Castor oil, applied topically to the skin, has been shown to increase circulation, support detoxification, improve elimination, and support the healing of tissues and organs. It is particularly supportive to the lymphatic system, which in turn helps improve digestion, boost immune function, and reduce swelling and inflammation.
Studies have found that castor oil is:
- Hepatoprotective (ability to prevent damage to the liver)
- Free radical scavenging
Conditions that respond well to topical castor oil packs include:
- General detoxification
- Intestinal disorders: constipation, loose stools, poor elimination
- Liver and gallbladder disorders: fatty liver disease, gallstones
- Gynecological conditions: irregular periods, uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, urinary
- symptoms, PMS
- Lung congestion, asthma, bronchitis and during acute colds and flus
- Muscle aches
- Parasitic infections
- Chronic headaches
- Gallbladder pain
- Sleep problems like insomnia
One of the major reasons castor oil has strong immune-enhancing effects is because it supports the body’s lymphatic system. The most significant role of the lymphatic system is that it absorbs and removes excess fluids, proteins and waste materials from our cells.
Castor oil may be able to help improve lymphatic drainage, blood flow, thymus gland health and other immune system functions.
A small, double-blind study published in the Journal of Naturopathic Medicine found that adults who used abdominal castor oil packs had significant increases in the production of lymphocytes compared with patients using placebo packs. Lymphocytes are the immune system’s natural “disease-fighters” that attack outside invaders such as toxins, bacteria and other perceived threats.
The lymphatic system also impacts the circulatory and digestive systems, which is why the oil is sometimes used to support heart health and resolve issues like constipation.
A healthy lymphatic system and proper blood flow go hand in hand. When the lymphatic system fails (or edema develops, which is the retention of fluid and toxins), it’s much more likely someone will have circulatory issues.
This is due to the fact that the lymphatic circulatory system works directly with the cardiovascular circulatory system to keep blood and lymphatic fluid levels in an optimal balance.
According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, “A growing body of evidence reveals that the lymphatic system influences the health of multiple organs, including the heart, lung, and brain.” So castor oil’s ability to positively affect our lymphatic systems likely means better overall circulation and a health boost to major organs like our hearts.
Lab studies have shown that castor oil is effective against many types of bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Out of all the staphylococcal bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus is considered the most dangerous and can cause mild to serious skin infections and other concerning staph infection symptoms.
Applying essential oils to the skin before applying the castor oil increases the benefits of the castor oil pack. Choosing essential oils that aid the system one is targeting, can be very beneficial. I only recommend Young Living essential oils for this or any application.
How to do a Castor Oil Pack
What you’ll need:
- Organic, cold-pressed castor oil (16 – 32 ounces) – https://amzn.to/3C00Hmg
- Flannel cloth – wool flannel is preferred, although cotton can be used in case of a wool allergy – wool flannel – https://amzn.to/3S6D557, organic cotton flannel – https://amzn.to/3UxWo8L
- Castor oil pack holder – https://amzn.to/3dzp9l3
- Hot water bottle or heating pad – https://amzn.to/3Uzf6ge
- If using essential oils I recommend Juvaflex over the liver and Digize over the abdomen. If focusing on lungs, I recommend RC or Raven over the chest – https://www.youngliving.com/us/en/myaccount/wishlist?listId=632d2594f2cc56000ad17b6e&enrollerId=3136396&sponsorId=3136396&userName=Amy
- Fold flannel 2-3 times to fit over your entire abdomen. If there is a breast or lung issue, cover the entire chest and abdomen.
- Drizzle approximately 2 tablespoons of castor oil onto the flannel. The first couple of weeks you use the pack you will have to add an additional tablespoon of oil about every 3-4 days. Eventually, the pack will be saturated enough that reapplication of oil should only be necessary every 1-2 weeks. The pack should not be dripping with oil. As an example, it should have just enough oil to make a slight oil mark on furniture as if you were going to polish it.
- Lay an old towel out on the surface you will be lying on. This will prevent staining.
- If using essential oils apply to areas where you will be placing the castor oil pack.
- To prevent doing the castor oil pack on a full stomach, it is best to do it 2-3 hours after a meal.
- Ideally, lie on your back with feet elevated placing flannel over entire abdomen. Cover with a towel and then place a hot water bottle or heating pad on top. In lieu of a towel use a castor oil pack holder.
- Leave pack on for 45 – 60 minutes, or as long as you like. Relax, sleep, read, practice breath work, whatever you’d like during this time.
- After finishing, if necessary, you can remove the oil from your skin or leave it on the skin to be totally absorbed over time. (NOTE – there should only be a VERY thin film of castor oil on the skin when you finish the treatment).
- Castor oil packs can be used frequently, up to daily if needed.
- Castor oil pack treatments are gentle, with no side effects.
- Store the pack in a large zip-lock bag. Reuse the pack many times, adding more oil as needed to keep the pack saturated. Replace the pack after it begins to change color (usually several months).
- For maximum effectiveness, it is necessary to apply the pack as often as possible. Try for at least 4 consecutive days per week for at least 4-6 weeks.
- To clean the pack – begin by soaking the pack in a solution of baking soda and hot water, using four ounces of baking soda to two quarts of water. After soaking the pack for at least 20 minutes, wring it out thoroughly and allow it to air dry.
- Do not use on abdomen during pregnancy or menstruation.