Castor Oil Packs- How to Make & Use Them
Adapted from www.wellnessmama.com
Castor Oil Packs
Castor oil packs harness the anti-inflammatory and lymph stimulating benefits of castor oil when used externally.
Castor oil packs have been used to help improve liver detoxification naturally, support uterine and ovarian health, improve lymphatic circulation and reduce inflammation.
The process involves resting a castor oil soaked cloth on the skin for at least an hour under a heat source to stimulate lymph and liver function. Unlike some “detox” methods, this is not believed to have any negative side effects and the there are many accounts of people who noticed immediate better sleep, more energy and clearing of skin symptoms.
There aren’t any conclusive studies on the use of castor oil packs externally but a long history of traditional use in many cultures. Castor oil packs also provide time of quiet relaxation, which also has health benefits.
Castor oil packs have traditionally been used on various body parts:
- On the right side of the abdomen or the whole abdomen, which is thought to help support the liver and digestive system
- On strained joints or muscles (not as a substitute for medical care but to speed healing of minor injuries that don’t need medical attention)
- On the lower abdomen to help with menstrual pain and difficulties
Even for external use, it is advised to consult with your health care practitioner prior to use. It should not be used if pregnant or struggling with a medical condition. I also test any new oil (or any substance) on a small part of my arm before using on a larger area of the body. Internal use of castor oil can be highly toxic.
How to Use a Castor Oil Pack
Castor oil packs are simple to use at home and I like them because they require me to be still and relax and read a book for at least an hour. They can be messy, but with proper preparation are not.
- High-quality castor oil (hexane free) – I’ve gotten fromHeritage Products and Mountain Rose Herbs
- Unbleached and dye free wool or cotton flannel can be reused up to 30 times
- A wrap around pack(plastic free, made by Radiant Life) or plastic wrap (not optimal)
- Hot water bottleor heating pad
- Glass container with lid – I use a quart size mason jar (for storing the oil soaked flannel between uses)
- Old clothes, towels and sheets – castor oil does stain
- Patience (most difficult to find!)
The easiest and least messy option I’ve found is the Complete Castor Oil Kit from Radiant Life. It has the castor oil, cotton flannel and a non-messy wrap around pack that removes the need for plastic wrap and has kept mine from leaking at all.
How to Do A Castor Oil Pack
I highly recommend carefully prepping the area where you’ll be doing the castor oil pack to prevent mess. I suggest using an old shower curtain as a tarp, covered with a sheet under me, just to make sure nothing stains. I don’t wash the sheet often, and I fold and store in the bathroom cabinet for the next use.
- Cut a large piece of cotton flannel (or T-shirt) and fold into thirds to make three layers. My original piece was 20 inches by 10 inches and when folded it was roughly 7×10 but yours could be larger or smaller, depending on where you are planning to place it.
- Thoroughly soak (but not completely saturate) the flannel in castor oil. The easies way I found to do this was to carefully fold the flannel and place in a quart size Mason jar. I then added castor oil about a tablespoon at a time (every 20 minutes or so) to give it time to saturate. I also gently shook the jar between adding more oil so that the oil could reach all parts of the cloth. Ideally, this should be done the day before to give it time to evenly soak. I save the jar since this is where I keep the flannel between uses (it can be used about 30 times).
Using a Castor Oil Pack:
- Carefully remove and unfold the castor oil soaked cloth.
- While lying on an old towel or sheet, place the cloth on the desired body part.
- Cover with plastic (like a plastic trash bag), or ideally withthe wrap around pack, and place the heating pack on top of this. A hot water bottle (will need to be reheated several times) or electric heating pad can be used.
- Lie on back with feet elevated (I typically lie on the floor and rest my feet on the couch), and relax for 30-60 minutes.
- Use this time to practice deep breathing, read a book, meditate or pray (or whatever you find relaxing).
- After the desired time, remove the pack and return the flannel to the glass container. Store in fridge.
- Use anatural soap or a mix of baking soda and water, or soap nut powder and water to remove any castor oil left on the skin.
- Relax and rest. Make sure to plenty of water and stay hydrated after applying the pack in order to promote detoxification.