Castor oil comes from a process of pressing the castor oil plant, which contains small seeds. It’s also considered a vegetable oil. While it’s great for cooking, castor oil also has a host of other, less predictable powers. If you’ve got castor oil lying around the pantry from a past recipe, check out these eight amazing ways to use castor oil.
1. Therapeutic massage
Instead of going with the traditional lavender or citrus oil, try using castor oil for a therapeutic massage. If you’re hesitant about lathering up your whole body, apply some to just your feet—which tend to get callused from heavy use and impact—and massage in circular motions. Castor oil is high in unsaturated fats, and is a natural inflammation fighter.
2. Scalp healer
If you have a dry scalp or brittle hair roots, try using a half a table spoon of castor oil (a little bit goes a long way!) at the base of your scalp for a healing treatment. It will moisturize the dry area, and you can even comb it through your hair to help the oil reach the tips. If you notice your hair gets too oily from this process, apply the castor oil to your scalp, massage, brush through if you want, and then let sit for 10 minutes before rinsing. This will give your scalp time to absorb the oils without it building up with other oils to look greasy.
3. Athlete’s foot treatment
Castor oil can be an effective treatment for fungal infections that leave the skin itchy or red. Experts recommend soaking the problem area in Epsom Salt before applying castor oil, which helps to fight the infection. Other common skin conditions that can be helped with castor oil application include warts, ringworm, and eczema.
4. Inducing labor
You have may have heard the old wives’ tale that castor oil can be used to induce labor, and it turns out that there’s some truth to this. At the same time, a woman must be at a certain stage in her pregnancy for this to happen, and it’s mostly the result of the castor oil causing contractions of the bowels. This activity can indeed stimulate labor in a woman who is already about 40 weeks along in her pregnancy.
Because castor oil has so many benefits for dry or damaged skin, it may not come as a surprise that this oil is also known for helping reduce and minimize the appearance of scars. It can be applied with a cotton swab or a Q-tip for very small marks. You can leave it on as long as you like, or rinse it off within 20 minutes of application.
Finally, when used in the inner ear, castor oil can help with ringing—also known as tinnitus. The anti-bacterial properties of castor oil help to prevent bacteria buildup in the ear, and bacteria can sometimes cause tinnitus.