The castor bean (Oleum ricini) has a traditional use as a cathartic (strong laxative when taken internally) and has been used for constipation and to induce labour. However, a more pleasant application for castor oil is in the form of a topical pack placed externally over an area of the body, most commonly the abdomen. With the addition of heat, the oil is absorbed into the lymphatic circulation to provide a soothing, cleansing and nutritive treatment, which can improve blood flow, stimulate the immune system, and strengthen internal organs.
Castor oil has been shown to increase circulation and promote elimination and healing to the tissues and organs underneath the skin. It is particularly effective in being absorbed into the lymph circulation, which can improve digestion, immune function, and reduce swelling in injured joints and extremities. Naturopathic doctors commonly prescribe castor oil packs for menstrual irregularities, uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, and other pelvic disorders. Other conditions that respond well to castor oil application include indigestion (gas, bloating, constipation), headaches, liver disorders and general detoxification.
Ask your Naturopathic doctor for instructions on how to construct a suitable castor oil pack for your condition. Castor oil packs may be reused many times. For maximum effectiveness, aim to apply the pack for at least four consecutive days a week, for at least four to six weeks. Patients who use the pack daily will receive the most beneficial effects.