Castor Oil
Health Benefits

Unlock Castor Oil Benefits: Guide to Hair Growth, Pain Relief, & More!

| Modified on May 26, 2024
Castor Oil

For thousands of years, castor oil has offered numerous benefits for the hair and skin and as a topical pain reliever. This potent oil is not only easily accessible and affordable but also uncomplicated. You can enjoy the myriad benefits of castor oil without ingesting it.

Castor oil was a household essential in the past, commonly used for alleviating stomach aches or performing a "spring cleanse" to eradicate parasites. In contemporary times, its acclaim has grown for providing pain relief, reducing abnormal growths, and enhancing beauty.

This article explores the top uses of castor oil and describes the most effective methods for creating a beneficial castor oil pack.

Castor Oil and Inflammation and Pain Relief

Studies reveal that ricinoleic acid, the potent compound in castor oil, exhibits significant anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. This critical component makes castor oil a powerful ally in combating inflammation and pain.1

For over two decades, Earth Clinic readers have consistently shared their success stories, highlighting the remarkable efficacy of castor oil in alleviating pain and reducing inflammation. Explore their insights and experiences to understand castor oil's impact on your wellness journey.

What is Castor Oil?

Derived from the Ricinus communis, or castor bean, castor oil is a natural extract free from the poisonous compound ricin found in the raw bean.

The fully processed castor oil emerges as an exceptional emollient, demonstrating its utility in various applications. Its accessibility enhances its appeal, as it’s readily available in major grocery stores, pharmacies, and online platforms.

Opt for cold-pressed castor oil, free from hexane and preferably organic, for health and wellness applications. This ensures you’re harnessing castor oil's full, unadulterated benefits for your needs.

Health Benefits of Castor Oil

Castor Oil is renowned for its extensive health benefits, offering relief and aid for various conditions. Below are situations that can significantly benefit from the healing properties of castor oil:

  • Adhesions
  • Gallstones and Kidney Stones
  • Sprains and Bruises
  • Arthritis
  • Insomnia
  • Ovarian Cysts and Swollen Lymph Nodes
  • Eye Conditions: Cataracts and Stys
  • Nasal Polyps
  • Skin Conditions: Eczema, Nail Fungus, Growths, and Tumors
  • Hair and Scalp Issues: Hair Thinning
  • Skin Abnormalities: Warts, Moles, and Skin Tags
  • Insect Bites and Hemorrhoids
  • Age-Related Issues: Age Spots and Wrinkles
  • Skin Concerns: Pimples, Large Pores, Dry and Lackluster Skin, Scars

How To Make a Castor Oil Pack

A Castor Oil Pack is a popular remedy known to relieve pain, diminish cysts and growths, and act as a valuable component in a comprehensive treatment plan for kidney and gallstones. People also frequently use them over the liver as a detoxifying aid.

Castor oil packs' gentle yet potent action provides soothing relief, promotes enhanced blood circulation, boosts white blood cell production, and facilitates significant pain relief.

Supplies You'll Need:

  • 100% Cotton or Wool Cloth: Choose a larger size as you'll fold it multiple times. Sizes can range from 1 inch by 1 inch to 1 foot by 1 foot, depending on the treatment area.
  • Castor Oil
  • Plastic Wrap
  • Heat Source: hot water bottle, warm rice sock, or heating pad
  • Ace Bandage or Old Clothing: To secure the castor oil pack in place

Directions to Make a Castor Oil Pack:

  1. Fold the Cloth: Fold your cotton or wool cloth to the desired size, ensuring it is several layers thick.
  2. Prepare the Pack: Lay the folded cloth on a piece of plastic wrap.
  3. Soak the Cloth: Pour castor oil onto the fabric, allowing it to fully absorb the oil without saturating it.
  4. Position the Pack: Apply the castor oil cloth to the targeted body area.
  5. Cover with Plastic Wrap: Ensure the plastic wrap extends at least an inch beyond the cloth in all directions.
  6. Secure the Pack: Use an Ace bandage or old clothing to firmly hold the castor oil pack.
  7. Apply Heat: Position a heating pad or hot water bottle over the pack. Leave it for an hour, two, or overnight (avoid overnight use with a heating pad).
  8. Post-Use Care: After use, store the castor oil cloth in a ziplock bag for future use (up to 25-30 times). Add more castor oil as needed and replace the cloth if it gets dirty. Wash off any residual castor oil from your skin or use a baking soda solution for removal.

