Castor Oil

Aside from standard medical treatments is the use of complementary and alternative treatments.  Alternative methods are those aside from standard procedures, some of which have undergone clinical trials, while others remain under research and development. One of these alternative treatments, castor oil, a product derived from ricinus communis, is an herb more commonly used as a laxative when consumed orally. Castor oil is promoted by naturopathic practitioners as an immune system booster, increasing a person’s white blood cell count. Others have attributed castor oil to the dissolution of cysts, warts, and tumors. The treatments of lymphoma, bacterial diseases, arthritis, eye irritations, even Parkinson disease have also been promoted. Although scientific evidence does not support that the topical use of castor oil is effective in preventing or treating cancer, it is used by some oncologists as a mode of delivering chemotherapy.

Castor Oil and Mesothelioma

Naturopathic practitioners treat their patients by rubbing the castor oil into their body in a massage session. The sites of application are generally skin cancer tumors or the skin above internal tumors. In some cases, small amounts of castor oil are swallowed for their supposed medicinal value. Although not clinically proven to treat or cure cancer, there is a chance castor oil can play a role in the treatment of mesothelioma. Mesothelioma occurs when asbestos particles are inhaled and absorbed by the lungs and abdomen. Castor oil has been in use since first being recorded by ancient Egyptians for medicinal purposes. Today most of the plants used in castor oil production are grown in India and Brazil. A specially formulated type of castor oil called Cremophor EL can be used as a vehicle for paclitaxel, a drug used to treat metastatic breast cancer and other tumors. The Cremophor EL can have side effects usually involving allergic reactions depending on the patient. The American Cancer Society warns against handling castor beans as they are poisonous and can be harmful if chewed or swallowed. Those diagnosed with mesothelioma are often done so in the cancer’s later stages due to the disease’s long latency period. For these reasons, among others, chemotherapy, depending on the patient’s particular stage, is a common mainstream method of treatment. The use of castor oil as an agent for chemotherapy drugs could directly benefit those diagnosed with mesothelioma. Reference: American Cancer Society