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How Castor Oil Benefits You And How Much You Need?

By Dr. Nikita Toshi +2 more


Castor oil has been used since ancient times as a traditional treatment for a range of health problems, today castor oil uses include dietary supplementation, industrial application and medicine production. Made from the castor bean, also called Ricinus communis, castor oil has become famous as a home remedy for many ailments. It is important to know that the outer covering of castor beans contain Ricin- a substance with poisonous qualities, hence its beans should never be consumed as a whole. Castor oil can be used for its multiple benefits.

But what are the true castor oil benefits and limitations? How much castor oil do you need? And can it really solve your medical issues? All these questions and more are answered below.

Castor Oil Uses Today

Castor oil is used in industrial processes for the production of lubricants, hydraulic fluid, soaps, paints, dyes, wax, nylon and more. Today, however, we’ll focus on the health uses of castor oil. 

  • It is used as an additive in food and as a preservative (such as for whole grains).
  • As a traditional medicine for arthritis, constipation.
  • As a traditional ingredient in skin and hair cosmetic products.

Let’s take a look at whether castor oil benefits you and what is a safe dosage. 

From what I have observed, castor bean seeds come in various types and they contain a significant amount of oil, ranging from 45% to 55%. This oil is extracted from the seeds of the plant and is known as castor oil. Castor oil has various uses, including in medicine, cosmetics, and industrial applications.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, MD

Castor Oil Benefits 

1. Castor Oil For Hair 

Castor oil benefits for hair start with its lathering abilities. It is often added to soap bars to help in the final lathering process. Castor oil may also benefit itchy, dry scalps since it helps to lock in moisture. The ricinoleic acid, along with vitamin E and fatty acids means that it can aid in keeping your scalp clean, healthy and moisturised. Although it is popular on the internet, castor oil has not been shown to have any connection with hair growth. Castor oil for hair growth is, unfortunately, an unproven myth, but there may still be hope. 

Since castor oil locks in moisture and is thought to be anti-microbial, it can improve the overall health of your scalp and hair. Healthier hair may result in better hair volume, but this may not be clearly visible in the short term. In general, castor oil application to the hair and scalp should be seen as part of healthy hair maintenance rather than a magical growth serum. To answer the question – is castor oil good for hair growth? – The answer is possibly, but not in any direct manner. 

Apart from providing sheen and moisture, castor oil is also thought to be anti-inflammatory. In some cases, it may help to curb scalp itchiness however this may not work for everyone. Inflammation reduction may also be the reason castor oil is also used traditionally for skin issues. 

2. Castor Oil Benefits For Skin

Since castor oil contains primarily fatty acids (it is 90% ricinoleic acid), it acts as a humectant. Humectants are substances that help to lock moisture and prevent water loss on the skin. This makes castor oil a good moisturiser, although people with allergies or hypersensitive skin may experience reactions. 

Additionally, some studies have shown that castor oil for face issues like stubborn acne and fungal acne may be effective. More clinical data is needed, but this benefit looks promising. Castor oil benefits for skin may also extend to an improved healing process for wounds and cuts since it is antimicrobial and also improves local blood flow. 

Castor oil (in small amounts) is generally considered safe, however, you should use it with caution, especially if you have sensitive skin. 

3. Castor Oil For Constipation

Castor oil is known for its laxative properties and benefits in dealing with constipation but is not recommended to use it as a long term laxative. Always speak with your doctor before taking castor oil for constipation. Since this involves ingesting the substance, we should quickly take a look at some potential castor oil side effects. When taken in large amounts or if you consume it too often it can result in:

  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Dehydration
  • chest pain
  • Cramps
  • Electrolyte imbalance. 

Of all castor oil benefits, its laxative uses are widely considered as proven but overdosing or allergic reaction can be a real risk. 

Based on my understanding, ricinoleic acid, the major fatty acid in castor oil, can have various effects on the gastrointestinal tract. It may inhibit the absorption of water and electrolytes, stimulate the secretion of water into the intestines, and reduce the contractile activity of the small bowel. These mechanisms may be beneficial patients with gastrointestinal conditions.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

Castor Oil Dosage

Castor oil is not regulated as a medicine, hence there are no official recommendations on the right dosage. It is best to check with your doctor on the right dose for you, since even the manufacturer’s recommendations may be too much for some people. Use extra caution if you are giving it to your kids, the dosage will be different based on their age. 

Also Read: Castor Oil in Belly Button: The Science and Benefits Explained


While the science behind castor oil is still being studied, castor oil has been shown to have some positive effects. Castor oil benefits for hair and skin issues could potentially work for many people, so give it a try (but do a patch test first). If you have existing medical conditions, you may want to avoid trying out anything new without first speaking to your primary doctor. 

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

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