It pleases me to no end to see powerful healing plants of classical ayurveda growing happily (if decoratively) in California gardens. It gives me hope that the knowledge of our grandparents and Ayurveda can be synthesized. They all knew that the castor plant yields powerful medicine both for prevention and cure!

Castor oil is cheap and easily available, useful both internally and externally,  safe for long-term use, and safe in larger doses. Oil is the most commonly used product of the plant but the roots, leaves, and seeds are also used as medicine. If you have a plant in your yard; steam the leaves and use as a poultice on painful swollen joints.  

Castor is called Eranda in Sanskrit. One of its synonyms is Vatari or enemy of Vata. It also reduces Kapha (an unusual combination) and throws excess Pitta out. It preserves the moisture and flexibility of the body, and supports reproductive tissue, while eliminating toxins. Castor oil is considered the best medicine for Amavat -  the type of joint pain that causes swelling and inflexibility (but not redness). It is used for body aches including the cramps, back ache, and sore breasts related to menstruation, working out too much, and soreness from fevers that have been going on for a while.

Castor oil is one of the best things to use for chronic constipation.  But also useful externally for belly pain and bloating. 

castor plant illustration.jpg


  • To treat body aches and constipation internally take 1\2-1 tsp of castor oil with a 1\2 cup of hot water before bed, daily.

  • To treat body pains and belly bloating (great for colic-y bably bellies!) slather the affected area with oil, cover with plastic wrap or cloth, then apply a hot water bottle or heating pad.

  • If you have ugly dry cracked feet slather them in castor oil a few times a week (and get someone to massage your feet!)