One of the major reasons castor oil has strong immune-enhancing effects is because it supports the body’s lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is found throughout the whole body and is essentially the drainage network in the body.The lymphatic fluid removes excess fluids and waste materials from our cells. A small study found that adults who wore castor oil packs had increased lymphocytes compared with patients who used placebo packs. Lymphocytes are the body’s main immune cells and defend the body against foreign substances, such as bacteria, viruses, and damaged cells that can threaten its optimal function.
As mentioned above, castor oil supports the lymphatic system. Once the lymphatic fluid has removed excess fluids and waste materials from our cells, it sends it back into the bloodstream to be cleared by the kidneys and liver. The liver is the main cleansing organ in the body. By putting the castor oil pack over the liver area (on the right-hand side of the body, under the ribcage) you may help support the liver to detoxify. Castor oil packs have also shown to increase levels of glutathione – a cleansing compound that helps to release the build-up of toxins in your body.
A healthy lymphatic system and proper blood flow go hand in hand to keep blood and lymphatic fluid levels balanced. When the lymphatic system becomes sluggish, it’s much more likely someone will develop circulatory problems such as water retention or oedema. The lymphatic system affects the health of various organs, including the heart, lungs, and the brain. Therefore, castor oil has an impact on our circulatory system, and offers a boost to major organs.
Castor oil is crammed full of ricinoleic acid, a fatty acid, which has the same chemical structure as the body’s natural anti-inflammatory prostaglandin. Applied topically, using a castor oil pack, it can provide significant relief for period pain, back and joint pain, as well as inflammatory diseases such as psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis. For the most effective results, use a castor oil pack in combination with a hot water bottle or heat pad.
Castor oil has been used for centuries to treat constipation and bloating. The ricinoleic acid binds to receptors on the smooth muscle cells of the intestinal wall and causes them to contract and push the waste through the intestines, resulting in a bowel movement, less gut inflammation and less bloating.
Because castor oil increases circulation while also providing intense moisture, it’s no wonder that it’s hailed as a wonder treatment for hair and scalp. It has been known to promote hair growth - leaving your mane thicker, stronger and shinier and due to it’s moisturising properties, it’s also a miracle treatment for those who suffer from dandruff. Castor oil can also be carefully applied to the eyebrows and eyelashes.
Castor oil helps heal wounds by stimulating the growth of new tissue, reducing dryness and preventing the build-up of dead skin cells.
Due to its antibacterial properties, castor oil can be used as a moisturiser as well as an anti-inflammatory treatment for acne-prone skin. For dry, flaky and itchy skin, apply directly to problem areas like knees, heels and elbows and see results in no time!
Alison Leighton, Nutritional Therapist, Colon Hydrotherapy practitioner, and the founder of ‘Castorvida’