Castor oil sounds like an old-timey remedy, doesn’t it? But this traditional oil actually has a lot of modern uses!
Traditionally, folks have used castor oil as part of a “pack” to soothe aches and pains. You’d soak a piece of flannel in castor oil, wrap a hot water bottle with it, and apply the pack to the injury. It’s also an effective laxative, and folks have been using a spoonful of castor oil to … er … get things moving for centuries.
Castor oil comes from the castor oil plant or “hand of Christ,” and it’s an ancient remedy for skin ailments and digestive issues. The oil is expressed from the castor bean. The bean itself is toxic, but the oil is not. Castor oil has some great healing properties, and while it’s not as widely used now as it once was, it’s making a comeback as folks discover what a great natural remedy it is!
Many classic applications for castor oil are still useful today, and it turns out that there are lots of other ways that you can use castor oil on your body and around your home. Check out these 10 uses for castor oil!
1. Chemical-Free Cuticle Oil
Get beautiful cuticles and nails without drugstore cuticle oil, which often contains synthetic mystery ingredients. Just rub a little castor oil on your nail beds to soften cuticles and nourish your nails. To really treat yourself, massage in the castor oil, then wrap your hands and feet in warm, damp rags.
2. Oil Cleansing Method
Soap and water is a harsh way to clean the sensitive skin on your face, and many people are turning to the oil cleansing method as an alternative. That might sound crazy: isn’t washing your face supposed to be about getting oil off? But proponents of the oil cleansing method – OCM for short – swear by it! The OCM combines castor oil and olive oil to cleanse and moisturize your skin. Here’s a short explainer for how to do it, and why it works.
3. Feed Your Ferns
Isn’t is sad when ferns get droopy? Perk them up with castor oil! Combine 1 teaspoon castor oil, 1 teaspoon natural liquid soap, and 1 1/2 cups water to make a little plant pick-me-up. Just put a scant 1/4 cup of the mixture into the pot before you water it to cheer up those sad little ferns.
4. Soothe Mouth Sores
Don’t you hate it when you bite the inside of your cheek or somehow manage to get a cut on your lip inside your mouth? Castor oil can help those painful sores heal more quickly and prevent infection. The oil has antibacterial properties, and it’s safe to ingest, which makes it great for injuries in or near your mouth.
5. Itch Relief
Whether you have a healing cut or a bug bite that’s driving you bananas, applying a little castor oil can help stop the itch. Just massage a drop of oil onto the itchy area, and you should start feeling relief almost right away.
6. Get Lustrous Locks
Just a little bit of castor oil is great for conditioning your hair. You can massage a very small amount – a scant 1/8 teaspoon at most – to the ends of your hair to prevent split ends. Massage about the same amount into your scalp and let it sit for 10-15 minutes as a scalp treatment before you wash your hair.
7. Give Moles the Boot
Are moles digging up your garden? Mix 1/4 cup castor oil in a gallon of water, and pour it over that molehill to send them packing! The best part? The castor oil doesn’t hurt the moles, they just don’t like it, so this is a cruelty-free way to deter these garden pests. Boom!
8. Soothe Muscle Aches and Pains
Make a castor oil compress for sore muscles! Soak a small rag in castor oil, cover in plastic wrap, and use medical tape to secure it to the area that’s sore. You can use a heating pad to help the oil absorb quickly or leave the compress on overnight to help relieve pain.
9. Lubricating Metal
From scissors to door hinges, a little castor oil can lubricate any moving metal parts without using the usual petroleum-based lubricants. This is especially useful for tools like kitchen scissors that are going to touch food after you get them working again.
10. Get Things Moving
One of the most common uses for castor oil is helping to relieve constipation. Adults can take 2-3 teaspoons of castor oil for a mild laxative effect. If you want to give castor oil to a child, ask your pediatrician for dosage advice, since it can depend on weight and age.