Castor oil comes from the castor seed, native to India. It is extremely high in ricinoleic acid, which is thought to be responsible for its health promoting abilities. It is important to note that while Castor Oil is said to have health benefits, the castor seed itself can be deadly and internal use of even castor oil warrants caution.
While it is considered “Generally Regarded As Safe” by the FDA and up to a tablespoon per day is considered approved for internal use, it can cause extreme digestive upset in some people. I am not a doctor and don’t play one on the internet, so talk to yours before using castor oil or anything else internally.
It is sometimes used internally for inducing labor, mostly by causing raging diarrhea in thoughts that this will also stimulate uterine contractions. I chose not to try this and wouldn’t suggest it since there is some evidence that it can increase the chance of baby passing meconium before birth. It is also sometimes used to reduce constipation (again with the raging diarrhea).
Naturopathy recommend castor oil packs because of their ability to promote healing and to reduce inflammation. They also improve elimination and circulation, especially of the lymphatic system. Other ailments castor oil packs are said to aid with include hepatitis C, hyperthyroidism, pelvic pain, tendinitis, kidney stones, fibroids, ovarian cysts, swollen joints, irritable bowel syndrome, and digestive disorders.
The whole idea is to keep castor oil on a piece of cloth on the skin for at least an hour with a heat source to stimulate lymph and liver function. Unlike some “detox” methods, this is not said 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.
Castor oil packs also provide time for self care and relaxation, which also has health benefits.
Castor oil packs have traditionally been used on various body parts:
Even for external use, I’d consult with a doctor or naturopath to make sure that this natural remedy is ok for you. It should not be used if pregnant or struggling with a medical condition. If you have never used castor oil before, perform a small patch test. Apply a little oil to any part of your arm before using on a larger area of the body. If any redness or irritation occurs do not use.
Castor oil packs are simple to do 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.
If you don't have the time or ability to create your own no worries, we've created a Castor Pack kit for you . 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.
I highly recommend carefully prepping the are where you’ll be doing the castor oil pack to prevent mess. I like using an old shower curtain, covered with a sheet under me, just to make sure nothing stains. I don’t often have to wash the sheet, and I just fold and store in the bathroom cabinet for the next use.
Instructions: Using Castor Oil Pack