Castor oil has been used for thousands of years to treat a number of health complaints. In the 1940s, Edgar Cayce, commonly known as the "sleeping prophet," educated the public about the health benefits of castor oil, which made it a popular home remedy. Castor oil packs help increase blood circulation, improve lymphatic drainage, strengthen the immune system and release trapped toxins from the body. The oil contains rinoleic acid, an unusual fatty acid that can prevent the growth of viruses, bacteria, yeast and mold.
Can Relieve Constipation
Castor oil acts as a laxative that can improve the functioning of your intestines and help relieve constipation, according to Puristat. Castor oil stimulates the walls of your intestinal tract and prevents the absorption of liquid from your intestinal tract, helping your bowels retain more water to promote bowel movement. You can expect to have a bowel movement within about five hours after using a castor oil pack. Do not use castor oil packs if you have intestinal blockage. Consult your health care provider if your constipation persists longer than 5 days.
Female Reproductive Health
Castor oil packs can help improve the female reproductive tract and boost fertility, according to Natural Fertility Info. Regular application can help reduce or prevent ovarian cysts, uterine fibroids, blocked Fallopian tubes, polycystic ovarian syndrome, endometriosis and menstrual cramps. If you plan to get pregnant, you can use castor oil packs to help detoxify your reproductive organs before attempting conception. Do not use castor oil packs during menstruation or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Can Reduce Arthritis Symptoms
Castor oil packs may help reduce inflammation in arthritic conditions such as gout, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, according to Instah. Using castor oil packs may also improve blood circulation, thereby relieving the pain associated with arthritis. You can apply the packs to your affected joints for 30 minutes to one hour three to five times per week to help reduce inflammation, ease pain and improve joint mobility.
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Lindsay Staker is an Oriental medicine practitioner who specializes in treating infertility, women's health and pregnancy. She utilizes more than 15 years experience in the healthcare field including background as a midwife and has a master's degree in acupuncture and Oriental medicine.