Benefits of Castor Oil

Castor oil, derived from the seeds of the castor plant (Ricinus communis), has been used for centuries for various medicinal and cosmetic purposes. Its use goes back to the most ancient of times, back to the 16th century BC[i]. It contains a unique composition of fatty acids and other compounds that contribute to its numerous benefits. Here are some of the key benefits of castor oil:
50 Castor Oil Secrets That Only Your Grandmother Knew

  1. Skin Moisturization: Castor oil is rich in fatty acids, particularly ricinoleic acid, which has moisturizing properties. Applying castor oil to the skin helps to hydrate and soften dry, rough areas[ii]. It is often used as a natural emollient, providing relief to conditions like dry skin[iii].
  2. Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Ricinoleic acid, a major component of castor oil, has anti-inflammatory properties. This makes castor oil beneficial for reducing inflammation associated with conditions like arthritis and other inflammatory disorders. Applying castor oil topically to affected joints may help alleviate pain and discomfort[iv].
  3. Anti-Viral Properties: Show to act against common viral infections[v]
  4. Wound Healing: Castor oil has been traditionally used for wound healing due to its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. It helps protect wounds from infection and promotes the regeneration of skin tissue[vi].
  5. Laxative Effects: When taken orally, castor oil has a well-known laxative effect. It works by promoting intestinal contractions, helping to alleviate constipation. However, its use as a laxative should be approached with caution and under the guidance of a healthcare professional, as excessive consumption can lead to dehydration and other complications[vii].
  6. Antimicrobial Properties: Castor oil exhibits antimicrobial properties that can help combat bacteria and fungi. This makes it useful for treating skin infections, fungal conditions like athlete’s foot, and other microbial-related issues[viii].
  7. Pain Relief: The anti-inflammatory properties of castor oil, along with its ability to improve circulation, make it beneficial for relieving joint and muscle pain. Massaging castor oil onto sore or achy areas can provide relief and promote relaxation[ix].
  8. Cleansing and Detoxification: Castor oil packs, evidence that castor oil packs may have a positive effect on normalizing liver enzymes and cholesterol levels[x]. The packs are often placed on the abdomen and covered with a cloth, providing a warm compress that may aid in the removal of toxins.
  9. Antioxidant Properties: Castor oil contains antioxidants that can help neutralize free radicals, protecting the skin from oxidative stress. This may contribute to anti-aging effects and overall skin health.

While castor oil offers numerous benefits, it’s essential to use it with caution and in moderation. As with any natural remedy, individual responses may vary, and it’s advisable to perform a patch test before widespread use. If you have specific health concerns or conditions, it’s recommended to consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating castor oil into your routine, especially when using it internally.


[i] Gaginella TS and Phillips SF. Ricinoleic acid: current view of an ancient oil. Am J Dig Dis. 1975; 20: 1171-7.
[ii] Goyal A, Sharma A, Kaur J, Kumari S, Garg M, Sindhu RK, Rahman MH, Akhtar MF, Tagde P, Najda A, Banach-Albińska B, Masternak K, Alanazi IS, Mohamed HRH, El-Kott AF, Shah M, Germoush MO, Al-Malky HS, Abukhuwayjah SH, Altyar AE, Bungau SG, Abdel-Daim MM. Bioactive-Based Cosmeceuticals: An Update on Emerging Trends. Molecules. 2022 Jan 27;27(3):828. doi: 10.3390/molecules27030828. PMID: 35164093; PMCID: PMC8837976.
[iv] Vieira C, Fetzer S, Sauer SK, Evangelista S, Averbeck B, Kress M, Reeh PW, Cirillo R, Lippi A, Maggi CA, Manzini S. Pro- and anti-inflammatory actions of ricinoleic acid: similarities and differences with capsaicin. Naunyn Schmiedebergs Arch Pharmacol. 2001 Aug;364(2):87-95. doi: 10.1007/s002100100427. PMID: 11534859.
[v] Elkousy RH, Said ZNA, Abd El-Baseer MA, Abu El Wafa SA. Antiviral activity of castor oil plant (Ricinus communis) leaf extracts. J Ethnopharmacol. 2021 May 10;271:113878. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2021.113878. Epub 2021 Jan 27. PMID: 33515683.
[vii] Tunaru S, Althoff TF, Nüsing RM, Diener M, Offermanns S. Castor oil induces laxation and uterus contraction via ricinoleic acid activating prostaglandin EP3 receptors. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Jun 5;109(23):9179-84. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1201627109. Epub 2012 May 21. PMID: 22615395; PMCID: PMC3384204.
[viii] Sandford EC, Muntz A, Craig JP. Therapeutic potential of castor oil in managing blepharitis, meibomian gland dysfunction and dry eye. Clin Exp Optom. 2021 Apr;104(3):315-322. doi: 10.1111/cxo.13148. Epub 2021 Mar 10. PMID: 33037703.
[ix] Vieira C, Evangelista S, Cirillo R, Lippi A, Maggi CA, Manzini S. Effect of ricinoleic acid in acute and subchronic experimental models of inflammation. Mediators Inflamm. 2000;9(5):223-8. doi: 10.1080/09629350020025737. PMID: 11200362; PMCID: PMC1781768.
[x] Kennedy D.,Keaton D., Evidence for the Topical Application of Castor Oil INTJNM, March 13, 2012 · Volume 5