Incredible Benefits and Uses of Castor Oil

| Modified: Mar 30, 2021
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Castor Oil Remedy on Earth Clinic.

Castor oil has been used for thousands of years for its benefits to hair and skin, and its use as a topical pain reliever.

Castor oil is simple to use, easy to acquire, and inexpensive. The best news is that you don't have to use it internally to reap its rewards.

Many decades ago, castor oil would have been a staple in homes and used to treat stomach aches or for a "spring cleanse" to eliminate parasites. In more recent years, it is recognized for its pain-relieving, abnormal growth reducing, and beauty-enhancing properties.

This articles explores the most popular uses of castor oil and how to effectively make a castor oil pack.

Castor Oil and Inflammation

Research has shown that ricinoleic acid, the active component found in castor oil, has remarkable anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. (1)

Earth Clinic readers have written in about castor oil's incredible effect on easing pain and inflammation for over 15 years.

What is Castor Oil?

Castor oil comes from the castor bean, Ricinus communis.

The ricin in the castor bean is quite poisonous, but there is no ricin in castor oil once processed from the bean.

The resulting oil, once processed, is a fantastic emollient. This alone makes it useful in many ways.

It is easy to find in larger grocery stores, pharmacies, and online. When using castor oil for health purposes, choose a cold-pressed, hexane-free brand, and preferable organic.

Health Benefits of Castor Oil

Conditions that benefit from Castor Oil include:

  • Adhesions
  • Gallstones
  • Kidney Stones
  • Sprains
  • Bruises
  • Arthritis
  • Insomnia
  • Ovarian Cysts
  • Swollen Lymph Nodes
  • Cataracts
  • Stys
  • Nasal Polyps
  • Eczema
  • Nail Fungus
  • Growths
  • Tumors
  • Hair Thinning
  • Warts
  • Moles
  • Skin Tags
  • Insect Bites
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Age Spots
  • Wrinkles
  • Pimples
  • Large Pores
  • Dry Skin
  • Lackluster Skin
  • Scars

How To Make a Castor Oil Pack

A castor oil pack helps relieve pain, reduce cysts, growths, and as part of a complete treatment plan for kidney stones and gall stones. Castor oil packs are sometimes used over the liver for detox purposes.

Castor oil packs are soothing and promote blood flow, white blood cell production, and pain relief.


To make a castor oil pack, gather the following supplies:

  1. 100% cotton or wool cloth. You will fold this several times, so start with a fabric much larger than the area that is to be covered. Castor oil packs can be small, even 1 inch by 1 inch, or quite large – even 1 foot by 1 foot. It depends on what is being treated. An insect bite might need a small pack. A large pack is useful for back pain.
  2. Castor oil
  3. Plastic wrap
  4. Heat source (hot water bottle, warm rice sock, heating pad)
  5. Ace bandage or clothing that will keep the castor oil pack in place


  1. Fold the cotton or wool cloth into the size desired. Ideally, the resulting folded material will be several layers thick.
  2. Place the folded cloth onto a piece of plastic wrap.
  3. Pour some castor oil onto the fabric and allow it to soak in. Ideally, the whole material will be soaked (but not drenched) with castor oil. It should not be dripping but adequately moist.
  4. Place the castor oil cloth against the area of the body to be treated.
  5. Place plastic wrap over the fabric. Ideally, it will go at least an inch beyond the material in all directions.
  6. Use an ace bandage to keep the castor oil pack in place. You can use old clothing instead. For example, if a castor oil pack is used on the lower leg, you could use a long sock to hold it in place. Likewise, you could use a sock with the foot cut out to hold a pack onto an elbow.
  7. Now apply the heat source (heating pad or hot water bottle). A castor oil pack can be applied for an hour or two or overnight. (Do not use a heating pad overnight.)
  8. After using the pack, fold up the castor oil cloth and place it into a ziplock bag. You can reuse it as many as 25-30 times. More castor oil may need to be added every few days. Replace the cloth with a fresh one if it becomes soiled.
  9. The skin will have some remaining castor oil, which can be rubbed into the skin or washed off in the shower. You can use a baking soda solution to remove the oil residue as well. (1 teaspoon baking soda in 1 cup of water.)

How to Use a Castor Oil Pack

Castor oil packs can be used as needed. It may take several applications to achieve results. For detox purposes, castor oil packs may be used four nights a week for a month or so.

