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Castor oil is a wonderful remedy for a wide variety of health complaints. It's likely you've heard about castor oil for inducing labour – and that is indeed something I have experience with! Unfortunately, I drank so much of it while I was overdue with Finn that I can no longer look at castor oil without gagging. Still, it does have some great therapeutic health benefits and my personal aversion shouldn't stop you from trying it!

Castor oil comes from a plant and used to be one of my go-to items that were always by my bed and in my bathroom. I used it for everything skin- and immune-related and it can be viewed as an alternative to cortisone or antibiotic creams. The ricinoleic acid in castor oil prevents the growth of bacteria, yeast and viruses, plus it is anti-inflammatory. Here is how I used to use it:

Internal Castor Oil Benefits

I am not a huge advocate of taking castor oil. It is not something we effectively digest therefore most of the 'health benefits' are due predominantly to its laxative effect – basically your body saying, "WTF is this? I want it out and I will expel anything in its path too." If you are working with a qualified practitioner who recommends it, ensure you are consuming the cleanest brand you can find that is free of harmful pesticides and processing chemicals.

1. Has anti-inflammatory, Has anti-bacterial and antioxidant properties. Destroys mucous to relieve runny noses and congestion.
2. Can help with colon cleansing.
3. Can help with symptoms of osteoarthritis.
4. Can help to induce labour in pregnant women.
Some people really do not like drinking castor oil because of both the taste (it's quite strong and bitter) and the consistency. Thankfully, there are also a number of benefits when you use castor oil topically.

There are a lot of woowoo health practices recommended. Though some may not have the most supportive evidence – many do have centuries of tradition and come from the ancient practices of Ayurveda – I do feel there is some benefit to using castor oil. Now how much of the benefit comes from the oil and how much comes from the act of massaging warm oil on the body is a question that I can't answer. The reality is that if a treatment does no harm, and brings relief, then go forth.