By: Ankita Kulkarni
May 8 2023
There is no scientifically proven evidence to state that castor oil can cure tumors and breast cancer.
A video circulating on Facebook claims that castor oil compresses (a piece of cloth or a pack soaked in castor oil) can be used as an effective treatment against "lumps, bumps, congestions, adhesion, and bone spurs." It also suggests castor oil can be used against tumors, cysts, and breast cancer. More than 140,000 people have viewed the video. However, these claims are not supported by science.
A reverse image search of a screenshot taken from the video led us to a more extended version uploaded to YouTube on February 2, 2018, by a channel named Living Springs Retreat. At the 13:34 mark in the video, the speaker also claims that compresses can cure uterine fibroids.
The description box of the YouTube video indicated that the person demonstrating the use of the castor oil is Barbara O'Neill, an unregistered practitioner who provides services as a naturopath, nutritionist, and health educator. An investigation conducted by New South Wales Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) in 2019 declared that "O'Neill makes dubious and dangerous health claims regarding infant nutrition, causes and treatment of cancer, antibiotics and vaccinations." The statement released by HCCC on September 24, 2019, added that she has been permanently banned from providing health services and recognized that her selective information delivery could be dangerous to vulnerable people.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) notes castor oil is only safe and effective as a stimulant laxative. An article published by Cleveland Clinic notes that castor oil treats occasional constipation that helps to produce a bowel movement. However, the medication should be taken only under the supervision of a physician as it has reported side effects such as allergic reactions, diarrhea, nausea, stomach pain, and vomiting. It also adds that a physician should be informed before taking the oil if there are predetermined health conditions like stomach, intestine problems or pregnancy. The information on Daily Med, the U.S. National Library of Medicine drug database, also notes similar recommendations on Rexall, an over-the-counter castor oil.
Furthermore, we could not find any clinical scientific studies corroborating that castor oil can treat cancer or tumors. Although a study published by the American College of Toxicology in its final report in 2007 noted that "castor oil extract had a strong suppressive effect on S180 body tumors and ARS ascites cancer in male Kunming mice," these findings cannot be generalized to humans.
The claim has originated from an unregistered practitioner who is banned from practicing medicine. There is no scientifically proven evidence that castor oil compresses can cure tumors, bone spurs, cysts, and uterine fibroids. Therefore, we have marked the claim as false.