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Blog Weight Loss Castor Oil Weight Loss: Does It Work?

Castor Oil Weight Loss: Does It Work?

Castor oil is derived from the seeds of the Ricinus communis plant. These seeds contain a substance called ricinoleic acid which is thought to have laxative and other medicinal properties. For centuries, people have used castor oil as a remedy for constipation and other digestive issues (14).

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More recently, some questions have been raised about whether castor oil can also help with weight loss. Some wonder whether rubbing castor oil on the belly to lose weight is effective, while others wonder whether consuming it can be helpful. 

There is no scientific evidence to support the claim that castor oil can help with weight loss. 

Let’s take a closer look at the research on castor oil and weight loss, as well as how to use it safely.

Can Castor Oil Help Lose Weight?

There is no scientific evidence to support the claim that castor oil can help with weight loss. However, it has a reputation as a weight loss aid because of its effect as a natural laxative.

When you take castor oil, it travels to your intestines and works as a laxative by stimulating your digestive system, causing you to have a bowel movement (4). This can lead to weight loss in two ways. 

First, when you have a bowel movement, you eliminate waste from your body. This includes food that has not been digested as well as water and electrolytes (10). 

Second, having a bowel movement can also lead to a temporary reduction in calorie intake if you’re not able to eat as much due to feeling nauseous or having diarrhea. 

It’s important to note that the weight loss associated with castor oil is not from any magical fat-burning properties. Instead, it’s simply because you’re eliminating waste and water from your body. Even if you are taking in fewer calories, that won’t have an impact on your body fat over such a short period of time.

Castor oil is also sometimes promoted as a way to lose weight by rubbing it on your skin. There also is no scientific evidence to support this claim.

Read More: CBD Oil For Weight Loss: Fact Or Fiction? Science Explains

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How To Use Castor Oil

If you’re considering using castor oil for any reason, it’s important to be aware of the risks.

First, castor oil is a laxative (4). This means it can cause diarrhea, abdominal cramping, and nausea (2). These side effects can be more severe if you take too much castor oil or if you have a sensitivity to the substance. 

It’s also important to note that castor oil, like other vegetable oils, is high in calories. This means that if you’re trying to lose weight, castor oil is probably not a good choice because it will likely offset any calorie deficit you’ve created.

Lastly, there is always the risk of developing an adverse reaction to any new substance you put into your body. Some symptoms of an allergic reaction to castor oil include hives, difficulty breathing, and swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat (9). 

If you experience any of these symptoms, stop using castor oil and see a doctor immediately. 

If you still decide to use castor oil, be sure to talk to your doctor first. They can help you determine if it’s safe for you and how much you should take. They can also offer guidance on how to use it safely. 

It’s also important to understand that using any type of laxative for weight loss is not an effective or sustainable strategy.

What Can Help You Lose Weight?

Most people find it challenging to lose weight and then keep it off. They may start out motivated but quickly become discouraged when they don’t see results. 

Losing weight requires a lot of commitment and hard work, but it’s possible. Working with a registered dietitian or certified diabetes educator can help you develop a plan that’s right for you.

There are proven strategies that can help. These include:

Being In A Calorie Deficit

To lose weight, you need to create a calorie deficit (8). This means you’re taking in fewer calories than you’re burning each day. 

You can do this by reducing your calorie intake and/or increasing your physical activity level. Even a small reduction in calories can help you lose weight over time. 

To know how many calories you need, track your food intake for a few days to get an estimate. Once you know how many calories you’re eating, you can start to make adjustments. 

You may also want to use a food tracking app or website to track your progress until you get accustomed to estimating portion sizes and calorie content.

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castor oil weight loss

Increasing Physical Activity

Physical activity is an important part of losing weight and keeping it off. It helps you burn more calories and build muscle mass, which can help you burn even more calories at rest (19). 

Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity each week. You can also do a combination of both (11). 

In addition to aerobic activity, add in two or more days of strength training per week. This can help you build muscle, which will help you burn more calories and lose weight in the long run (17). 

Making Other Lifestyle Changes

In addition to diet and exercise, there are other lifestyle changes you can make to support your weight loss goals. 

Sleep is an important factor in weight loss. Research has shown that people who sleep less than seven hours per night are more likely to be overweight or obese (15). 

If you’re struggling to get enough sleep, talk to your doctor about ways to improve your sleep habits. 

Managing stress is also important. When you’re stressed, your body produces a hormone called cortisol. This hormone can lead to weight gain, and it can make it more difficult to lose weight (18). 

There are many different ways to manage stress. Some people find that exercise, meditation, and journaling help them cope with stress. 

Making these lifestyle changes can help you lose weight and keep it off over the long term.

Read More: Bergamot Essential Oil Benefits And Side Effects

castor oil weight loss

Other Benefits Of Castor Oil

Castor oil may not be a weight loss solution, but it does offer other possible benefits. These include:

Wound Healing

Castor oil has been used as a healing remedy for centuries. It is believed to have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and analgesic properties (16). These properties may make it an ideal treatment for wounds.

Castor oil might help to speed up the healing process by reducing inflammation and pain (7). It might also help prevent infection by killing bacteria and fungi.

To use castor oil for healing:

  • Apply it to the affected area. You can do this with a clean cloth or cotton swab. 
  • Leave the oil on for at least 30 minutes, then wash it off with warm water. 
  • Repeat this process 2-3 times per day until the wound has healed.

