Ever felt that agonizing pain in your joints that seem to radiate down your body, leaving you in a helpless state? If you have been diagnosed with arthritis, then instead of rushing for a pain killer, grab a bottle of castor oil and massages it gently on the affected areas to relief swelling, stiffness and inflammation of the joints associated with arthritis.
Read on to know what properties of castor oil are beneficial for treating arthritis and the different ways of utilizing its benefits.
Beneficial Properties of Castor Oil for Treating Arthritis
Initially brought to fame by Edgar Cayce in the 20th century, castor oil, derived from the beans or seeds of castor oil plant (Ricinus communis) is being used for treating arthritic pains, since the ancient Egyptian era.
Anti-Inflammatory and Analgesic Effect
Castor oil exhibits strong pain-killing abilities due to its high ricinoleic acid content, a triglyceride known for its anti-inflammatory effects, thus making it an excellent massage oil for relieving inflammation of arthritic joints. Its healing action has been primarily attributed to its ability to reduce chronic inflammation of the joints, which is responsible for the permanent destruction and deformity of arthritic joints.
It is also responsible for strengthening the immune system and protecting the tissues and cartilage supporting the joints from progressive damage and degeneration. It provides an analgesic effect similar to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s) like aspirin, ibuprofen, etc., by preventing the joint lining from growing and spreading into places where it does not belong, which can harm the healthy bones and ligaments surrounding the joints and in turn lead to arthritic joint pain.
Increase in Blood Circulation
Castor oil has a very low molecular mass, which enables it to penetrate deep within the skin and improve blood circulation. This property of castor oil aids in recruiting many anti-inflammatory agents that are naturally found in the blood stream to the site of inflammation thus, relieving the stiffness and swelling of arthritic joints.
Exposure to environmental toxins and stress can lead to the accumulation of free radicals in the body that over a period of time can destroy tissues leading to degenerative diseases like arthritis. Castor oil exhibits potential anti-oxidant activity that enables the body to fight against these harmful oxygen free radicals that promote inflammation of arthritic joints.
Removing oxidative stress has been proven to be one of the most effective ways of addressing chronic pain associated with arthritis. In fact, a study published in Archives of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery has shown a significant reduction in the intensity of pain when castor oil was used instead of ultrasound jelly during extracorporeal shockwave therapy.
Detoxification of the Liver
Castor oil serves as a liver cleansing supplement, stimulating the liver, which is our body’s detoxifying engine to navigate and prevent the build-up of toxins in the bloodstream, thus keeping the arthritic pain under control. Traditionally used as a laxative, it has received a “thumps up” from Food and Drug administration (FDA) and hence, can be used for treating bowel disorders without a prescription.
It dramatically improves digestion and lubricates the bowels thus, flushing out toxins at a faster rate, which otherwise would accumulate and overburden the liver. By eliminating these toxins, it detoxifies the body thereby, alleviating the symptoms associated with arthritis.
Hence, you can make castor oil a staple item of your medicine cabinet and pack a small bottle of it, whenever you are travelling to obtain an instant relief from arthritic pain.
Ways of Exploiting the Benefits of Castor Oil
Even though, the most convenient way of using it would be to substitute your regular cooking oil with castor oil, they are many studies which support its potential toxicity when consumed orally. Nevertheless, it can be applied topically on the affected areas in different ways for mitigating joint pains.
You can gently massage the oil into the affected joints or you can soak a band-aid into the oil and apply it on the joints, when smaller areas need to be treated. However, castor oil therapy for treating arthritis has been found to be most effective when used as an oil pack, which can be made at home by following simple steps.
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Castor Oil Pack
Soak a flannel cloth or a soft woolen fabric in about 1/4th of an 8 ounce bottle of castor oil and fold it into four layers. Make sure that the oil is distributed evenly and does not drip, since castor oil can leave stubborn stains on your clothes. Place this in a microwave and heat the cloth to allow maximum absorption of the oil. Carefully keep monitoring the cloth inside the oven, so that it does not create hot pockets or catch fire, if left unattended for a long time.
Cover the cloth with a plastic sheet and place a heating pad or a hot water bottle over the sheet. Lie down and leave this pack on the inflamed and swollen joints for about 30-45 minutes or until the cloth is no longer hot. Meanwhile relax and allow the castor oil to percolate through the deeper layers of the skin so that it increases blood circulation and eliminates toxins underneath the skin, thereby tapping into the natural healing power of the body for reducing joint pains.
This saturated flannel can be stored in a zip-lock bag and reused for about six months, each time by pouring a few extra drops of castor oil on the pack. For maximum effectiveness, apply it daily or at least on four consecutive days per week for one month for treating arthritis.
Even though, castor oil is a plant based oil and is in use for centuries for the myriad of health benefits that it provides, it is only safe when used in moderation. Excessive use of castor oil can lead to side effects like skin reactions and gastrointestinal upset, making it mandatory to be used only after consulting a professional health practitioner.
When consumed orally, it is broken down into ricinoleic acid that irritates the intestinal lining thus, leading to digestive discomfort and other gastrointestinal side effects like diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and cramping. Hence, a daily dosage of half to full teaspoon of castor oil has been recommended to exploit its benefits and at the same time, stay free from its adverse effects. Also, prior to applying castor oil topically, one should conduct a “patch test” to make sure that your skin is not allergic to the oil.