What is castor oil good for?

Updated July 19, 2017

Castor oil has been used in many different ways for thousands of years. Castor oil is basically well known for helping people seek comfort in reducing constipation. But castor oil has many other uses, such as containing a poison in the residue left over by this bean-producing plant that can be used as a powerful chemical weapon. Castor oil is used as a skin lotion, as a hair conditioner, and for medicinal purposes, and so much more.


Castor oil comes from the bean of the castor oil plant that is native to Africa. Today though, the castor oil plant is grown all over the world to make use of its lubricating properties. The seeds of the castor oil plant also is known as Ricinus, and the seeds are often called castor beans. The oil is very versatile and is used not only for aiding people with constipation, but also in the production of plastics, soaps, textiles, inks, cosmetics, and dyes.


Our grandmothers knew a thing or two about how to treat our ailments. Many grandmothers and mothers back in the 1940s and 1950s kept castor oil in the medicine cabinet to treat occasional constipation. Science backs up our intelligent mothers and grandmothers; according to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, castor oil does act as a lubricant laxative. Castor oil, it seems, encourages bowel movements by coating the bowel and the stool mass with a waterproof film. This keep moisture in the stool and helps the stool stay soft, thus making it easier to pass.

Other Uses

According to Reader's, castor oil has many other uses besides acting as a colon cleanser. Reader's Digest says that castor oil can soften our nails and cuticles, or be used for giving a soothing massage. Castor oil soothes our tired eyes and lubricates kitchen scissors.


According to Reader's Digest, castor oil gets rid of those pesky moles that dig holes in the lawn and flowerbeds. Castor oil does not kill the moles, however; it gets them to move out of town and take up residence elsewhere. Just mix a half-cup of castor oil with two gallons of water. Then pour the water down the mole holes until they are drenched.


Due to castor oil's lubricating properties, it can smooth and soften the skin. It can also, according to Reader's Digest, condition the hair to a healthy, beautiful shine. Mix two teaspoons of castor oil with one teaspoon of glycerine, and then one egg white. Massage the ingredients into the hair. Wait for several minutes, then rinse it out. The hair will be silky smooth.


Castor oil may also have been used as a poisonous agent in war times. Considering that this is a military secret, we only know that during the 1940s, the U.S. military experimented with using ricin as a warfare agent. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has this secretive information. Ricin, which is a poisonous byproduct of castor beans, is found naturally in castor beans. Ricin is made from the castor bean and is found only in small amounts in the beans.

Other Uses

According to Gabriel Cousens, M. D., castor oil can do just about everything, including boost the immune system. He also says that castor oil can be used as a skin emollient and a skin softener. He says that this oil can clear warts off the body, help women with the pain of childbirth, and help people who have eczema and psoriasis. These results have not been scientifically proven.

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