Under the direction of a healthcare professional for best results, you may find that taking castor oil can provide a number of health benefits. Depending on your body, the natural oil with medicinal powers may be able to help treat various problems including constipation, eye infections, headaches and inflammation. Castor oil is also used as a helpful additive by pharmaceutical creators when producing a wide-variety of therapeutic medications.
Providing possible health benefits
Treating constipation and gastrointestinal discomfort
Castor oil can be used to treat constipation, helping improve regularity and clear out the digestive tract. If you are looking to take the oil for this purpose, a recommened one-time dose of fifteen millimeters may be prescribed before waiting a day or two and re-evaluating your situation.
When taking castor oil, remember that even this natural product can still be a strong diuretic. Accordingly, it can be dangerous to use the oil when taking other laxative picks as well, which can leave your body overly depleted of necessary nutrients including potassium.
In preparation for certain surgical procedures and examinations, castor oil is sometimes administered in order to ready the intestines and make sure excess waste is escorted out of the body. According to your situation, your medical professional may advise you to take anywhere from fifteen to sixty milliliters of the oil for this cleansing process. Likely, you will be required to ingest the dose the day before you are scheduled to undergo the exam or procedure. If the patient is under twelve years of age, the recommended dose will likely be dramatically smaller.
Providing a topical ointment for skin and eyes
Castor oil can be applied topically to the skin. Used to moisturize dry skin, soothe irritations and treat inflammation, some individuals anecdotally find relief from such a practice including those who suffer from various forms of arthritis and skin disorders. When applied to the temples, castor oil or castor seed paste may also be able to help treat migraines and tension headaches. Although some individuals use castor oil on the skin in an effort to prevent or treat cancer, there is no scientific evidence to support such claims.
While working with your doctor, you may be advised to use castor oil as an eye drop to treat certain eye infections and conditions. However, because of the sensitive nature of the eye, you should avoid self-prescribing this kind of treatment, which can be irritating and cause other problems in some cases.
Enabling pharmaceutical endeavors
As an additive so that the drugs aren’t in a pure chemical state, castor oil is featured in many different pharmaceutical products including some antifungal agents and immunosuppressive drugs. Castor oil is also used in some cancer treatments as a carrier for chemotherapy drugs, but this method can sometimes be problematic so more research is needed in order to determine what’s best in these cases.
Helping to trigger labor and start the flow of breast milk
Castor oil can stimulate the uterus and may be able to help start childbirth in full-term pregnancies. Sometimes taking a one-time dose of castor oil is recommended or taking a number of smaller-sized doses every few hours may be advised. However, the consumption of castor oil may not necessarily be safe so make sure you are working with your doctor about what’s your best course of action. Parenthetically, castor seeds have historically been used as a birth control treatment so using castor oil throughout your pregnancy is not recommended. Some new mothers ingest castor oil to help start the flow of breast milk. This practice may or may not be effective and it can also pose some risks. If you have any questions given your specific circumstances, work with your healthcare provider during pregnancy and nursing so that you provide your body and baby with the best chances of success.
Posing possible health risks and drawbacks
Causing unwanted side effects
When taking castor oil, some individuals actually experience unwanted side effects including stomach cramping, nausea, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal discomforts as well as an overall weakness. In extreme cases, dizziness, mood changes, mental confusion, muscle cramps, irregular heartbeats and allergic reactions can also result.
If you have any severe symptoms after taking castor oil, immediately call your doctor or seek other medical attention that is warranted by the urgency of your situation. As needed, contact a poison control center or visit an emergency room. Because overdoing it can be a serious problem, make sure to measure out your recommended dose of castor oil rather than just eyeball an amount before drinking some.
Introducing cross-contamination problems when prepared improperly
Castor oil is made from castor plant seeds that have been already separated from their outer covering. This outer shell actually contains a poisonous contaminant and must be discarded before the seeds are pressed in order for the castor oil to be safe. Hence, it’s important to only use castor oil that has been manufactured by a reliable brand with a transparent supply chain. Don’t drink or topically apply any castor oil that has not been prepared by such a company.
Interacting with other treatments
If you are taking any prescription medications or over-the-counter products, including herbal supplements, be cautious about adding a castor oil treatment into the mix. Castor oil, like any other powerful agent, can negatively interfere with other products that you’re on so work with your doctor when considering introducing castor oil into your healthcare routine.
Producing insufficient results
If you have a serious medical problem, simply taking castor oil may not deliver you with all of the benefits you wish to see. If you are suffering from constipation, for example, making lifestyle changes that include adjusting your diet, increasing your water intake and improving your exercise habits can also play a crucial role in bringing about the positive health results that you desire.
Remember that castor oil is sold as a dietary supplement and not an actual medication, meaning it is not reviewed by the FDA and not appropriately categorized as a product intended to prevent, cure or treat any medical conditions.