Castor Oil Pack
Castor oil, applied topically to the skin, has been shown to increase circulation and improve elimination and healing of tissues and organs. It is particularly supportive to the lymphatic system, which in turn helps improve digestion, boost immune function, and reduce swelling and inflammation.
Conditions that respond well to topical castor oil include :
- General detoxification
- Intestinal disorders: constipation, loose stools, poor elimination
- Liver and gallbladder disorders: fatty liver disease, gallstones
- Gynecological conditions: irregular periods, uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, urinary symptoms
- Lung congestion, asthma, bronchitis and during acute colds and flus
Castor oil packs can be used frequently, up to daily if needed. It is recommended that you begin with applying a castor oil pack for up to an hour. Generally, when beginning castor oil packs for a chronic condition, begin with every second or third day. For acute conditions (colds and flus, bronchitis, constipation etc), use daily or as recommended by your health care practitioner. Castor oil should not be used in pregnancy or during menstruation.
Castor oil packs are one of those rare remedies that cannot be used too much: generally, with external applications of castor oil, “more is better.” It is normally recommended that the minimum use be for an hour each day – for three consecutive days in a week – this frequency and duration may often be exceeded in order to bring better and faster relief. If it is known that there is a critically high degree of toxicity in the body, or a significant difficulty in eliminating toxins (such as with kidney failure), then it is best if the packs are used on alternating days for the first week. After that, usually the packs may be used on consecutive days from that point on.
Castor oil pack treatments should always be gentle and with no real side effects. The most common side effect is a rash that may occur at the site of the pack. This typically only occurs during the first few applications of the pack, and may be relieved by using the baking soda wash. Rashes and other reactions are rare, and if they occur they usually indicate that the elimination of toxins through the system are not good, and perhaps the pack should be used on alternate days for the first week of use.
Below we have described three different methods for using castor oil. We highly recommend the traditional method, but the alternatives methods listed can also be very beneficial.
Traditional Castor Oil Pack
Materials Needed :
- Castor Oil – preferably cold-pressed or expeller-pressed, about 16-32 oz.
- Flannel cloth – wool flannel is preferred, although cotton may be substituted i the case of wool allergy
- Caster Oil Pack Holder – or plastic wrap or plastic sheet, plus bath towel or large elastic bandage, and a few safety pins
- Hot Water Bottle – do NOT use electric heating pads
1. Fold flannel into 2-3 thicknesses to fit over your entire abdomen. In many cases (especially if there is a breast or lung issues), cover the entire chest and abdomen.
2. Drizzle approximately 2 Tbsp of castor oil onto the flannel. Note: The first couple of weeks you use the pack you will have to add an additional tablespoon of oil about every 3-4 days. Eventually, the pack will be saturated enough that reapplication of oil should only be needed every 1-2 weeks. The pack should not be dripping with oil. As an example, it should have just enough oil to make a slight oil mark on furniture as if you were going to polish it.
3. Lay an old towel out on the surface you will be lying on. This will prevent STAINING as castor oil stains and you will not likely be able to get it out so be cautious.
4. To prevent doing the castor oil pack on a full stomach, it is best to do it 2-3 hours after a meal.
5. Ideally, lie on your back, with your feet elevated (use of pillow under you knees and feet works well), placing flannel over entire abdomen, cover with a towel and then place a hot water bottle on top. (Note – heat is not required during warm weather months).
6. Leave pack on for 45-60 minutes. This is an excellent time to now practice visualization, meditation or relaxation breathing. This involves placing one hand on your diaphragm and the other on your lower abdomen. As you breathe in, force your lower abdomen to swell like a balloon. With each breath out, practice relaxing your jaw and shoulders. As you practice more, relax all muscles in your body. Alternatively to these you may prefer to just sleep. Some people wear the pack all night using an ace bandage to hold it in place.
7. After finishing, if necessary, you can remove the oil from your skin with a solution of 2 tablespoons of baking soda to 1 quart water or often hair conditioner works well. You may also choose to leave the oil on the skin to be totally absorbed over time. (NOTE – there should only be a VERY thin film of castor oil on the skin when you finish the treatment).
8. Store the pack in a large zip-lock bag. Reuse the pack many times, adding more oil as needed to keep the pack saturated. Replace the pack after it begins to change color (usually several months).
9. For maximum effectiveness, it is necessary to apply the pack as often as possible. Try for at least 4 consecutive days per week for at least 4-6 weeks. Patients who use the pack daily will receive the most beneficial effects. Once the pack has been used and its effectiveness felt, most patients will continue to use the pack on a regular basis for many years.
Cleaning the Pack
If you absolutely must clean the pack, begin by soaking the pack in a solution of baking soda and hot water, using four ounces of soda to two quarts of water. After soaking the pack for at least 20 minutes, wring it out thoroughly and allow it to air dry.
Do not use on abdomen during pregnancy or menstruation.
The Do Anywhere Castor Oil Pack
1. Add castor oil to the flannel until it is saturated (usually taking 1-2 weeks)
2. Apply to abdomen (or entire chest)
3. Wrap abdomen with an old towel so it overlaps at front
4. Tie this comfortably tight by using 2 ace bandages, one around the ribs and the other around the waist, to keep the pack close to the body.
5. Apply heating pad or hot water bottle to maintain heat (if necessary).
6. Wrap up in a robe/gown and read or relax for 45-60 minutes.
7. Store pack as previously described.
8. Use the pack as often as possible (daily is preferred).
Basic Castor Oil Pack
Many patients now apply the castor oil directly to the abdomen without the flannel pack.
You then proceed as before covering with a towel and place a heating pad of hot water bottle. This is often applied for the entire night and in the morning the castor oil will be totally absorbed through the skin. Remember to use old sheets on your bed, as the castor oil does stain (which cannot be removed).
While this option may be more convenient, it is not as effective as using the flannel pack, in my opinion.
For more information on castor oil : “The Oil that Heals” by Dr. William A. McGarey
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