CASTOR OIL: A PREMIUM DETOX THERAPY
Majid Ali, M.D.
Lessons Learned From Patients
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Lessons Learned From My Patients
My patients have taught me the following lessons about castor oil:
• It can be a very competent assistant to the oxygen king of human biology;
• It serves the oxygen king by supporting and stabilizing all three legs of Oxygen’s Three-Legged Throne: acid-alkali balance; oxidant-antioxidant regulation; and clotting-unclotting equilibrium; and
• It is one of the cheapest, safest, and most effective treatment options for well-informed and experienced physicians to treat all inflammatory, degenerative, and malignant disorders.
Castor oil serves the above roles by being:
• An effective cell membrane stabilizer;
• A valuable detergent for de-greasing the matrix;
• A mitochondrial cleanser; and
• An anti-inflammatory remedy par excellence.
I do not take poetic license in any of the above statements. I base my assertions on diligent and extended personal observation of the clinical uses of Castor-Cise (see below) for the following:
• Subclinical liver injury (proven by elevated liver enzyme tests); fatty change; drug-induced liver injury; hepatitis A,B, and C; early and intermediate stages of cirrhosis; cholangitis; and liver tumors (primary and metastatic liver cancers).
• Acute and chronic muscle injury and muscle spasm;
• Acute and chronic ligament and tendon injuries;
• Acute and chronic soft tissue injury;
• Acute and chronic muscle injury;
• Chronic neck and back pain;
• Chronic abdominal discomfort (under physician supervision) with: (1) constipation; (2) irritable bowel syndrome; (3) GERD [gastroesophageal reflux disorder]; (4) colon diverticuli; (5) Crohn’s colitis; (6) ulcerative colitis, (7) hemorrhoids; and (8) ileocecal valve and rectal sphincter dysfunctions;
• Chronic problems of poor circulation to limbs;
• Chronic leg swelling; and
• Chronic lymphedema, including after mastectomy for breast cancer.
The Castor Plant
The castor plant is a strong annual plant that can grow ten to twenty feet in height with full sunlight, optimal heat, and adequate moisture. It belongs to a diverse and economically important family of flowering plants, called Euphorbia Family (Euphorbiaceae). The female flower consists of a small spiny ovary and a bright red structure with feathery branches, that receives pollen from male flowers. The male flower is composed of a cluster of stamens, which literally “smoke” as they shed pollen in a gust of wind. The spiny seed pod is made up of three sections or carpels which split apart at maturity.
Castor oil is a light pale yellow oil with aroma and taste. It is obtained from the castor seed. The botanical name of castor plant is Ricinus communis, hence the name of its main fatty acid chain called ricinoleic acid.
Castor Oil Is a Triglyceride
Castor oil (also known as ricinus oil) is a triglyceride. Its glycerol is linked to ricinoleic acid (ninety percent), oleic acid, and linoleic acids. Ricinoleic acid is an 18 carbon monounsaturated fatty acid. A variety of castor oil grades are commercially available with different acid values, moisture levels, color and purities.
• Energetically, ricinoleic acid is highly unusual because of its hydroxyl functional group on the twelfth carbon.
• This functional group confers a high degree of polarity to the oil that, in turn, energizes its chemical derivatization.
• The hydroxyl group also renders ricinoleic acid much more valuable as chemical feed stocks than other oils.
• It is the only source of an 18 carbon hydroxylated fatty acid with one double bond ricinoleic acid (12 Hydroxyoleic Acid).
• It comprises approximately 90% of the fatty acid composition.
Oil uniformity and consistency are high compared with other oils.
It is nontoxic, biodegradable, and an easily renewable resource.
