A castor oil pack is an external application of castor oil to a specific area of the body, most often the abdomen and liver. Castor oil is extracted from the castor plant?s seed-often mistaken as a bean-and has been used as a therapeutic agent for centuries. While the oil from this plant?s seed has been mentioned in texts since ancient Egypt, Naturopathic physicians have used the castor oil pack technique for decades and found that it has tremendous healing benefits, particularly to detoxify the liver and lymphatic circulation.
Castor oil has been found to be so effective in human health, a wide variety of conditions have been recorded as being helped by the therapy. Here is an exhaustive, but still incomplete, list, since the main effects of the packs are to promote elimination and repair gastrointestinal integrity and liver function-critical functions to a wide variety of illnesses.
Indications for the Castor oil pack:
- Liver & gallbladder disturbances
- Intestinal obstructions & disorders
- Abdominal complaints
- Muscle strains
- To improve elimination
- Inflamed joints
- Inflammatory conditions
- Muscle pains
- Skin eruptions & lesions
- Cystic breast disease
- Uterine fibroids
- Ovarian cysts
- Abrasions & infections
- Irritation of the conjunctiva of the eye
- Nighttime urinary frequency
For mothers and newborns:
- Promotes healing of the umbilicus in a newborn
- Increases milk flow in lactating women when applied to the breasts.
From 2-3 nights per week for minor conditions, to nightly for chronic or more serious conditions.
The pack should be kept on for 45 minutes to 1 hour. More sensitive or toxic patients may need to build up to 45-60 minutes slowly, starting at 1-5 minutes and adding 1-3 minutes with each subsequent treatment.
How to do a Castor oil pack:
- Fold a piece of cotton or wool flannel into 3 thicknesses to fit over your entire abdomen.
- Soak flannel with the castor oil on the side that will go against the abdomen.
- Warm the entire pack for 1-2 minutes in the oven on WARM. Microwaves ovens are really not necessary or desired, since the pack becomes plenty warm with a conventional oven or toaster oven. Remember you only want the pack warm, not hot, as hot oil can easily burn you.
- To prevent staining, you can use any combination of the following below you or wrapped around you while doing the pack: an old blanket and sheet, plastic, old towel.
- Lie or sit placing the flannel over your abdomen, cover with a small sheet of plastic and towel and then place a hot water bottle or a microwave-able bean pillow on top.
- Leave pack on for 45-60 minutes. This is an excellent time to now practice visualization, mediation or relaxation breathing.
- When finished, store the pack in your refrigerator in a large zip-lock bag.
Reuse the pack several times, adding more oil as needed to keep the pack saturated. Replace the pack after it begins to change color. If you are using it daily, it is not necessary to store it in the fridge unless you will be skipping one or more days before using the pack again.
Mix one quart of water with two teaspoons of baking soda and use this to cleanse the abdomen. Baking soda will help to absorb the oil.