Castor oil packs are wonderfully soothing when used for pain. When utilized overnight, they bring pain relief and promote sleep. You can use them for joint pain, kidney stone pain, gall stone pain, back pain, etc.

Castor Oil Packs for Ovarian Cysts, Fibroids, and Abdominal Adhesions

For reducing ovarian cysts, fibroid tumors, or abdominal adhesions, use a castor oil packs four nights a week.

Note: Women should not use them during their menstrual cycle. They are also not recommended during pregnancy.

Castor Oil Massage

If you cannot do a castor oil pack, you can also massage the castor oil into the skin where you have pain. While this may not be as strong a delivery method as a castor oil pack, it will often bring relief to sprains, strains, and sore joints.

It is also helpful when used topically for hemorrhoids, skin tags, or moles.

How to Use Castor Oil for Hair Growth

Castor oil can be applied to the scalp, eyebrows, or eyelashes to promote hair growth.

For eyelashes and eyebrows, it is easiest to apply a small amount of oil to the lashes or brows at night and sleep with an old pillowcase on the pillow since the oil can stain.

To promote hair growth, apply castor oil to the scalp. You can accomplish this most efficiently when the castor oil is first put into a cosmetic squeeze bottle with a tip. Then the oil can be applied directly to the scalp and gently massaged in. Cover the hair with a towel and leave the oil in for an hour or two, or overnight. It may take two shampooings to remove the castor oil altogether. This treatment can be done 2-4 times a month as desired.

If the hair is long, it is essential not to overdo the amount of castor oil in the hair as it can result in a tangled mess!

How to Use Castor Oil for Eyes

Castor oil is sometimes an ingredient in over the counter eye formulas. It is useful for dry eyes and has been reported to reduce cataracts and eye floaters. Drop one drop of castor oil into each eye at bedtime. It will leave the eyes blurry for a while and may sting a bit at first.

Castor oil can also be applied to the eyelids instead, as it is quite penetrating. Applying castor oil to the eyelids is also a remedy to promote sleep.

How to Use Castor Oil for Beautiful Skin

Castor oil may seem too greasy to use on the face. However, it feels quite luxurious on the face and is used to prevent or decrease wrinkles, reduce puffiness, fade scars, and get rid of pimples. Many find it leaves the face positively glowing when used as part of a bedtime ritual.

Use fingers to gently massage a few drops of castor oil to the face at bedtime. Use a tissue to blot off any excess. By morning the oil has usually wholly absorbed into the skin. Castor oil on the face the night before can also make makeup application smooth in the morning and makeup removal quick at the end of the day.

Castor oil massaged into the feet at bedtime can benefit athlete's foot and calloused feet. Corns may also be reduced or eliminated with this nightly routine.

How to Use Castor Oil for Swollen Lymph Nodes

To reduce the pain and inflammation of swollen lymph nodes and promote lymph flow, massage castor oil onto the skin wherever the nodes are inflamed. You can do this twice daily or as needed.

How to Use Castor Oil for Nasal Polyps

Castor oil can be dripped into the nostrils a couple of times a day to reduce nasal polyp size and any irritation.

Castor Oil for Pets

Castor oil benefits four-legged family members as well. Pet owners use it to reduce cysts and tumors.

As with humans, it is applied to the eyes for cataracts. For more information, please visit Earth Clinic's page: Castor Oil for Dogs and Cats.

Continue reading to see how our readers have used castor oil to heal various conditions. Have you used castor oil for health or beauty? Please send us some feedback!

Related Links:

Castor Oil
Castor Oil
Castor Oil Packs
Sinus Polyps

Abdominal Adhesions

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Ellie (Durham, NC)
5 out of 5 stars

I had major abdominal surgery and a few years later knew I had adhesions as a result. I used the packs for an hour each day for about 2 months. One day I actually felt it break loose! It felt like being hit with a huge rubber band and was painful for only a few seconds before feeling better. No longer did I have the painful pulling sensation in my side. My doctor is from India and agreed with me that the castor oil packs dissolved the scar tissue. This saved me from more surgery, that would have created more scar tissue, and on and on and on.

Abscessed Tooth

2 User Reviews
5 star (2) 

Posted by Julie (In) on 10/25/2018
5 out of 5 stars

I had swollen gums and a slight tooth ache, so I put some castor oil in my mouth, and swished with it for about 15 minutes then spit it out, then brushed my teeth with toothpaste and baking soda (did this 2x a day). I noticed the pain slowly went away, and within 2-3 days, the pain wasn't there anymore! My teeth looked whiter too! The castor oil must've cleared up the infection (?)

