a bottle of castor oil

Castor oil has been used for thousands of years as a home remedy. The seeds of the castor bean also make one of the deadliest poisons known to man—ricin. Fortunately, ricin is not found in the oil. That’s why people have come up with some interesting uses for this very old natural product.

Q. 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 always used it after a boxing match to prevent hematomas and bruising.

This approach works like a charm. It has been passed down as a remedy in my family for many years.

A. Thanks for sharing your family remedy. We have heard from others that applying castor oil (Ricinus communis) after a bump can often avert a bruise.

A lacrosse player shared his experience:

“I used castor oil in lacrosse for years. I would put on the oil and cover it with plastic wrap. The bruise would usually be gone the next day. That frustrated a lot of players because they would swear that they hit you, and then they wouldn’t see the evidence.”

S.H. offers a different use for castor oil:

“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 this oil on joints from a couple of doctors (M.D.s) with knowledge in natural remedies, also. According to instructions, I massaged the oil oil into his whole knee area; then I wrapped the whole area with an old cloth/rag (that I would continue to keep stored/sealed in a zippy-bag, for re-use) and with plastic-type-wrap, because castor oil is both oily and staining–it will not wash out. We kept the wrappings on his knee over night.

“I had to beg my husband to let me apply the oil and wrappings, initially 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 an old rag, cover for a while, and get relief. There is nothing like it for knees and joints. The oil is messy, but who cares, if it helps prevent or STOP the need for surgery and if it stops pain?”

A traditional Use for Ricinus communis:

Many people use castor oil as a super strong laxative. We advise against this however, since it can lead to cramping, abdominal pain and diarrhea.

S.B. says:

“My friend uses a spoon of castor oil with warm water at bedtime. Her constipation, which she was having for years, is gone. Castor oil is not very pleasant to take, but she found this worked best for her.”

P.J.D. has an unpleasant castor oil memory to share:

“YUCK! I remember my mom giving us Castor Oil! Just saying the name makes me “yuck”. I am now 69 and how funny that just saying castor oil still makes me want to upchuck. This has to be a psychological unpleasant memory.”

Do You Like Old-Timey Home Remedies?

Castor oil dates back to the ancient Egyptians. They rubbed it on their skin and swallowed it as a laxative. They also used it in their lamps. If you find such information of interest, chances are good that you will love our book, Quick & Handy Home Remedies from The People’s Pharmacy. It is filled with hundreds of home remedies and stories from readers. You will discover other uses for castor oil such as against warts. Here is a link to learn more.

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  1. Imogene
    NC
    Reply

    I would like your thoughts on taking trazadone for insominia.

  2. Carol
    WV
    Reply

    When I was a child coming down with a cold in the winter, I would get my chest rubbed with castor oil. It is hard to remember the results but I think it worked.

  3. Annie
    North Carolina
    Reply

    Some breastfeeding mothers use hot castor oil packs for mastitis. They preheat a heating pad. Next they place a damp washcloth on a sheet of plastic wrap. Then they pour a tablespoonful of castor on the washcloth and spread. This preparation is placed over the sore area of the breast and covered with the warm heating pad for 20-30 minutes. Moms wash off any oil that might touch the nipple before feeding the baby.

  4. Jim
    Florida
    Reply

    In the 70’s I was skiing in Austria and badly sprained both knees. I was on crutches and in a lot of pain. A little old lady at a small store told me to take a bottle of clear brandy, soak a cloth with it, wrap it around my knee, cover that with a plastic bag and that with a towel. I went skiing the next day!!

  5. Alexander
    07026
    Reply

    Good article, but please be more specific when you tell spoon (table spoon or tea spoon?)

  6. Kat
    Florida
    Reply

    We used castor oil on my hsband’s large, flat, ugly facial skin tag. It was about the size of a quarter and located in the upper part of his sideburn. A doctor had already surgically removed it once, but it grew back again. My husband applied castor oil to it with a cotton swab a couple of times a day. It slowly started to disappear and was completely gone in about two months. You can hardly tell where it was anymore. It has been a year and the skin tag has not returned (it began to come back very quickly after it was surgically removed). I don’t know if the oil would work on hanging skin tags (the ones that look like little flaps if skin), but it worked great on his flat tag. I also use it on bruises and the pain and duration of them is much less.

  7. Margaret
    Wisconsin
    Reply

    It is so easy to get the castor oil on your clothes when using. I have found squirting Dawn on the stain straight from the bottle, let sit a few minutes and then rubbing it out with a little water and then rinsing does a pretty good job.

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