There’s a reason why some old remedies have staying power – some of them are beneficial. The medicinal use of castor oil, for example, goes back to the ancient Egyptians and in modern times it has been used externally by many cultures for healing everything from burns, cuts and abrasions to muscle pains and inflammation. There are even claims that it can help relieve sciatica. It is not, however, recommended for internal use.
Extracted from the seeds of the Ricinus communis plant, castor oil is native to Africa and India. It is not only inexpensive, a bottle of castor oil will last you a long time. You’ll find it at most health food stores and if you buy some wool flannel you can make yourself a castor oil pack to help soothe sore joints or muscles.
- Coat the affected area with castor oil.
- Cover that same area loosely with some plastic wrap or a piece of wool flannel.
- Wrap an ace bandage or towel around the plastic wrap.
- Sleep that way over night. Your body heat will do the rest.
- You may also want to apply an external heat source on top of the pack such as a hot water bottle or heating pad.
Personally I’ve found castor oil to be effective in treating my Achilles tendonitis and heel bursitis. An orthopedic surgeon wanted to operate on my foot because of all the problems I was having. I even scheduled the surgery, but regular applications of castor oil in addition to laser therapy have gradually helped reduce inflammation and pain in my foot. I recently cancelled my surgery and have continued to experience improvement in my symptoms.