How to Use a Castor Oil Pack

  • Frequency of Use: Employ castor oil packs as required. Note that multiple applications might be necessary to notice significant results. For detoxification, use them four nights weekly for approximately a month.
  • For Pain Relief: Castor oil packs offer exceptional comfort and pain alleviation. Employ them overnight to diminish joint, kidney stone, gallstone, or back pain, promoting peaceful sleep.
  • For Ovarian Cysts, Fibroids, and Abdominal Adhesions: Utilize castor oil packs four nights weekly. Avoid usage during menstruation and pregnancy.

Castor Oil Massage

If you cannot do a castor oil pack, 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 often relieves 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

Utilizing castor oil can significantly boost the growth of your hair, including the hairs of your eyelashes and eyebrows. Below is a clear and simplified guide on how to effectively use castor oil for hair growth:

For Eyelashes and Eyebrows:

  1. Application Time: Nighttime, before sleep.
  2. Method: Apply a modest amount of castor oil to your eyelashes or eyebrows.
  3. Precaution: Use an old pillowcase as castor oil can leave stains.

For Scalp:

  1. Preparation:
    • Transfer castor oil into a cosmetic squeeze bottle for easy application.
  2. Application Method:
    • Directly apply the oil to your scalp.
    • Gently massage the oil into the scalp.
  3. Duration:
    • Leave the oil on for 1-2 hours or keep it overnight for better results.
  4. Washing:
    • It may require two washes to eliminate the oil from your hair.
  5. Frequency:
    • Execute this treatment 2-4 times monthly as preferred.

Note for Long Hair:

Be cautious with the quantity of castor oil used on long hair to avoid difficulties in managing and untangling the hair. Use a measured amount to avoid excessive application, ensuring your hair reaps the growth benefits without dealing with a tangled mess.

How to Use Castor Oil for Eyes

Castor oil is sometimes an ingredient in over-the-counter eye formulas. It is helpful 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 and may sting a bit at first.

Castor oil can also be applied to the eyelids instead, as it is pretty 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 eliminate 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 been 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 twice daily to reduce nasal polyp size and 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.


In sum, castor oil's multifaceted benefits are hard to overlook. From its potent anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties to its effectiveness in promoting hair growth, alleviating various pains, and enhancing skin health, castor oil is a time-tested natural remedy for many health and beauty concerns. Its ease of use, affordability, and accessibility further bolster its position as a valuable addition to your healthcare and beauty regimen.

While castor oil packs and massages showcase significant relief for various ailments, it's paramount to use cold-pressed, hexane-free, and preferably organic castor oil to reap the maximum benefits.

Continue exploring to discover more testimonials on the versatile healing capabilities of castor oil. Have you experienced the health or beauty benefits of castor oil? Please share your feedback with us!

Related Links:

Castor Oil for Cysts in Pets
Castor Oil for Gout
Castor Oil Packs for Kidney Stones

Abdominal Adhesions

2 User Reviews
5 star (2) 

Posted by Gabbie (Massachusetts) on 04/24/2022

I was having pain from what I believed to be adhesions after abdominal surgery. A knowledgeable friend advised me to simply rub organic castor oil over the places that were sore. It only took a couple of days before the pain was gone. Anytime I feel any twinges of pain there, I rub the oil on again and the pain is gone. Pretty simple and very effective!

Abdominal Adhesions
Posted by Ellie (Durham, NC)

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

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

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 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.

Replied by Lynda

Did you just put castor oil on the tooth using a cotton ball and did not swish the oil between teeth?

Replied by Alison

Hi may I ask how to use the oil to get rid of a jaw infection? Do you dab it on gums or do oil pulling with it?

(Kitchener On)

Hi Alison

Get a small cotton ball and soak it in Caster Oil and wedge it on the tooth, do this as many times as needed. Even at bedtime over night.

keep healthy


Replied by jedeyemeyend
(phoenix arizona)

How exactly did you use it to clear the infection in your jaw? just apply it topically over your jaw and swish with it?.... thanks for the extra details

Activates T Lymphocytes

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Redman (Adelaide, South Australia) on 04/10/2011

Hi, this is Dr. Red from Waterfall Gully South Australia.

You may not know that the A.R.E. of Edgar Cayce Virginia Beach did a study supervised by Dr William Magarey many years ago. They found that 'T' cell Lymphocytes accumulate in the thousands where a castor oil pack is applied. The castor oil does not osmose into the skin, it is too viscous, however, it acts as a giant ultrasound unit attracting the 'T' cell to the area which do the healing.

The A.R.E. has this on record as a double-blind study.

Hope this helps you all... Dr Red.

Replied by Marcelle
(South Australia)

That's incredible. Thank you for sharing that information.

Age Spots

2 User Reviews
5 star (2) 

Posted by Alyson (Plano, Tx, Usa) on 08/26/2009

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!!

