Of Note

That Old-Fashioned Remedy: Castor Oil

Most of you are familiar with my article on dry eyes and castor oil. (If you’re not, talk to me!) You know I’m a castor oil fan and always have a bottle on hand at home. But last month, Susan Feist, LMT of Concord Sports and Therapeutic Massage was in our store and spoke about her experience with castor oil.

Well, she got me all excited again. I can’t wait to try castor oil for more things!

Here’s hoping I can fire you up too. It’s empowering to know we can take care of some of life’s inconveniences by ourselves. It’s rewarding when we can go low-tech, and it’s good to realize that we can save the health care system money at the same time. 

What is castor oil? The dictionary says it’s “an oil extracted from the seeds of the castor-oil plant, used pharmaceutically as a laxative and skin softener and industrially as a lubricant.” Which means you have to buy a castor oil that is excellent quality such as the Home Health or Heritage brands, because their oils are NOT extracted with hexane. You don’t want an industrial lubricant on your body!

Note that like with many plants, the same plant has both healing properties and substances in the plant that are toxic. Castor oil (good quality) is the opposite of toxic, it’s nutritive. I’ve been using nightly drops in my eyes now for 8 years!

I’m not going to talk about castor oil packs here because those are a subject unto themselves for softening, loosening and breaking down anything that is hard or impacted in the body. A good description of how to use those can be found in many books. One such book is Burke Lennihan’s Your Natural Medicine Cabinet. Burke is a local author who has a practice in Cambridge.

Back to castor oil. Got moles, warts, skin tags, age spots? The remedy I’m going to try is mixing castor oil with baking soda in a little dish (toothpaste-like consistency) and applying to areas. Everyone says this works best if you cover the affected area with a bandaid and make the “solution” fresh every 48 hours. Hard to put a bandaid on a collar bone, which is one area I’ll treat. Hard to bandaid hands. But I’ll be rubbing the solution in twice daily. Will keep you posted if you do the same with me! (Plantar warts? Rub castor oil on warts on soles of feet every night until warts are history.)

Why do castor oil and baking soda work on skin issues like moles, warts and skin tags? I read that the chemical reaction created from the acid-draining baking soda and castor oil dry out the skin in the area, and keep it from getting oxygen and rehydrating. The pundits say that this eventually kills the mole, wart or skin tag. Eventually (not sure how long) they are supposed to simply "fall away." In the meantime, the skin becomes nice and soft, so what’s the harm in trying?

Earaches?  A solution is said to be the following: Put castor oil on a piece of cotton. Sprinkle the oiled cotton with black pepper and apply to the outside of the aching ear. On the ear outside, not in ear.

Tinnitus, ringing in ears? If not caused by medication, and doc doesn’t know what it’s from, try 3-4 drops a day in each ear. To get full benefit from castor oil, plug ear with cotton once you’ve put in drops. Said to take 3 months. Better in a month.

Got an infection? Have a cut? Try dousing liberally with castor oil a couple of times a day. This treatment is said to clear infections in about three days. (This worked on a gash on my leg recently.)

Wrinkles around eyes? Castor oil lightly massaged into delicate areas around eyes will indeed minimize wrinkles (I’ve found this to be true, a side benefit to putting castor oil in my eyes each night.)

If you are feeling a little oily, wash castor oil off with baking soda and warm water. Dot’s all for now!

Debra Stark