Castor Oil is a vegetable oil derived from the seed of the castor plant. The castor plant is indigenous of East Africa but can be found growing in warm tropical regions throughout the world.
The use of Castor Oil to relieve constipation can be traced back to Ancient Egyptian times. In America the use of Castor Oil dates back to the days of the pioneers. Traveling medicine men peddled a combination of Castor Oil with alcohol to treat everything from constipation to heartburn.
Today Castor Oil is still internally used as a stimulant laxative for chronic constipation. Externally it can be used for various skin irritations and industrially it is used in everything from paints to lubricants.
Castor Oil Usage:
Castor Oil can be used in many different applications;
- Internally as a stimulant laxative to relieve constipation.
- Internally to cleanse the intestines for a medical procedure.
- Externally to treat skin corns.
- Externally to treat skin conditions such as abscesses, bruises, sunburn, dermatitis, ring worm, and open sores.
- As a medicine pack to treat menstrual cramping and fibroid tumors.
- As a medicine pack to treat digestive tract problems, hemorrhoids, breast pain, gallstones and wounds.
- Industrially in the productions of plastics, textiles, inks, soaps, paints, polishes, cosmetics, and lubricants.
- Industrially in motor oil as a lubricant.
Medicinal Uses For Castor Oil
Castor Oil is most well-known for its ability to act as a stimulant laxative to ease constipation. The components in Castor Oil first act to stimulate the walls of both the small and large intestines. It is this purgative action of the colon walls which work to move impacted fecal matter through and relieve symptoms associated with constipation.
Castor Oil also has the ability to prevent the absorption of liquids from the intestinal tract. The helps the bowel retain more moisture, allowing for easier passage of fecal matter.
What makes Castor Oil different from most other stimulant laxatives is its ability to affect both the entire length of the bowel. Instead of just emptying just the lower bowel or the large intestines; Castor Oil empties both the small and large intestine.
It is important to note that because of this ability after using Castor Oil a person may not have another bowel movement for 2–3 days.
After ingesting Castor Oil you can expect results in about five hours time.
When using Castor Oil internally you should follow the directions of either your doctor or follow the directions on the bottle. If your constipation does not clear up with the use of Castor Oil then your doctor should be contacted.
In addition to its value as a laxative Castor Oil can also be used externally to help treat various skin irritations. Simply apply a small amount of Castor Oil once or twice daily to the affected area. After application cover the area with a small gauze pad to allow proper absorption and you should notice a softening and clearing of the skin.
Lastly you can create Castor Oil packs to help relieve various digestive and menstrual ailments.
To create a pack soak pieces of cotton, un-dy ed wool, or cotton flannel in 4–6 ounces of Castor Oil. Place the pack on the affected area (abdomen for menstrual ailments and digestive ailments, on the breast for breast pain and on a hemorrhoid or exposed wound) and apply heat with a heating pad, water bottle, or sitz bath. Leave the pack on the affected area for an hour’s time. When you are done you want to wash the area with a solution of 2 tsp. of baking soda to 1 qt. of water.
Castor Oil Side Effects
Castor Oil doesn’t come without side effects. The more serious side effects that should be immediately reported to your physician include:
- Skin rash
- Muscle cramps
- Irregular heartbeat
- Weakness or tiredness
The less serious side effects that don’t need immediate attentio, but should be reported to your physician if they don’t go away include:
Castor Oil should not be used if you think you may be experiencing the following conditions:
- Intestinal blockage
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea or vomiting
- Inflamed bowel
- Fecal Impaction
- Pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or nursing
Castor Oil is a stimulant laxative which is okay to use as a temporary solution for relief of symptoms associated with constipation. However, repeated frequent use of enemas can cause damage.
Long term use of stimulant laxatives can cause chronic diarrhea which can lead to low potassium levels and electrolyte imbalances. These imbalances often times lead to kidney problems.
Repeated uses of any type of stimulant laxatives to combat constipation can make the problem worse in the long run. These types of laxatives only temporarily stimulate the colon walls and do not strengthen the colon. If used over long periods of time they can actually weaken the colon muscles. When those muscles are weak they lack the peristalsis action necessary to keep fecal matter through your colon.
Unless instructed by your doctor Castor Oil should not be used for more than 5 consecutive days. If you are not finding relief from your symptoms or your constipation persists your doctor should be consulted.
Constipation is something the medical community does not focus much attention on. This is partly because the long-term solution is within your reach, and doesn’t require the help of your physician. It just takes time and effort.
Because of the way constipation makes you feel, it’s probably difficult to imagine being able to work up the energy to focus on solving your own problem. But if your want real, long-term relief, and wish to live a life full of energy and vitality – free of constipation and the woes that come with it – it’s up to you to tweak your lifestyle in order to achieve success.
Take charge of your own health and implement what has been effectively relieving constipation for thousands of years…in fact; change your lifestyle to reflect a time long before constipation even existed!
Learn more about the six steps to relieving constipation.