Ankle Pain

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by HisJewel (New York) on 01/26/2024

Hello EC and Everyone,

We had a few dipping cold days and snow in New York. Well I was determined to still go out for my walk and maybe a bus ride. This is what the seniors in New York love to do, after the rush hour we are out there helping others and being young again ( some still get out before day).

Well, on the day of the first frost, my ankle got a few sharp pains for seemly no reason. And that night my ankle hurt so bad I could not get a good night sleep. The next day I put a mixture of oils on it before going out. However, the pain continued, and I had to stop walking serval times because I felt like my ankle was going to give in under me with the stabling like pains. When I got home this time, I remembered Castor oil. The Castor oil stopped the pain quickly and I got a good night's sleep. The next day I massaged in the Castor oil once again, . It's at least a week now and no more ankle pain.



1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Grace (La, Ca) on 04/28/2013

I was ill for a 15 months before they figured out I had chronic appendicitis I was soooo sick that all my glands swelled up my ND told me to start rubbing good quality castor oil on my gland I would do while I was in shower (if you do this be careful it may make the shower slippery) I spray my shower daily to break up the oil. I also used a heating pad to get the oil to penetrate deeply within a few days all my glands returned to normal and my appedix was removed a couple weeks later.

Application Tips

7 User Reviews
5 star (7) 

Posted by Cindy (Illinois, USA) on 02/23/2024 486 posts

Castor Oil Trick - UNTESTED

I don't often combine herbs or oils but someone asked about a broken bone and it got me could get comfrey tea, as in comfrey tea BAGS, soak one (or more) with castor oil, place it on the break and cover it with a piece of parchment paper (or plastic wrap or whatever one uses), and a piece of muslin and place one of those disposable handwarmers on it to warm it up. Cover it with a tube bandage or otherwise wrap it with a bit of K-tape to hold everything in place, if necessary.

And, of course, this got me to thinking about eucalyptus tea bags soaked with castor oil as a chest pack, for colds and whatnot, or any specific herbal tea as a castor oil patch over a problematic area.

I've been trying to think of some way to try herbal tea bags employed in this way...but I don't have any issues to which I can apply it, at the moment. I DID purchase some handwarmers and, of course, I have a wide variety of herbs and reusable mesh tea bags so if something comes up...I'll try it and let you know.

Application Tips
Posted by Cindy (Illinois, USA) on 02/03/2024 486 posts

Greetings! Just a tip for castor oil packs required in geometrically challenged places. You can stick a gauze pad onto a piece of "Press-n-Seal" cut a bit larger than the pad, put the castor oil on the pad, place it where it's needed, being careful not to get oil on the outside of the Press-n- Seal and tape it all down with K-Tape - I.e. kinesiology athletic tape. It sticks through thick and thin (even to the bottom of the foot and between the toes! ) is hypoallergenic and comes in lots of pretty (or macho) colors. SUPER handy for keeping things in place, on the skin.

Application Tips
Posted by Rsw (Oh) on 04/25/2017

I have used the castor oil packs occasionally, and bought my products in a pack. The material for the castor oil pack came with one side as an absorbent, cotton-type material, with an attached waterproof, plastic type backing on the other side. I cut mine with scissors to fit the area to be covered. Add the castor oil to the cotton side fairly liberally, and place that wet side against your bare skin. The attached plastic backing is facing outward. The castor oil does not turn into a paste on mine but remains an oil. Wrap plastic wrap around your body, covering the cotton and plastic pack so that the oil doesn't leak out the sides. Maybe wrap a towel or shirt over this, or an elastic bandage to keep it in place and catch any leaks. Place a heating pad over all this, and let the castor oil warm up on your skin. I would leave the heating pad on for at least a half hour or more (several hours would probably be OK). When you are finished, you can put the used castor oil cotton/plastic pad in a plastic bag and keep it in the refrigerator to use again. You might have to add a little more castor oil when you re-use it. I hope this helps. Best wishes!

Replied by Mama To Many

Dear Rsw,

Thanks for your details about the castor oil packs! I did not know that the store bought packs had the plastic built in. That is great and I am sure more tidy/handy than what I do. I will be looking in to that further!

Thanks! Always something new to learn...

~Mama to Many~

Replied by Rosie
(Hampshire, England)

Thank you.

Old post but extremely useful. I have just ordered a pack for use with castor oil.

Application Tips
Posted by Prioris (Fl, US) on 09/25/2014

I really like the idea of using a hair dryer to help castor oil absorb. This can be used on humans also.

Today I was using a hand held infrared device when I was applying castor oil on part of my abdomen. Most infrared devices are just too expensive purchase. The one I had I bought on amazon (infrarex st-302) for $20 and it works for a small area. It comes with an extra bulb. Before I bought it I wondered why it was so cheap and why the other products couldn't bring down the price so I was leery. I have had it a couple years and it's worth every penny. It gives one more options in treating various situations.

