Castor oil packs have been used as a natural remedy to promote healing, improve circulation and reduce inflammation for thousands of years. In fact, the use of applying castor oil to the body topically can be traced back to medical textbooks in Egypt as early as 1550 B.C.
Castor oil (Ricinus communis) comes from the castor seed which is native to India. It is extremely high in the fatty acid ricinoleic acid (about 90% of the oil), which is thought to be responsible for its health-promoting abilities.
Castor oil works by stimulating your lymph and liver function by increasing your lymphocyte count, which then allows the body to speed up the process of removing toxins from your tissues. Lymphatic congestion is a key factor in inflammation and disease.
Where there is inflammation - there is sickness, toxicity and overall distress in the body.
So, if you have an autoimmune disease or health issues, you are likely struggling with a sluggish lymphatic system where toxins are building up and making you sick.
Castor oil packs can be placed over a large area from the pelvic bones to the clavicle bones or placed over smaller areas of the body, such as the thyroid, the liver, or mid-section to target particular areas of the body.
Placing the castor oil pack over your liver (upper, right quadrant of the abdomen) you can help support detoxification. Placing it directly on strained joints or muscles reduces inflammation and can ease arthritis. Placing a castor oil pack over your entire abdomen will ease menstrual cramps, support reproductive health, improve gut health and aid digestion.
The many benefits of Castor Oil Packs include:
Relaxing the digestive system, reducing bloat and improving constipation
Reducing gallbladder inflammation/stones
Improving lymphatic drainage
Reducing gut inflammation
Reducing headaches and migraines
Detoxifying the liver
Shrinking thyroid cysts and nodules
Reducing painful menstrual cramps
Shrinking cysts in breast tissue
Shortening periods and regulating cycles
Shrinking uterine fibroids
Shrinking and reducing ovarian cysts
Reducing symptoms of PCOS
Improving healthy gut microbiome and biofilm breakdown
Reducing overall inflammation, muscle soreness and joint pain
Breaking up adhesions or scar tissue (recommended for after surgery)
Strengthening the immune system
Improving and healing the skin (improves eczema and psoriasis, decreases stretch marks and scaring, soothes dry or sunburnt skin and rashes, removes skin tags and moles)
Improves hair health (increases growth, thickens hair, reduces damage)
Fights toe nail fungus
Increases relaxation and improves sleep quality (best to do at night)
Supporting weight loss
Reducing water retention
The use of castor oil packs also increases master cleansing agent, Glutathione. Glutathione is a super antioxidant that pulls and supports the elimination of most, if not all, toxic substances from the body - even including heavy metals.
So, Castor Oil Packs are basically a super cleanse for your body. As it supports and encourages your body’s natural ability to detox and heal itself. If you’re sick or struggling with certain health issues, that is a huge red flag that your body needs help improving these basic functions – so give it a try!
How to use a Castor Oil Pack:
Castor oil packs are very simple to do in the comfort of your own home. You only need a few items to enjoy the relaxation and many benefits of Castor Oil Packs and you most likely already have most of these items.
You will need the following:
1) High-quality Castor Oil (organic, cold-pressed, 100% hexane free). I personally recommend Heritage brand, but others include Banyan Botanicals, NOW, Baar, and Sky Organics. Usually, you can find castor oil at a local health food store OR pharmacy, but we also have it in our Wellevate online store).
2) Unbleached and dye-free wool or cotton flannel (or old towel/shirt that has been washed many times). Castor oil cotton or wool flannels are also available for purchase. Whatever you choose can be reused up to 30 times.
3) Heating pad or hot water bottle.
4) Container with lid to store your castor oil pack after use (preferably glass). I use a glass food storage container for storing the oil-soaked flannel between uses.
5) Old clothes and towels or blankets. Castor oil can stain, so it is preferable to do them naked or in clothes you do not care for anymore.
6) A comfortable place to relax.
Once you have your kit together, you’ll see how easy it is. After experiencing the relaxation and inflammation reducing qualities, it’ll be something you’ll reach for again and again. Make sure to prepare your space first before applying your pack.
1) Prepare your space thoughtfully as Castor Oil will stain. Put an old towel or blanket underneath you, remove clothing that could touch it, or wear clothes you are okay with getting stained (and then wear these clothes each time).
2) Have your book, meditation music, tea/water, or show/movie ready to go.
3) Plug in your heating pad (or heat your bottle) and place it where you will be laying.
4) Drench your chosen cloth/towel with the castor oil. You can place it in a jar or glass container or on top of a larger old towel/trash bag, then drizzle some of the castor oil over it until it is moist, but isn’t dripping wet.
If you use a jar or glass container, you can store the flannel in that container afterwards. If you decide to reuse the material with the castor oil on it, it is best to store it in the refrigerator so it doesn’t go rancid. It can be used up to 30 times.
5) Place the castor oil pack where you would like (most commonly the entire mid-section from clavicle to pelvic bone, or ribcage to pelvic bone).
6) Place hot water bottle or heating pad on top. You may want to put another old towel or pillow case around the heating pad for protection from the oil (some use a plastic trash bag or saran wrap).
7) Relax for up to an hour, preferably with your legs elevated comfortably.
When time is up, gently remove the heating pad and flannel and wipe the excess castor oil off with warm water (can use soap or baking soda for better cleanup). Place the castor oil pack in your storage container and make sure to wash other towels/clothes used during your castor oil pack session separately.
How often can you use a castor oil pack?
For maximum effectiveness, apply at least four consecutive days per week for one full month. Clients who use the pack daily report the most benefits.
For more serious health issues or if you lack time throughout the day, you can sleep in them by wrapping yourself in it and using an old blanket in bed for protection. I have personally done this and feel fabulous in the morning.
Once you have experienced the benefits, it is nice to use them once a week to a couple times a month for maintenance. You can always return to them more frequently if issues arise again (ex. digestive distress – bloating/constipation, painful periods, or just experiencing a lot of inflammation).
The great thing is that you can do what feels good for you. There are no specific rules to Castor Oil Packs. If you do start to feel any stomach upset, which is unlikely, you can skip a day between them and still see results.
Remember that you can reuse the pack several times (up to 30x), each time adding more oil as needed to keep the pack saturated.
Enjoy! We are here for any questions and/or concerns.