Q. My mother-in-law uses castor oil for bruises. At Christmas, my sister-in-law sat down in a very heavy old rocker-recliner chair. It went crashing to the floor, and one corner landed right on top of my mother-in-law's foot.

My sister-in-law was dazed and took a moment to get up, which meant my mother-in-law's foot was trapped under the chair for a few seconds. She was screaming!

We all urged my mother-in-law to go to the hospital to make sure no bones in her foot were broken, but she refused. Instead she slathered the top of her foot with a generous amount of castor oil. She said that castor oil applied immediately to a bump reduces swelling and prevents bruising.

I didn’t believe it until the next day when I saw that her foot was fine! I don't advocate castor oil for serious injuries, and I do think my mother-in-law should have had her foot X-rayed, but for minor accidents, it works great!

A. Castor oil contains ricinoleic acid. This compound has both pro- and anti-inflammatory effects (European Journal of Pharmacology, Oct. 27, 2000). Regular topical use seems to improve pain tolerance, but no one has studied an anti-bruising effect.

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  1. Jan
    North Carolina

    I am trying castor oil packs for a deep hematoma in my mother’s thigh. She has been in much pain for 11 days. Fingers are crossed! She does not have a visible bruise, but the Doctor could feel pool of blood inside her muscle. Will let you know if this works. She is 89 years old and is very anxious for this to heal.

  2. Angelina Mayers

    Caster Oil can certainly help reduce the bruising. I am always amazed to find out that natural substances can be put to so many uses. :)

  3. CraftyMariachi

    Isn’t an anti-inflammatory by definition anti-bruising? My grandma also uses castor oil for bruises and actually even as a laxative… It’s always crazy how many random uses these things are put to!

  4. LCF

    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.

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