The hydroxyl groups also confer upon castor oil the following unique physical properties, including:
• High viscosity and specific gravity,
• Solubility in alcohols; and
• Limited solubility in aliphatic petroleum solvents
Start Low, Build Slow: A Plan for Using Castor Oil
I recognize a golden rule of health preservation and healthful aging: start low and build slow in the use of all natural measures. This rule must be heeded in the case of topical use of castor oil as described in this article. Castor oil use in our hands has been safe. The safety record of the oil has been safe in the hands of other integrative physicians as well. Still, I urge the readers to begin with a small amount of oil (one-fourth of a teaspoon) when they first apply it to their skin.
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) categorized castor oil as “generally recognized as safe and effective” (GRASE). That is not surprising since castor oil has been heavily favored for centuries in all parts of the world where castor plant grows, especially in India, China, and South America. Many people remember swallowing castor oil for its laxative effects. It gives a strong purge. I do not recommend the oil for this purpose because it does not strengthen the bowel in the long run. There are far superior ways of achieving that. In the past, it was used for induction of childbirth. Fortunately this use has been abandoned since it carries risk to both the mother and the unborn baby, including dehydration, fetal distress, increased risk of uterine rupture, unintentional prematurity of the baby, and increased pain for the mother).
Dr. Ali’s Castor-Cise
On weekend mornings, I warm two tablespoons of castor oil in a large spoon by flame. I apply the oil liberally to: (1) the liver area (the rib cage on the right side, extending from mid-line in front to the mid-line behind); (2) the front and sides of the abdomen; (3) shoulders; (4) neck; and (5) face (a light smear). For the next two hours, I stay in a limbic state, a meditative state free of the noise of a cluttered mind (see The Cortical Monkey and Healing  for detailed description).12 I do not use the telephone, nor watch TV. Low volume music is acceptable at times. I prepare my breakfast as described above (usually 60 ounces of my protein shake) and take nutrient and herbal supplements with eight to ten ounces of the shake at a time. Intermittently, I engage in limbic exercise (gentle, non-competitive, meditative), described in my book The Ghoraa and Limbic Exercise).13 I favor rebounding (jumping jacks on a rug wearing thick socks), rug-running, and light weights (ten to fifteen pounds). There is no sweating, huffing, or puffing, nor any sore muscles (crucial for a 67-year-old with much work to do). In between segments of exercise, I practice Limbic Breathing (see my column in July 2007 issue of the Letter 14) and try to be in a spiritual state (see my book The Crab, Oxygen, and Cancer 15 (for practical suggestions). I often work on my computer as well during castor-Cise. Writing comes easier in the limbic state. At the end, I shave, shower, and get ready for the rest of my day. My shower begins with hot water and end with a sudden burst of cold water. My sense is that the clinical benefits of the ancient practice of sauna, followed by jumping in very cold water, accrue from improvement of autonomic equilibrium. Each castor period is free of the demands of a cluttered mind.
Castor-Walk, Castor Jog, Castor Gym, and Castor Sleep
There is a difference between teachers and gurus. True teachers want their students to reach beyond their scope. Gurus do not want their disciples to escape their servitude. In the spirit of teachers, I ask my patients first to learn correctly Dr. Ali’s Castor-Cise and then innovate and modify the basic Castor-Cise routine to enhance its value for themselves personally. For example, one can apply castor oil before going for a walk (“Castor-Walk”), a jog (“Castor-Jog”), a work-out in a gym (“Castor-Gym”), a quarrel witha friend (“Castor-Quarrel”), a movie (“Castor Movie”), or laundry (“Castor-laundry”).Many of my patients sleep with castor oil application (“Castor-Sleep”). Other patients do one, two, three, or all components of Castor-Cise, which can be done on any given day, depending upon availability of time, mood, or inclination. Again, the crucial point is that each castor period is free of the demands of a cluttered mind.
Turkey Red Oil (also called sulfonated castor oil, sulfated castor oil) is the only oil that completely disperses in water. It is produced by adding sulfuric acid to pure castor oil. This process makes it convenient to make bath oil products. Indeed, it was the first synthetic detergent to be produced for common use after ordinary soap. Its uses include preparation of lubricants, softeners, and dyeing assistants. Some other industrial applications are in the manufacture hydraulic and brake fluids, paints, coatings, inks, cold resistant plastics, waxes and polishes, nylon, perfumes, and pharmaceutical.