I saw a infrared device in a chiropractors office but expensive model. Instead of someone paying $50 a treatment, I had them use this cheap device themselves and they got positive results. It's a good addition to your medicine chest at very low cost.

Many people have difficult financial situations so any DIY approaches to pet care are very helpful.

Application Tips
Posted by Esprit64 (North Yarmouth, Maine Usa) on 03/24/2011

I am reading conflicting recommendations regarding castor oil and use of packs. Once a castor oil bottle is opened and first used, how long can you keep reusing the oil that you have put into your container for packs? As for the packs themselves, how many times should you use the fabric pack until discarding (I'm reading 30 times max, others write 3-6 months). Finally, once you have initially set-up your castor oil and packs for use, is there any need to continue adding castor oil for "refreshening. " At what point do you throw the oil out and begin again?

Replied by Phoenix23002
(Amelia, Va)

Hi, Esprit64... I responded to your other questions about castor oil packs above. Sorry I didn't cover everything for you.

I have used castor oil packs for many, many years. As to your question about how long you can use an opened bottle of castor oil?... til it is gone.. Lol. After I have my heating pad laid out, plastic on top of that and flannel on top of that.. I trickle more castor oil from the bottle onto my pack and turn on the pad, letting the whole pack heat up a little. Then I apply it to my tummy.. flannel pack first, then the plastic, then the heating pad.

"how many times should you use the fabric pack until discarding?" I have used mine for years. If it gets too runny/sloppy/messy, you will probably have to discard it and start over. And not because there is anything wrong with it but just because it will make a big mess and leak out everywhere.

"is there any need to continue adding castor oil for "refreshening. " At what point do you throw the oil out and begin again?" Unless you have just absolutely soaked the pack, you do need to renew/refresh the castor oil each time you use the pack. I have never thrown out any oil that I can remember, except for a bottle or two maybe some years ago. I used to buy the drugstore variety and, if it had been a while since I had used a pack and if the castor oil smell was really, really overwhelming AND if I had plenty on hand, that smelly bottle might hit the trashcan. But if you are a regular user of the packs, you will probably use up your supply on hand long before you have to worry about it getting too old to use.

One trick I use is... I try to rub the castor oil into my skin directly where I will be putting the pack. Continue to rub in the oil, letting the skin absorb as much as possible. If you rub briskly, everything gets a little warm and enhances the absorption. Then I apply heating pad/pack as usual with renewed oil on the pack also. I think it just gives you/your pack a jumpstart.

Just let me know if you have anymore questions, my friend, ok? phoenix23002

Application Tips
Posted by Maureen (Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada) on 09/12/2010

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.

Application Tips
Posted by Merilee (Guelph, Ontario, Canada) on 07/03/2009

I have a Castor Oil application idea that I would like to share:

I have suffered from pain for years - first endometriosis, and now full-blown fibromyalgia, neck (both muscle and lymph), gall, and kidney pain (which I now know all stems from Lyme infection of 15 years...). Ever since using a heating pad for the debilitating monthly cramps in my teens, I have found heat to be an aid. In addition to the over-used hot water bottle, I also use an infrared heat lamp that a Chinese Medicine Practitioner gave me, which I place over whichever organ/area I wish to treat (he uses one to increase the effectiveness of acupuncture). It's about 8-10" in diameter and has a swing-arm stand, which holds the light about 8-12" from my body, resulting in an approx. 12" treatment area.

This has been very helpful to me. Apparently, the infrared wavelength of light penetrates a couple of inches into the body, vibrating at a wavelength that resonates with fat cells (the water in them?), and can cause them to mobilize and excrete toxins (much of our toxic load is attached to fat cells, and hard to remove). It has a greater impact on my pain than the water bottle (greater muscle relaxation, I think), and I find it soothing, especially as it does not have to be particularly hot to work (it works because of its particular wavelength of light, not just the heat).

The reason for my post:

I have recently been using the lamp as a means of Castor Oil application, with the thought that it might produce deeper penetration (and much less mess) than simple Castor Oil packs. I just slap some on my skin and apply the light for 20min-1hr, then wipe/wash it off. I have nothing to compare its effectiveness to (I never tried castor oil packs after a few messy, unhelpful PMS cramp-releif attempts in my teens), but it does seem to ease my uterine and gall bladder pain, and my sore/swollen groin-area glands.

As both therapies are purported to mobilize toxins, I'd like to think they potentiate each other, and together pull out some of the stuff that is giving me trouble.

I would be interested in hearing what someone with more Castor Oil know-how thinks of my practice, and perhaps other infrared lamp owners could give it a try.