Abscessed Tooth
Posted by William (Plains, Mt.) on 03/18/2015
5 out of 5 stars

Castor oil is the best oil ever. I personally have used it for an abscess in my teeth, more than once. I cured an infection in my jaw bone from the abscessed tooth. This was examined by a dentist who wanted to pull the tooth. I did not want the tooth pulled so I used castor oil on my gums and on the tooth. It cured the infection and took the pain away within an hour. I still have the tooth many years later.

Replied by Marcig

Makes me wonder if I could brush my teeth with it?

Replied by Sandy

I will be grateful if you could please tell me how did you apply castor oil for your gum/tooth pain.

Replied by Steve

Question for Post from William in Plains, Mt:

Exactly how did you use the castor oil on your gums and teeth? I have a similar problem.


Age Spots

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Alyson (Plano, Tx, Usa) on 08/26/2009
5 out of 5 stars

I'm in my late 30s and a few years ago, after my first pregnancy, I started get a number of small sun/age spots/freckles on my face. About a year ago, I got two on the top of my checkbones under my eyes, where my glasses rest. They are big in comparison and made me look much older than I am (at least to me!) Ive been very hesitant to use any medical or chemical procedures - prescriptions, laser treatments, etc. I read here and on one other site about caster oil and thought Id give it a shot before spending way too much money on natural beauty products on the market (one was for over $40, vs the $5 castor oil!). Its been a little over a week now, dipping a cotton swab into the oil and applying twice daily after washing my face. I rub it in a little and wait about 10 minutes before applying daily or nighttime lotion. The spots have lightened DRAMATICALLY! I barely have to use any coverup on them when before I had to cake it on. I cant wait to see what they look like in a month! My skin where i have used it is looking much better, too, although I cant quite pinpoint why - smaller pores, tighter, fewer lines...not sure yet. Ive started using it on my "worry crease" between my eyebrows and have also noticed a difference!

Thanks, Alyson

Replied by Alyson
(Plano, Tx Usa)

Update to my post: The dark age spots I started using the castor oil on are almost completely gone! My skin looks so much better - my mother and father when I showed them thought I had been wearing extra makeup! Such a god-send - thank you for the tip!!


Alyson, that's fantastic news! How long did it take to fade away?

Application Tips

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Maureen (Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada) on 09/12/2010
5 out of 5 stars

Castor Oil Use during Work-Out

A few months ago I decided to experiment and apply Castor Oil to my face, neck, torso and legs before starting my work-out. I figured since I sweat profusely the oil would absorb into the skin as the pores opened up. I find that it does completely absorb into the skin with the exception of my legs. They feel tacky since they do not sweat as much as the rest of my body. I do not use a towel as I would normally do to dry my face and neck as I begin to drip, instead I rub my hand over the area as little as possible but as needed because I do not want to rub off the oil. Clothing will get stained slightly but tends to come out in the wash because it is watered down with sweat. To be safe, do not use "good" clothing. I work-out (jog) at home not outside. Getting greased up to go outside may not be a good idea although by the time you are finished there is no grease to be seen. So start making your work-out do double duty with the use of Castor Oil or any other oil for that matter! I have not noticed any benefits I just do it because the oil is good for the body in general. Maureen

Replied by Miriam
(Miami, Fla)

Castor oil... I use packs and use it on eyelashes small amounts here and there but one time thought more is better and applied liberally over face torso and ended up with an allergic reaction itchy rash all over. I still use just liver packs and a little on face just not total body lotion.


4 User Reviews
5 star (4) 

Posted by Charlotte (Texas) on 08/11/2017
5 out of 5 stars

My castor oil pack for knee osteoarthritis consists of a cotton cloth saturated with castor oil, Saran Wrap to cover it, and an Ace Bandage to cover all that. It's not too messy, and works well with a heating pad applied, or just to sleep with alone overnight.

Posted by Char (Texas) on 07/10/2017
5 out of 5 stars

Castor oil packs on painful arthritic knee really helps reduce pain when used overnight while sleeping. Are there any adverse side effects from this? Thanks!

Replied by Mama To Many

Dear Char,

The only side effects I can think of would be that it is kind of messy! And ladies should not use abdominal castor oil packs during menstruation because they increase blood flow.

