The People's Perspective on Medicine

Old Fashioned Laxative Relieves Bicycle Knee Pain

Q. I’ve been having some knee stiffness and pain that interferes with my bicycling. When I read on your website that castor oil might reduce inflammation and ease knee pain I bought a bottle. I think it cost less than $2.

I have been rubbing castor oil on my knees twice a day. Amazing! I honestly got real relief within a couple of days. I don’t know how or why it works, but it did for me.

A. Castor oil is derived from the seeds of the plant Ricinus communis. The oil from castor beans has been used medicinally for thousands of years. When swallowed, it acts as a powerful laxative. Applied to the skin, it has been used as a massage oil, anti-inflammatory agent and muscle relaxant.

Over the years we have heard from many readers that castor oil has miraculous powers. Here are just a few examples:


“I am a living witness that castor oil works for joint problems. I rubbed it on my knee for a couple of nights at bedtime and the knee pain went away, but it’s good to keep rubbing it in.” Cee

“Warm castor oil wrapped in a towel around swollen joints or swollen areas will reduce pain and swelling.
 Also very good for arthritis sufferers. Try it, you’ll love it.” Peter G.

“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 stock nor am I connected to Castiva’s manufacturer.)

“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 castor 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.” S.H.


“I had a wart on my thumb since childhood. I tried everything I read about and it always came back. I read on People’s Pharmacy about using castor oil on knees and joints and started using it. My joints were feeling so much better.

“While telling a friend about using the castor oil, she said her grandmother had put it on the warts on her hand as a child. In a week they were gone. I then looked at my thumb and low and behold the wart on it was gone. The skin is smooth with not a trace of roughness:-) Thanks to the castor oil I think it is gone forever. I don’t know if it will work for plantar warts but castor oil is cheap and worth a try.” Mary

“Both my son (when he was seven) and grandson developed plantar warts on their feet. I applied a small piece of cotton soaked in castor oil to the wart, then covered with gauze and tape each night before bed, and again in the morning before school.

“After a few days, the wart would begin to turn black. I would have them start soaking their foot for 20 minutes or so each evening before the wart treatment. After two to four weeks the ‘core’ fell out, leaving nothing but a hole behind.

“With my son, the wart never returned; with my grandson, fingers crossed, as it was only a few days ago. My other grandson has common warts on his fingers. The doctor put beetle juice on them – saying he would probably need three or four more treatments for complete removal.

“After spending over $100 for this surgical procedure, I think I’ll try and convince my daughter to try castor oil on the ‘common warts.'” K.B.


“I used castor oil successfully to get rid of some small, fleshy bumps that appeared on the skin. I just rubbed a tiny bit of castor oil on them once or twice a day, and in about a month they were gone. A friend of mine had the exact same experience.” Tyler


“Castor oil definitely works! I am a huge bruiser, especially since I am borderline anemic. Whether I bruise and apply castor oil right away or wait 24 hours before I apply castor oil directly to the  bruise and rub it a bit, it significantly minimizes the bruise right away and/or decreases the severity or number of days it shows! I love it!” M.M.

“I used it in Lacrosse for years. Put on castor oil and wrapped it with plastic wrap. The bruise would at times be gone the next day.” Tom

“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.” Alx

“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.” L.C.F.


“In Arctic Canada, castor oil protects from frostbite during extreme cold. Castor oil reduces the peeling of skin, should frostbite occur and minimizes the impact of the long Arctic winters on our skin. Of course prevention of frostbite is our priority focus. But castor oil helps a lot.” Yellowknife


“I use castor oil to treat plantar fasciitis. 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 castor oil lubricates the area being massaged and works some magic on the inside as well.” Tony

We would love to learn about your experience with castor oil. Has it helped or was it a waste of time? Share your story below.

If you appreciate home remedies as much as we do, you will want to know that we have collected many of our favorite arthritis and wart remedies in our book from National Geographic, The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies. In addition to arthritis and wart remedies we have something for almost anything that ails you:

  • Allergies
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Back pain
  • Body odor
  • Burns
  • Bursitis
Canker Sores
  • Colds
  • Constipation
  • Coughs
  • Cuts & bruises
  • Dandruff
  • Diabetes
  • Diarrhea
  • Diverticulitis
  • Dry Skin
  • Eczema
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Gout
  • Headaches
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Hiccups
  • High Blood Pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Hot flashes
  • Insomnia
  • Kidney Stones
  • Lice
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea
  • Nerve pain
  • Psoriasis
  • Raynaud’s disease
  • Sinusitis
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Wound care

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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.” .
Alternatives for Arthritis

This eGuide describes nondrug alternatives for arthritis with the latest scientific studies to document anti-inflammatory activity. This comprehensive online guide (too long to print) adds the science behind ancient healing traditions.

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There are many joint pain problems in human body. We can tackle this problem by the help of homeopathic remedies, which never affect the body in any way. We also provide homeopathic remedies to get relief from joint pains. Please update more information on this topic.

Years ago a friend accidentally stepped on sea urchin while taking a dip in the Adriatic. She had tiny painful black spots on her heel. I envisioned having to tackle each one with a needle, but a Yugoslav local somehow conveyed to us that applying castor oil would take care of the problem. It did.

I had seen in a health magazine how to get rid of dry, cracked feet by using oil. The oil they used was $50. I tried this on my feet but used a $4 bottle of Castor Oil. Within two night treatments my feet were not dry and the cracks were gone. Every other night I use this treatment and now that summer is here, my feet look great in sandals. Being a diabetic, dry, cracking feet are not good to have. Castor Oil saved them!

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