We've been busy using Castor oil over the past few weeks for a variety of reasons but especially for hair loss. Hair loss can be due to natural hormonal changes such as menopause and hormone therapy, stress, fungal or viral infections, seasonal changes, anaemia, lack of protein, genetic predisposition, malabsorption or poor diet and plenty more. The reasons for hair loss are extensive and can often be multi-factorial so whilst it is always a good idea to consult your doctor or a specialist there's no harm in adopting a few natural age old remedies to help keep the hair on your head and not on the brush.
Try turning to our gentle, nourishing cold pressed organic Castor Oil.
Castor oil is a thick, sticky oil from the beans of the Castor Oil plant and has been used for centuries as a medicine and a beauty product. Use Jamaican Black or unrefined Cold Pressed Castor Oil – both seem very similar in efficacy.
The oil contains high levels of Vitamins A, E, Omegas 6 and 9 fatty acids, proteins and minerals, and is conditioning, antibacterial, anti-fungal and cleansing, and a circulatory stimulant. Furthermore, according to research by Adebayo et al in 2013, it is the uniquely high levels of Ricinoleic acid which are responsible for increasing the blood circulation to the skin or scalp and hence the potential to improve hair growth.
The recent study showed that Ricinoleic acid has the capacity to inhibit an enzyme called Prostaglandin D2. The presence of Prostaglandin D2 is believed to contribute to baldness. Ricinoleic acid is readily absorbed by the skin and has minimal adverse skin reactions, making it a great candidate for hair loss treatment as it can be used regularly with very few, if any, side affects. So if you want to grow your hair, the scientific evidence suggests Castor oil is a good bet.
How to use Castor Oil
Eyelashes and brows
Apply a small amount using a clean mascara brush to the eye lashes and eyebrows before you sleep. We found it took 2-3 weeks to get visibly longer lashes!
Castor oil by itself it a bit too thick and sticky to massage into the scalp – especially if your hair is long. Mix Castor oil with Argan, Sweet Almond or Olive oil 50:50. Apply oil to your fingertips (not palms) and start at the back of the head and massage forwards. Then smooth down the shafts of the hair. Sleep on a towel, and in the morning you will be amazed by how little oil there is on your scalp and in your hair. Wash off with a gentle natural shampoo and rinse with our apple cider vinegar in water (1 teaspoon:250ml) then in clean cool water. Once dry, put a little Argan oil and Castor oil (3:1) on your fingertips and smooth through your hair for extra shine. Once or twice a week is plenty. If you have short hair you can massage the scalp with a guasha comb to further stimulate the circulation.
These can occur anywhere, but face and neck on men, and scalp, armpits, groin and inner thighs on both sexes are the most common places. We will write a whole blog on this soon but regarding Castor oil: add 6 drops of any/combination of Lavender, Tea Tree, Rosemary and Lemon to the Castor oil. Warm the oil a little and then massage it into the desired area and leave for two hours. The oils open the pores, draw out the infected pus and cleanse the follicles of microbes. Apply once or twice a day. Clean skin with apple cider vinegar diluted in water.
Use as per folliculitis directly on to the spot.
This is another huge topic and central to our ethos so we will be writing a whole blog on this over the next couple of weeks. In the meantime Wellnessmama.com, who love oil cleansing too, have great tips and we have tweaked their suggested oil blends below to work superbly for different combinations:
- Oily Skin: 1/3 Castor oil and 2/3 Olive, Sunflower, Avocado, Coconut oil.
- Combination Skin: 1/4 Castor oil and 3/4 Olive, Sunflower, Avocado, Coconut or other oil.
- Dry Skin: All nourishing oils like Olive oil, or a very small amount of Castor oil (no more than 1/8) added to Olive, Avocado, Sesame, Coconut oil.
Apply oil to dry face and massage in gently for about two minutes. You can leave it for up to 10 minutes to get a deeper cleanse. Then use a clean muslin cloth or flannel run under the hot tap and wrung out. Lay it flat over the face and neck to get a steaming effect and then wipe the oil away. (More details and science on this in the next blog).
Castor Oil packs
There is not a huge amount of research on this but historically and anecdotally it has a huge following to relieve pain and improve lymph flow and circulation. As a herbalist I often recommend it because it’s relaxing, soothing and ensures my patients have a bit of ‘me’ time.
A piece of cloth (tea towel, sponge or kitchen roll) is soaked in Castor oil and placed on the skin for at least 15 minutes minimum to an hour with a heat source (hot water bottle) to stimulate lymph and liver function. There are no obvious negative effects apart from the oil being a bit sticky and messy and the there are many accounts of people who noticed immediate better sleep, more energy, and clearing of skin symptoms. My patients tend to use it for menstrual, gynae and digestive pain (once they have had a doctor check them over) and for folliculitis on the body. I always get them to patch test and ensure there are no contra indicated medical conditions. Not to be used when pregnant.
Many accounts online turn this practice into a castor oil extravaganza and end up with oil everywhere. I tend to use it on a small area, often with a sponge soaked in oil applied directly onto the affected area and then with a cloth over it and heat applied through this for 15 minutes initially and building up to an hour.
Have fun using Castor oil and remember – like most things – less is more and start off with conservative measures!
Adebayo,T. abd Rofiat, T., et al. Fatty Acid Composition and Physiochenical Properties of Castor Seed Obtained from Malete, Moro Local Government Area, Kwara State. Chemistry and Materials Research 3 (12): 11-13, 2013.