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What is a castor oil pack?

Castor oil packs are an easy and effective home therapy that you can use to improve your lymphatic drainage and detoxify the body.

Castor oil is made from castor seeds from the Ricinus communis plant and is often used in traditional medicine. Ricinus communis contains ricinoleic acid.

Lymphatic system

You’ve probably heard of lymph nodes and swollen lymph, and this is because the lymph is literally the sewer system of the body. A portion of our blood is diverted to the lymph to clean out the toxins, infections, metals, dead cells and debris from the body, then makes its way to the liver for filtering and removed via the colon. When our lymphatic system is not working properly, the build up leads to lowered immune system, worsening food sensitivities, and leading to inflammation and disease.

Castor oil packs can increase lymphatic drainage, decrease inflammation, improve bowel movements, detoxify the body, and strengthen the immune system.

Rationale

Castor oil has been shown to promote elimination and healing of tissues and organs underneath the skin, and increase circulation. It seems to have an effect on the lymph circulation which can reduce swelling, inflammation, immune function, and digestion. It has been specifically used in cases of menstrual irregularities, fibroids, and ovarian cysts.

What are castor oil pack used for?

Castor oil packs are usually used on the abdominal area, focussing on the liver or the lower abdominal area.

Castor oil has anti-inflammatory effects. Ricinoleic acid is the active componanat of castor oil has analgesic properties and may help with the circulation and lymphatics.

Castor oil is also an excellent moisturiser, so helps plump up the skin, and many use castor oil to thicken eyelashes and eyebrows: Basically there are a lot of uses for castor oil!

Constipation

Castor oil packs have been used to help reduce constipation symptoms for generations.

Joint pain

Whether it be rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, all arthritis is about inflammation, so ricinoleic acid may reduce inflammation and help soothe pain in joint conditions.

Liver and gallbladder health

Using the castor oil pack over the liver area may help with the function of the liver. The liver is an accessory organ of the digestive system, it detoxifies the body and produces bile to help digestion of fats, so liver function is important for health.

Self Care

Additional benefit of spending an hour relaxing in bed is lowering stress levels and allowing healing to happen. If stress is an ongoing problem, then read Stress Lowers Immune System.

Instructions: How to Make a Castor Oil Pack

First you need to gather the materials, and I recommend using an organic cold pressed hexane-free castor oil stored in amber glass to ensure purity.

INGREDIENTS AND SUPPLIES:

  • To make your own, you will need:
  • Castor oil
  • Wool or cotton flannel (or Less-Mess Compress)
  • Scissors
  • Plastic sheeting, such as plastic bag or plastic wrap
  • Container for storage, such as glass container with a lid or plastic ziplock bag
  • Old towels, blankets
  • Heat pack

Directions

  1. Fold or cut the flannel to cover the affected area, with three or four layers of flannel.
  2. Warm your heat pack
  3. Lay old towel on bed to catch castor oil leakage
  4. Pour castor oil over one side of flannel and place on abdomen
  5. Lay down on old towel
  6. Place plastic over flannel
  7. Cover with towel, then place heat pack on top over abdomen
  8. Place extra towel or blankets on top to keep you warm
  9. Relax and leave on for one hour
  10. Remove the layers and wipe down the area with a warm damp towel, soap and water, or with a mix of 1tsp bicarb in 1 cup of water.
  11. Store the castor oil pack in a leakproof plastic bag or glass container. Reuse up to 30 times.

Cautions:

  • Make sure to not fall asleep with heated pad (may burn)
  • Avoid if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or menstruating
  • Don’t use castor oil pack in the microwave to prevent the oil smoking or catching fire
  • Don’t use castor oil packs on irritated or broken skin

Q: How often do I use a castor oil pack?

I recommend using it daily for an hour. I find the daily use best because if you end up skipping a day here and there because life gets busy, then you are still doing it most days. Aim for at least 5 out of 7 days, except don’t us it during your period, during an illness, or if pregnant.

If you are ready to try a castor oil pack, then follow the steps outlined below. I always found it messy, so if you want an easier way, then you can purchase a Less-Mess Compress here in Australia and skip most of the steps. Most importantly, stick to doing it every day to see the results. Let me know how you go with your castor oil pack.

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