I think.

  12. RLP

    I am definitely going to try this. I will let you know how it goes :)

  13. PG

    Used castor oil packs with heating pad after I had shoulder surgery a few years back. It worked really well at easing the pain.

  14. alan

    wonder if it’d help with eczema/psoriasis?

  15. Joan

    When I was growing up my family had milk cows. One young cow had warts on her teats. My Dad said I could have the cow if I could cure the warts. He gave me a bottle of Castor Oil and told me to apply it daily. I did so for about a month and the warts disappeared so I got to claim the cow as my own

  16. BZ

    I have always been a fan of Edgar Cayce from Virginia Beach and he always talked about the castor oil packs. I wonder if they would work on idiopathic incontinence??

  17. george

    As a kid, my grandfather used it regularly for colds, he swore that it was ‘good for what ails you’. We took if by the tablespoon full, he took the whole glass full. As a maintenance man, I noted many of the engineers used Castor oil as a lubricant.

  18. Cherry

    What about ingesting it? Can taking a castor oil supplement also work for painful joints and bruises?

  19. MO

    I have never used caster oil on my knees, but going to try it. It won’t hurt.

  20. Helen

    There is an old book called Folk Medicine by D.C. Jarvis, MD. Based on Vermont folk medicine, it was first published in 1958, and the 4th printing was in 1985. It includes info about apple cider vinegar, honey, and includes a chapter on many uses for castor oil. I found a used copy on the internet. He mentions the use of a drop of castor oil in the eye for irritation, which I have tried. When I used Restasis for dry eye, I looked up the ingredients..one of the inactive ingredients is castor oil! I’m sure Dr. Jarvis, who lived from 1881-1966, would be amused that Dr. Oz on his 2013 TV show is talking about the use of vinegar.
    Christiane Northrup MD mentions castor oil packs for menstrual cramps in her best selling book for women. I have also found that rubbing castor oil into the tops of your hands at night lightens the brown spots.

  21. HJL

    Graedon’s, could you find any science on this and do you know of any theoretical reason why it might work. I am not a skeptic, just trying to learn more.
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: We haven’t seen any science yet, but we’ll keep looking.

  22. DS

    I would like to hear what people have to say. I think I may buy some castor oil to have on hand!

  23. CHW

    I cannot take aspirin products due to a kidney transplant. I bruise VERY easily (from the meds I take) and my knees are starting to ‘go.’ Can I use the Castor Oil remedies?

  24. JayR

    Does the Castiva stain?
    Not as far as we know. Give it a go and let us know!

  25. yvonne

    I use olive oil (very liberally) and it’s not greasy or messy, soaks right in. After showers, slather all over, makes nice, clearer skin, clears psorious, after yard work rub and massage knees liberally. With olive oil and glucosomine I really don’t hurt. I’m 74 and most of my friends are having knee replacements!

  26. alxzba

    Doing a lot of outside work, I’ve used Castor Oil for bruises, especially on the back of my hands. While not a controlled study, it seemed to help heal faster than what I thought as normal healing without treatment of any type.

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