The latest TikTok craze is calling for the application of castor oil in the belly button, a so-called “ancient” practice that will do everything from detoxification and improving your digestion to enhancing bowel movements and even making you more fertile. So what is this all about?
The practice of putting castor oil in the belly button comes from an Indian practice known as the Pechoti method. This is a type of navel therapy based on the idea that our bodies are able to absorb substances such as essential oils through the so-called Pechoti gland in our belly buttons. The Pechoti gland is supposedly located at the end of what was once the umbilical cord and remains in the body after birth.
Indians believe that the center of the belly button, known as the Manipura Chakra, is connected to the central nervous system and therefore has great physical and spiritual significance. They believe it is the focal point to 72,000 veins present in the navel and that massaging oil into the belly button massages these nerves which helps to ward off all kinds of ailments.
However, according to Healthline, “there’s no evidence that this gland actually exists.”
This is because the umbilical vein to which it is supposedly connected does not remain in the adult body after birth. Once we’re born, the doctor cuts off the umbilical cord and the only thing left after birth is skin tissue and ligaments that eventually fall off or seal up. There is no vein or gland left that can absorb anything.
So why castor oil?
Castor oil is a vegetable oil that has been used for thousands of years, dating back to ancient Egyptian and Indian civilizations. It’s made by extracting oil from the seeds of the Ricinus communis plant. These seeds contain a toxic enzyme called ricin; however, this poison is deactivated in the heating process which takes place during production.
According to this article appearing on Healthline: “Castor oil has a number of medicinal, industrial, and pharmaceutical uses. It’s commonly used as an additive in foods, medications, and skin care products, as well as an industrial lubricant and biodiesel fuel component.”
It’s commonly used as a laxative, a natural moisturizer, to clean and store dentures, and may also stimulate wound healing in certain kinds of wounds such as burns and diabetic ulcers.
Although castor oil does have real benefits, there is no scientific evidence that applying it to the belly button will treat or cure any physical condition. Whatever benefits a person might feel from applying castor oil to their navel will nothing more than a placebo effect.
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