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Can Castor Oil Really Help Against Bruising?

Some home remedies date back thousands of years. Such is the case with castor oil. Readers keep coming up with new uses for this ancient plant.

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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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.”.
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