Many remember people remember being dosed with castor oil as children, sort of a cure-all for several childhood complaints, whether real or imagined. But castor oil for herpes? Can this common household remedy be used for curing the scabrous scourge of herpes?
The two familiar forms of herpes (though there are others) are oral and genital. The less severe is commonly called a coldsore or fever blister, and occurs on the lips or near the mucus membranes of the mouth. The sore is harmless, though unsightly. Medically, a coldsore is called herpes simplex, and it is caused by a virus, Herpesvirus hominis. This virus is present in many people, and causes no symptoms unless another infection, such as a common cold, is present. Then, a small blister forms, becoming ulcerous, and then scabs over. Menstruating women sometimes break out in coldsores. Genital herpes is another matter entirely. It manifests more as active blisters with burning and itching. Although both forms are contagious, genital herpes is the more severe and easily spread. So how does castor oil enter the picture?
Castor oil is the liquid pressed from the seeds of the castor-oil plant. It was used by the ancient Egyptians in embalming, and it has been used effectively as a mild laxative since antiquity. Its greater applications are in the manufacturing of plastics (provides pliancy), artificial leather, and in the production of nylon and soap. There are undeniably many castor oil benefits.
It is the pliancy creating qualities of castor oil, however, that may relieve the symptoms of herpes outbreaks. One of herpes’ most common progressions is the crusty scabbing that occurs after the sore ulcerates. These scabrous sores then break from skin stretching, touching, or abrasions. Herpes is more contagious in these broken-skin conditions, and can be spread to other parts of the body is allowed.
An application of a cotton swab soaked in warmed castor oil (gently heated by placing the bottle into a bath of hot tap water or for a few seconds in a microwave). Allow the castor oil poultice to remain on the affected area for about an hour. Afterward, gently wash with soap and water. The oil will provide elasticity to the surrounding skin, and it will also act as an astringent.
Castor oil for herpes is, of course, not a cure. There is no current cure for herpes. By gently cleansing the skin with soap and water and softening affected tissues with castor oil, one can help the sores heal more cleanly, and also help prevent secondary outbreaks.