Castor Oil Research

Meridian Institute News
Researching the Spirit-Mind-Body Connection, Vol. 8.  No. 1, January, 2004

     The standard (although somewhat outdated) medical role of castor oil is that of a powerful laxative administered by mouth to cleanse the intestinal tract prior to medical procedures.  Citing the severity of this application, Edgar Cayce seldom recommended the ingestion of castor oil.  However, the Cayce readings often prescribed hot abdominal castor oil packs for a variety of conditions to improve eliminations and break up abdominal adhesions.


    With the current high level of interest in transdermal patches to deliver drugs across the skin, the concept of external applications for delivery of medicinal substances is becoming widely accepted. With this in mind, Meridian Institute has begun a program to investigate how castor oil packs work and whether a more modern (i.e., less messy) mode of application is practical.


    To this end, we have sought to identify a physiologic mechanism by which externally applied castor oil has a therapeutic effect.  At a practical level, understanding how castor oil is metabolized in the body could help provide guidelines for basic parameters such as optimal heat, ideal session length, etc.


    The study that we conducted to investigate the transdermal application of castor oil produced some puzzling results, as described below.


The findings of the repeated study were essentially the same as the first study.  Castor oil taken orally significantly elevates the levels of urinary epoxydicarboxylic acids.  External application has no noticeable effects on the urinary excretion of these markers.


Considering how permeable the skin is to a wide range of substances, it would be truly amazing if no significant amounts of castor oil were absorbed after an hour and a half of contact with high heat. Yet we were unable to show this based on measuring the specific chemicals produced in the liver and excreted in the urine, which are very evident when castor oil is taken orally.