Thanks for sharing your success story. I love castor oil for lots of things - knee pain included!

~Mama to Many~

Replied by Sandy

Hello Mama to Many, (Good Samaritan)

I have a cataract and tried castor oil but not much of use. Can you please suggest some alternate home remedy for my cataract. I am not able to drive specially in the night time. Also I tried taking castor oil internally, it cleaned my bowels three to four times in one day, but I noticed that my gums in upper jaw near my front teeth are swelling and having irritation. Is that the side effect?

Replied by Sandy

Dear Mama to Many,

Also please let me know whether the castor oil is good for dry skin. My skin is super dry and face always looked dull and tired. and because of dry skin my face is wrinkled and look very old,

Another problem for my dropping skin on face is my jaw bones have become week and I am some loose tooth. Do you know any home remedy to make my jaw bones stronger? You are my saviour on this site.

Replied by Mama To Many

Dear Sandy,

Carrot juice taken daily over a a long period of time may be helpful to your eyes. It cured a friend of mine of an "incurable" eye disease!

Regarding castor oil, yes, I love it for dry skin. You have to gently massage it into the skin. I do this sometimes at night and then by morning it is all absorbed.

Regarding the concern about your jaw bone and tooth problems, could you remind me what you are currently doing? Supplements? Diet? Medications?

I don't think castor oil would have that negative effect on the inside of your mouth, but since everyone is different, I wouldn't rule it out entirely.

~Mama to Many~


Dear Mama to Many,

I have been taking care of just almost every day or at least 3 times a week, for the past 4/5 years. I just stopped last year, because there were lots of guests in the house and there was no time for myself. My tooth became wiggly last summer and I got it fixed by a dentist in India. He pressed it down and put some adhesive kind of thing and now it still firm. But moment he fixed it I noticed that my eyesight in one eye became very weak.i read somewhere that there's a connection between each eye and corresponding body organ to that. And because of my eye problem I'm not able to search on the website what is that connection between teeth and body organs. Until two months ago I was taking vitamin D3 alpha lipoic acid, coq10, magnesium calcium and ashvagandha. Recently I stopped everything and taking only coq10 and ALA. Massaing my gums with G32 tablet. This is my routine now. Sometime I rince my mouth with pinch of Alum and a pinch of salt in warm water. That gives lot of releif to my aching gums and teeth.

Replied by Mama To Many

Dear Sandy,

Some things I might try would be gentle oil pulling with sesame oil - it seems to be especially indicated for teeth problems.

If you have not tried Black Walnut tincture, it is something to try to remineralize teeth. We use 1 dropperful in a Tablespoon of water and swish for 1 minute and then swallow. We do this twice a day. We have healed cavities with this.

Bone broth is supposed to help with healing bones and also the gut, which may improve absorption of nutrients.

Comfrey is an herb I use for its cell regeneration properties. If you would be able to grow a plant you would have an endless supply of this, at least in the summer months. I use it daily. Comfrey's other name is "knit bone" because it heals bones and joints.

Some use cod liver oil, internally to benefit from the vitamin A and D. Perhaps the vitamin A would also benefit the eye issue you have been having.

If you could get some black walnut powder, this can be added to homemade tooth powder. My husband uses this when his teeth feel sensitive and it usually helps right away.

I hope you are able to try some things and that they help you a lot!

~Mama to Many~

Replied by Brent
(Spartanburg S.C.)

@Sandy from IL: I've read that L Carnosine eye drops will get rid of cataracts. Check Amazon or ebay.

Posted by Littlewing (Boston) on 07/28/2016
5 out of 5 stars

Castor Oil for arthritis is terrific. Yesterday my hand was "achin' like a toothache" (as my dear mother used to say) all day. I tried ibuprofen, some ointment I had (stuck at work) – nothing. When I arrived home I took out my trusty castor oil, just enough so I could rub my hands together for a few minutes (it's not watery at all) and voila! – not 30 minutes later the ache was all gone and still feels good this morning. Love it!

Posted by Carolyn (Inverness, FL) on 02/27/2007
5 out of 5 stars

Castor oil packs driven in with heat. Arthritic condition (back out). Will cure various problems. Famous Edgar Cayce cure. Look at Una da Gato a Peruvian rain forest herb -- other name Cats Claw. Also for arthritis and other ailments, Edgar Cayce said 'Castor oil will leave the body in better condition than it found it.

