Castor oil will remain on the surface of the skin, acting as a barrier. Ninety percent of fatty acids in castor oil are ricinoleic acid. Ricinoleic acid, a monounsaturated, 18-carbon fatty acid, has a hydroxyl functional group at the twelfth carbon, a very uncommon property for a biological fatty acid. This functional group causes ricinoleac acid (and castor oil) to be functionally polar, and also allows chemical derivatization that is not practical with other biological oils. Castor oil also contains 3-4% of both oleic and linoleic acids.
History of Castor Oil
In India, China and Mexico, castor oil has been used internally as a laxative and purgative. These and other cultures have consistently used castor oil topically for massage as well as for poultices. These poultices were used specifically to relieve swollen and tender joints. Edgar Cayce, famous intuitive healer, made “castor oil packs” popular in the United States by using them in a wide variety of home remedies in his practice. Although no formal research has been conducted on the healing properties of castor oil, it is still believed to be one of the most potent oils on the planet, with the unique ability to sometimes soak into the organs from a poultice and sometimes draw toxins out and into the poultice itself! Today more people are turning to alternative health methods to stay healthy and renew feelings of well being. Many modalities are available to the individual to get and stay healthy, including massage therapy, chiropractic care, (exercise) fitness clubs, vitamin supplements, colon hydrotherapy, saunas, alkaline water, and eating right and healthy for your body type. All of the “new” ideas of health find their roots in old-time remedies. The elder women of communities were the healthcare givers with their herbs, poultices, enemas, hot springs baths, steam baths, etc. They alone were responsible for healing their citizenry. We are revisiting the efficacy of these methods and have found that sometimes, less is better. The castor oil pack is one such remedy.