Castor oil is a safe and effective way to treat wounds. However, it should not be used on open wounds that are bleeding. Always discuss with your doctor first, and ensure that you’re using pure, unrefined castor oil for the best results. You can find this type of oil at most health food stores.

Increasing Hair Luster

Castor oil is a popular home remedy for many scalp and hair issues. While the oil hasn’t been shown to improve hair growth or treat hair loss, it may add luster to your hair (13).

Luster is defined as the natural shininess or gloss of hair. Many factors can affect the luster of your hair, including genetics, diet, health conditions, medications, and treatments. 

The ricinoleic acid in castor oil can act as a humectant. Humectants are substances that help to keep hair hydrated by drawing moisture from the environment (12). This may help to keep your hair soft, lustrous, and less prone to breakage.

Ricinoleic acid is thought to have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antifungal properties (5). These properties may help to treat these various scalp conditions and promote healthy hair growth.

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Pain Relief

Castor oil has been used as a natural remedy for pain relief for centuries. The oil is thought to work by inhibiting the production of inflammatory chemicals in the body (3) (7). 

The topical application of castor oil is thought to be an effective way to relieve pain. One study found that castor oil capsules were effective in reducing inflammation and pain in patients with arthritis (6). 

Always talk to your doctor before trying castor oil as a home remedy. To use castor oil for topical pain relief:

  • Apply it to the affected area. You can do this with a clean cloth or cotton swab. 
  • Leave the oil on for at least 30 minutes, then wash it off with warm water. 
  • Repeat this process 2-3 times per day until you find relief. 

Acne Relief

Acne is caused by a build-up of oil, bacteria, and dead skin cells in the pores. This can lead to inflammation, redness, and swelling (1).

Castor oil is believed to have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that may help to treat acne (5). The ricinoleic acid in the oil is thought to act as an antibacterial agent, while the fatty acids may help to reduce inflammation (7).

Before using castor oil directly on your face, it’s important to do a patch test. To do this, apply a small amount of oil to a different area of skin, such as your forearm. Wait 24 hours to see if you have any adverse reactions. 

If you don’t experience any redness, swelling, or irritation, you can proceed with using the oil on your face. 

To use castor oil for acne:

  • Apply it after cleansing your face. 
  • Simply massage a small amount of oil into your skin, then leave it on for 30 minutes to an hour. 
  • Wash it off with warm water and pat your skin dry. 
  • Repeat this process 2-3 times per week.

castor oil weight loss

The Bottom Line

There is no scientific evidence to support the claim that castor oil can help with weight loss. However, it has a reputation as a weight loss aid because it acts as a natural laxative. Such weight loss is temporary and is due to the elimination of waste and water from your body. Laxatives are not an effective or sustainable weight loss strategy.

If you’re considering using castor oil for any reason, be aware of the risks. These include side effects such as diarrhea and abdominal cramping, as well as the fact that it’s high in calories. Talk to your doctor first to determine if it’s safe for you.

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DISCLAIMER:

This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

SOURCES:

  1. Acne: Overview (2013, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  2. A Comparison of the Efficacy, Adverse Effects, and Patient Compliance of the Sena-Graph®Syrup and Castor Oil Regimens for Bowel Preparation (2010, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  3. Anti-inflammatory effects of a novel ricinoleic acid poloxamer gel system for transdermal delivery (2015, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  4. Castor oil induces laxation and uterus contraction via ricinoleic acid activating prostaglandin EP3 receptors (2012, pnas.org)
  5. Characterization and evaluation of antibacterial and antiproliferative activities of crude protein extracts isolated from the seed of Ricinus communis in Bangladesh (2016, biomedcentral.com)
  6. Comparative clinical trial of castor oil and diclofenac sodium in patients with osteoarthritis (2019, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  7. Effect of ricinoleic acid in acute and subchronic experimental models of inflammation (2000, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov) 
  8. Fat loss depends on energy deficit only, independently of the method for weight loss (2007, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  9. Final Report on the Safety Assessment of Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Glyceryl Ricinoleate, Glyceryl Ricinoleate SE, Ricinoleic Acid, Potassium Ricinoleate, Sodium Ricinoleate, Zinc Ricinoleate, Cetyl Ricinoleate, Ethyl Ricinoleate, Glycol Ricinoleate, Isopropyl Ricinoleate, Methyl Ricinoleate, and Octyldodecyl Ricinoleate1 (2007, journals.sagepub.com)
  10. Frequent Bowel Movements: Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment (2018, clevelandclinic.org)
  11. How much physical activity do adults need? (2022, cdc.gov)
  12. Humectant – an overview (n.d., sciencedirect.com)
  13. Optical properties of hair: effect of treatments on luster as quantified by image analysis (2003, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  14. Review – Ricinus cmmunis – Ethnomedicinal uses and pharmacological activities (2017, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  15. Sleep deprivation and obesity in adults: a brief narrative review (2018, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  16. Stimulation of Wound Healing by Electroactive, Antibacterial, and Antioxidant Polyurethane/Siloxane Dressing Membranes: In Vitro and in Vivo Evaluations (2017, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  17. Strength and Resistance Training Exercise | American Heart Association (2018, heart.org)
  18. Stress and Obesity: Are There More Susceptible Individuals? (2018, link.springer.com)
  19. The Role of Exercise and Physical Activity in Weight Loss and Maintenance (2013, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)

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