Castor Oil Packs

Castor oil, derived from the castor bean (Ricinus communis) has a long history of medicinal uses dating back to ancient Egyptian days.  The oil can be used internally as a laxative, but I want to focus primarily on external uses as internal usage can cause potential toxicity if not careful.

Castor oil packs are used on the skin to increase circulation and to promote elimination and healing of the tissues and organs underneath the skin.  These can help stimulate the liver, relieve pain, increase lymphatic circulation, reduce inflammation and improve digestion.

Some of the conditions that seem to benefit from using castor oil packs are:

  • Appendicitis
  • Arthritis
  • Cholecystitis (inflammation of the gall bladder)
  • Colitis
  • Congestion
  • Constipation
  • Epilepsy
  • Headaches
  • Inflammation
  • Intestinal disorders such as stricture and colon impaction
  • Liver, kidney, and pelvic disorders
  • Neuritis (inflammation of nerves)
  • Toxemia
  • Poor eliminations
  • Scleroderma
  • Various liver conditions such as cirrhosis and torpid liver
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Warts and moles

Pretty impressive, eh?

Why this works.  When a castor oil pack is placed on the skin, it increases the circulation; improving blood flow resembling acupuncture, without the needles.  It also promotes elimination and healing of the tissues and organs underneath the skin.

You will need: 

*Un-dyed wool or cotton flannel large enough to cover the affected area (20 – 40 inches by 24 – 48 inches)

*Cold-pressedCastor oil (found at most health food stores)

*Plastic wrap cut 1-2” larger than the flannel (you can use a plastic bag)

*Hot water bottle or heating pad (I prefer the hot water bottle)

*Two safety pins

*An old towel or two

*Container with lid to store the pads between use (or glass dish 8 x 8)

*Old clothes and sheets as castor oil can stain clothing and bedding

Directions for using castor oil packs:

  1. Warm the castor oil in a double boiler and soak the flannel so that it is saturated in the castor oil.  It should not be dripping with oil.
  2. Fold the flannel or wool into 2 to 4 thickness and sized to cover the area you are treating.
  3. Lay on an old sheet to prevent any oil getting onto your bed or furniture.
  4. Place the plastic wrap over the flannel and pin into place.
  5. Place the hot water bottle over the treatment area.  Relax.   This would be a great time to do some deep breathing exercises.  You may sleep.
  6. Leave the pack on for 45 minutes to an hour if possible.
  7. After finishing you may wash the treated area especially if the oil bothered your skin.  (Three tablespoons of baking soda to one quart of water.)
  8. Store the pack in the glass container or a large zip-lock bag.  Once the pack is made, it can be stored in the glass dish and used for a couple of months before needing to replace it.   Discard and replace the pack after it begins to change color.
  9. Ideally, this treatment should be done every day, therefore resulting in the most beneficial effects.

Castor oil has been recommended to be massaged into cysts, bunions, tumors, even skin and breast cancers.

Castor oil can also be mixed with baking soda (mix until it becomes a paste) and massaged on calluses, moles, ingrown toenails and warts.

Some practitioners have added ginger to the castor oil and found it successful with addressing issues such as kidney and gallstones.

Please note the seed and plants of the Castor Bean are poisonous.  Castor oil should not be taken internally, or applied to broken skin, or used during pregnancy, or breastfeeding.