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.
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 consistently will receive the most beneficial effects.
– Organic Castor Oil (available through Vive Health)
– Piece of white or uncoloured cloth (organic flannel works the best) cut to the size of the applied area
– Small to medium sized cloth or towel
– Hot water bottle
– An extra cloth or towel to wrap around hot water bottle
– Another towel to cover your couch or bed
– Drizzle a good amount of castor oil on your piece of cloth/flannel so that it is thoroughly saturated but not dripping.
– Place directly on the skin.
– Cover it with a cloth or towel to prevent it from getting messy.
– Put a hot water bottle directly on top.
– Lying down on a towel, keep the castor oil pack on for 45-60 minutes.
– When finished, fold up the cloth/flannel and store in a zip-lock bag (when using it again the next time, add a bit more castor oil on it). Wipe off any excess oil from the skin. A shower or a bath will easily remove the oil.