Back when my grandmother, Nonna, was little, it wasn’t unusual for a child to be given a spoonful of castor oil for stomach issues. This was used for occasional constipation and worms/parasites. I am reminded of watching the famous 1920s series Our Gang as a child and seeing the “little rascals” faces in a scene where they had to take castor oil by mouth. It was quite comical. Let’s face it. It was extremely nasty tasting and you knew to stay near the toilet waiting for the inevitable. It did the job though. What can I say, Nanna—Nonna’s mother—was obsessed with bowel function. Although I honestly think it’s very harsh on the stomach and we have better natural ways for dealing with these issues that don’t cause irritation—and though I don’t recommend taking it internally—I appreciate the natural remedies Nanna used. And a lot of them I still use to this day.
Castor oil (Ricinus communis) is extracted from the seeds of the castor plant, which are sometimes called castor oil beans. The oil contains ricinoleic acid, a fatty acid. Known for its amazing detoxing properties, it is extremely anti-inflammatory. It has also been shown to reduce pain.
So what is a castor oil pack?
A wool or flannel castor oil-soaked piece of material that is applied to the skin with heat.
Benefits of castor oil packs
· Supports detox in the body
· Improves digestion
· Increases relaxation
· Builds immunity
· Helps with the elimination of toxic buildup in the body
· Increases circulation (especially the lymphatic system)
· Results in a better sleep
· Moves blood into the female reproductive area
· Balances hormones
· Reduces anxiety/stress
· Reduces inflammation
· Supports adrenals
Wow! Given all of these wonderful benefits, castor oil packs should always be a part of your healthy lifestyle.
Where to put it?
· Under the right ribcage to help detoxify the liver, constipation, and digestive disorders
· On the kidneys on the back of your abdomen, just under your ribcage, for kidney stones
· On your breasts for fibrocystic breasts
· On your lower abdomen for menstrual irregularities and for prevention or shrinkage of uterine fibroids and ovarian cysts
· Over the thyroid area for cysts, nodules, and goiter (only use for 5 to 10 mins, 3 to 4 times a week, if you have hyperthyroidism)
How to do it?
You will need organic castor oil, three layers of organic wool or flannel fabric, several old towels, a hot water bottle or heating pad, and plastic wrap.
Place flannel in a glass storage container. Drizzle your castor oil all over your fabric to saturate it completely. Heat for around fifteen to twenty minutes. Let cool a bit before applying. Set your storage container nearby, with a towel underneath in case of spills. Put towels underneath you. Lie down and place the fabric on the area of choice, then plastic wrap. Now add your heat on top. Keep on for 45 minutes to one hour, several times a week, or every day if you wish. Overnight is even better. When ready, remove pack and wipe body with soap and water. Store your pack in a glass container in the fridge until your next use.
I did it this way for years. Honestly, it was messy and made me not even want to do it. I also had some issues with it. First, the plastic wrap was a nasty estrogen disruptor. I was not comfortable with this at all. So I then put an additional piece of fabric, instead of the plastic wrap, on top of the three layers. This worked pretty well, since the plastic wrap was only to make sure the oil didn’t go through the fabric. My other issue was with the heating pad, since it was an EMF magnet. That is why I preferred the hot water bottle. I do recommend using a nontoxic hot water bottle, as most are full of toxins and would defeat the purpose.
Who shouldn’t use it?
· If you’re pregnant (the ricinoleic acid in castor oil can induce labor)
· If your period is a heavy flow
Cleaning your pack
Your pack will last you about three months. In between uses you might want to clean it a bit since the castor oil can really weigh down the material in the pack. Put it in a bowl of warm water with quite a bit of baking soda and a mild organic natural soap. Soak overnight. In the morning, rinse and wring out, then take a towel and blot or squeeze all the excess water out of your pack. Let dry on a flat surface on top of a towel or on a rack. You are good to go!
To give your detox a boost, you can add some essential oils. Just put a few drops right on your pack after you put on your castor oil.
· Lavender for relaxation
· Lemon for stress reduction
· Sacred frankincense for hormone balance (this is my favorite)
While researching a better way to do it, I came across Dr. Marisol’s website of Queen of the ThronesTM products, for my which made my life so much easier. Honestly, I actually enjoy using my castor oil packs now. Absolutely no mess, and the pack—which is organic—ties on the sides so that you can walk around, do your laundry, cook, etc., with it on. Dr. Marisol is absolutely a genius. She also sells hexane-free organic castor oil in a glass (NO PLASTIC!) bottle. It may not be necessary with this product, but I still like to add the soothing heat on. (Use code HOLISTICPRAIRIEMAMA10 at this link to get 10% off your online purchase.)
Relax and enjoy your amazing castor oil experience!