Beautiful Skin

12 User Reviews
5 star (12) 

Posted by Linda (St Amans De Pellagal, France) on 11/08/2016
5 out of 5 stars

I have been using castor oil mixed half and half with coconut oil as a moisturizer for a couple of months now. My skin looks and feels great and I really feel I look a hundred times better than I have in years. And even more wonderful is that not only have the bags under my eyes gone, my eyelids are not sagging any more - at one time I could actually see them drooping from the inside.

Replied by Phoenix

Thank you sooooo much for sharing this! So appreciated. I will use it for sure! :)

Beautiful Skin
Posted by Judy (N/york) on 07/30/2013

I like all I had been learning, I have just started using the Castor Oil in face before I go to bed 2times and have noticed a change already. Am gonna go ahead & use it on my legs. Thanks & keep up the good work you are doing.

Beautiful Skin
Posted by Patti (Seattle, Wa) on 10/19/2011
5 out of 5 stars

I am 69 and just started using castor oil nightly. My skin has never felt this good. I am so amazed! Why spend money on expensive cosmetics when this works wonders. I add a little sweet almond oil to thin the castor oil a bit.

Beautiful Skin
Posted by Pam (Groveland, Fl) on 09/17/2011
5 out of 5 stars

Castile soap is an awesome face and body wash! Among other uses for it! It acts as a natural degreaser, without drying out, then I put castor oil as a bedtime moisterizer while my face is still moist with water for easy application. Yes I do have a fresher look in the morning and also have noticed the little fine lines that started appearing by my eyes have disappeared! I feel so wrong if I miss a day without my castor oil. you'll learn to love its thick viscosity.

Beautiful Skin
Posted by Len (Seattle, Wa) on 06/10/2011
5 out of 5 stars

I used to use proactive years ago and I didn't like how it seemed to bleach all my pillow cases. If it was doing that to my pillows, what was it doing to my skin? I now have a very simple skin regimine: I cleanse my face at night with grapefruit seed extract (I wet my fingers a little, put 4-5 drops of GSE on my fingers, rub it on my face and rinse. I started doing that because I was diagnosed with perioral dermatitis and GSE not only took care of that, it's taken care of my acne problem as well. )

After cleansing, I use my homemade lotion of aloe vera gel, vegetable glycerin, shea butter and lavender oil.

Before going to bed, I apply castor oil around my eyes and on my forehead. When I wake in the morning, my skin is glowing. I don't even usually wash my face in the morning (though I used to be adamant about it) because I don't feel like I need to; it feels very clean when I wake up. I do get the occasional zit here and there but it is nothing like it used to be. Hope that helps!

Beautiful Skin
Posted by Tricia (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada ) on 10/21/2010
5 out of 5 stars

After reading many articles on the wonders of castor oil, I have started using castor oil (neat) to spread on my face. My goal is to improve my sun damaged skin (large brown spots and red around the nose area). I am also acne prone although it's been much better than when I was a teenager. My skin is so greasy you could fry an egg with the amount of oil that comes off it by the end of the day. I have been using Proactiv for years and it works for the acne but leaves my skin dry and oily at the same time!

Anyway, in only three days, the castor oil has already smoothed out my skin, made it LESS oily and seems to have dissolved the flat skin tags that I had on my cheeks near my nose. After cleansing (still with my Proactiv cleanser) and toning with alcohol-free witch hazel, I put the castor oil on my cheekbones (where the brown spots are), around my nose and on my chin. I massage it in for 5 minutes to work it in, then pat the excess off with a Kleenex. I do this in the morning too and wait 10 minutes before putting on makeup on my face. My pressed powder seems to glide on now. The makeup stays on my face ALL day with only one touch up necessary in 10 hours! My skin looks AIRBRUSHED! This is only after three days!! I'll be trying the Oil Cleansing Method next. I want to give up using commercial cleansers altogether.

Replied by Risa
(San Francisco, Ca, Usa)

Hi Tricia,
Congratulations, and thank you for letting us know how the castor oil has improved your skin. I have a question regarding the usage of castor oil on the face. I have read that castor oil promotes hair growth. So doesn't castor oil when applied on face promote facial hair growth? What was your experience?

Replied by Brooke
(Montgomery, Tx, Usa)

I have been using Castor oil on my face for 20 years and have never had a problem with facial hair growing.

Replied by Molly
(Tucson, Az)

I have also used Castor Oil on my face with good results. No facial hair growth but my eyelashes are thicker!