What Are Castor Oil Packs?
Castor oil packs are one of my favorite go-to simple methods to gently detox the body. They are affordable, easy to make and highly effective. For these reasons, I have recommended castor oil packs to my nutritional clients and also used them in my own wellness toolkit for the last 15 years. You may remember your great-grandparents talking about taking a spoonful of castor oil or using castor oil packs as a traditional remedy (commonly as a natural laxative or skin aid). There is an underlying reason using castor oil packs have stood the test of time: they are an especially helpful detoxification tool, especially where lymphatic stagnation is present. Stagnant lymph is a huge contributor of inflammation and many chronic diseases. Read on to learn more about castor oil’s health benefits or skip to our DIY recipe at the bottom to get started using today!
Castor oil’s effectiveness is due in part to its unique chemical makeup– the oil, derived from the castor bean, is composed of nearly 90 percent of fat, consisting mainly of the fatty acid, ricinoleic acid. Ricinoleic acid is not found as concentrated in many other substances, and the high concentration of this unsaturated fatty acid is thought to be responsible for castor oil’s tremendous anti-inflammatory properties.
Reasons to Consider Castor Oil for Heart Health:
- Its flavonoids support the overall immune system by supporting lymph drainage.
- Healthy lymphatic function encourages proper circulation of blood in the body.
- Castor oil is anti-inflammatory, and we know heart disease is a disease of inflammation.
- Studies have found castor oil to be anti-diabetic. We know that diabetes is a major risk factor for heart disease, thus tools that help control blood glucose levels can aid heart health.
- It is hepatoprotective, meaning supporting the liver’s function and detoxification processes. As the cleanser of the blood, healthy liver function is crucial to heart health.
- Therapeutic compounds scavenge free radicals in the body. Free radicals cause oxidative stress, which can lead to cellular changes and future heart disease.
- Left unchecked, the cellular damage from oxidation can eventually lead to heart tissue damage and heart failure. Castor oil is protective against this occurrence.
The simplest way to incorporate castor oil into your healthy lifestyle is to make a DIY castor oil pack!
DIY Castor Oil Packs
- Hexane-free, organic, cold-pressed castor oil
- unbleached organic wool or cotton flannel
- medium bowl (non-plastic)
- Kitchen garbage bag
- Cut the wool or cotton flannel into rectangular pieces, (approx. a 10×10 inch square). If desired, see link to pre-cut cotton flannel squares we buy online.
- Use at least three to four squares to make a pack.
- Pour ¼ cup of castor oil into the bowl.
- Drop one square into the oil until it’s fully saturated.
- Remove the square from the bowl using tongs.
- Lay the soaked square flat on the flat garbage bag to protect your counter surface from oil.
- Soak additional squares using the above method. Layer the cloth squares on top of one another.
- Cover and refrigerate the pack. Reuse each castor oil pack up to 30 times, allowing the oil to come to room temperature first.
- Place a large towel or sheet on the bed or chair where you’ll rest. This will help to catch any castor oil leaks.
- Place the castor oil pack on the treatment area of the body. For example, to detox your liver, place a pack in the upper right quadrant of your abdomen, over and below the bottom of your ribcage.
- Place a small towel or sheet over the castor oil pack to help contain the oil.
- For deeper healing, place a hot water bottle or heating pad on top of the plastic if desired.
- Leave the pack on for 45-60 minutes.
- Remove the pack and wipe the skin clean with a damp washcloth.
- Do not use it if pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Do not use it on an area with open wounds.
- Do not heat castor oil in the microwave. Allow it to come to room temperature naturally.
- Allergic reactions to castor oil are possible, so discontinue use and seek medical care if you believe you are having a serious allergic reaction.