Ricin is a toxic protein present in castor seeds. It is removed by cold pressing and filtration. The castor plant contains many allergenic elements that cause permanent nerve irritation. India, Brazil and China are the major castor-producing countries. Sometimes the workers suffer harmful work-related side effects. Such affects have triggered the quest for alternative, domestic sources for hydroxy fatty acids, including genetically modified castor plants that do not synthesize ricin. In July 2007, the comparative costs of castor oil and selected oils were as follows:
Indian castor oil US $0.41 per pound
US soybean, sunflower and canola oil US $0.14 per pound)
Castor Oil and Lipid Signaling
Lipids preserve the fluidity and functionality of biomembranes. Integrative clinicians rationally use this as the scientific basis and/or rationale of oil therapies in the treatment of fibromyalgia (FM) and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). However, there is much more to lipid biology. Lipids are information molecules that serve crucial roles in cellular signaling systems.Lipid signals integrate energetic, metabolic, detoxification, inflammatory, regenerative, and death pathways.1-5 Specifically, the importance of lipid signals in the pathogenesis of a cluster of chronic metabolic disorders, fatty liver change, insulin resistance, hyperinsulinism, prediabetes, syndrome X, the so-called metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis, and others-is well documented.6-9 The consequences of disruption of lipid signals in the pathogenesis of FM, CFS, and related energy deficit disorders are seldom, if ever, duly considered.
In previous publications,11-26 I described the scientific principles of integrative medicine. Specifically, I presented the basis of the applications and clinical benefits of Castor-Cise in the treatment of diverse acute, subacute, and chronic disorders.27-30 Castor-Cise is an integrated program of liver and bowel detox with topical castor oil application, oral detox with vigorous sesame oil rinses, and limbic (meditative) exercise.13 Patients commonly report strong benefits of Castor-Cise and often ask how castor oil works. My colleagues wonder how the castor oil applied to the skin overlying the liver crosses the barrier imposed by the pleural sac to reach the liver.
On a Light Note
• Castor was one of the twin sons of supergod Zeus and his mistress Leda.
• Castor is the generic name of the North American beaver (Castor canadensis).
• It is one of the brightest double stars in the constellation Gemini.
• The name castor was given to the seed of the castor plant by English traders who confused it with the oil of another shrub, Vitex agnus castus.
• Castor beans are really not beans (neither are coffee beans botanically beans).
• A castor bean seed looks somewhat like mottled body of the western wood tick (Dermacentor occidentalis). The resemblance becomes more impressive when the tick’s head engorges with blood.
1. Furuhashi1 M, Tuncman G, Görgün CZ, et a;l. Treatment of diabetes and atherosclerosis by inhibiting fatty acid binding protein aP2. Nature. 2007;447:959 965.
2. Hotamisligil GS. Inflammation and metabolic disorders. Nature. 2006;444: 860 867
3. Hotamisligil, G. S. Inflammation and metabolic disorders. Nature. 2006;444, 860 867.
4. Hertzel, A. V. & Bernlohr, D. A. The mammalian fatty acid binding protein multigene family: molecular and genetic insights into function. Trends Endocrinol. Metab. 2000;11:175, 180.
5 Furuhashi M, Tuncman G, Görgün CZ, et al. Treatment of diabetes and atherosclerosis by inhibiting fatty acid binding protein aP2. Nature. 2007;447, 959 965.
6. Hunt, C. R., Ro, J. H., Dobson, D. E., Min, H. Y. & Spiegelman, B. M. Adipocyte P2 gene: developmental expression and homology of 5′ flanking sequences among fat cell specific genes. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA. 1986;83, 3786, 3790.
7. Melki, S. A. & Abumrad, N. A. Expression of the adipocyte fatty acid binding protein in streptozotocin diabetes: effects of insulin deficiency and supplementation. J. Lipid Res.1993; 34, 15271534.
8. Distel, R. J., Robinson, G. S. & Spiegelman, B. M. Fatty acid regulation of gene expression. Transcriptional and post transcriptional mechanisms. J. Biol. Chem. 267, 59375941 (1992)
9. Hotamisligil, G. S. et al. Uncoupling of obesity from insulin resistance through a targeted mutation in aP2, the adipocyte fatty acid binding protein. Science 274, 13771379 (1996)
10 Kuniaki Haradaa, Osamu Honmoua, c, d, , , He Liua, ET AL. Magnetic resonance lactate and lipid signals in rat brain after middle cerebral artery occlusion model. brainres.2006.11.075
11. Ali M. Oxygen, Inflammation, and Castor-Cise Liver Detox. Townsend Letter-The examiner of Alternative Medicine. 2007; in press
12. Ali M. The Cortical Monkey and Healing. Bloomfield, New Jersey. Life Span Books 1991.
13. Ali M: The Ghoraa and Limbic Exercise. Denville, New Jersey, Life Span Books 1993.
14. Ali M. Limbic breathing. Townsend Letter-The examiner of Alternative Medicine. 2007; 288:160-166.
15. Ali M. The Crab, Oxygen and Cancer. Volume I: The Dysox Model of Cancer. 2007. New York, Canary 21 Press.
16. Ali M. The Principles and Practice of Integrative Medicine Volume III: Darwin, Dysoxygenosis, and Oxystatic Therapies. 2005. New York. Canary 21 Press. 2nd Edition
17. Ali M. The Principles and Practice of Integrative Medicine Volume XI: Darwin, Dysoxygenosis, and Disease. 3rd. Ed. 2007. New York. Canary 21 Press.
18. Ali M. Oxygen governs the inflammatory response and adjudicates the man-microbe conflicts. Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients. 2005;262:98-103.
19. Ali M.The Dysox Model of Diabetes and De-Diabetization Potential. Townsend Letter-The examiner of Alternative Medicine. 2007; 286:137-145.
20. Ali M. Oxygen and Aging. (Ist ed.) New York, Canary 21 Press. Aging Healthfully Book 2000.
21. Ali M. The Cancerization/De-Cancerization Dynamics of the Dysox Model of cancer. Cancer, Oxygen, and pantotropha Part II Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients. 2005;264:122-131.
22. Ali M. The Unifying Dysox Model of Hormone Disorders and Receptor Restoration Therapy. Townsend Letter-The examiner of Alternative Medicine. 2007; 291:145-151.
23. Ali M. Limbic breathing. Townsend Letter-The examiner of Alternative Medicine. 2007; 288:160-166.
24. Ali M. Hurt human habitat and energy deficitHealing Through Restoration of Krebs cycle chemistry. Townsend Letter-The examiner of Alternative Medicine. 2006; 279:112-115.
25. Ali M. Darwin’s Drones, Dysox, and Diabetes. New York, Canary 21 Press. Aging Healthfully Book 2008.
26. Ali M. Hydrogen peroxide therapies: Recent Insights into oxystatic and antimicrobial actions. Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients. 2004, 255;140-143.
27. Ali M. Oxygen, Inflammation, and Castor-Cise Liver Detox. Hormones. Townsend Letter-The examiner of Alternative Medicine. 2007. http://www.townsendletter.com.
28. Ali M. Restoration of lipid signaling in fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. Townsend Letter-The examiner of Alternative Medicine. 2008; 295/6. 131-7.
29. Ali M. The ADHD Autism Oxygen Connection: The Larger Head Smaller Brain Scenario. Townsend Letter-The examiner of Alternative Medicine. April, 2008. http://www.townsendletter.com.
30. Ali M. Dysox and Climatic Chaos – The primacy of oxygen issues over carbon issues. Townsend Letter-The examiner of Alternative Medicine. 2008 (in press)
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