Castor oil has a wide range of uses, both internally and externally. Castor oil holds a strong place in traditional Ayurvedic medicine, as well as many other ancient medical sciences. Castor oil packs are a highly effective therapy used to relieve many conditions including constipation, congestion in the GI tract, congestion in the lymphatic system, liver issues; benign tumors, cysts, and fibroids; skin disorders, and inflammatory issues.
Although the outer shell of the castor bean is actually poisonous, it is the seed inside that is used to make the castor oil. Castor oil can still be upsetting while used internally, however, and should only be taken in this manner under the guidance of a doctor or holistic practitioner. Fortunately, when used externally, there are minimal to no side effects and this remedy can be utilized daily depending on the condition and the needs of the individual.
According to Ayurveda, castor oil is heating when used internally, while being cooling externally. Therefore the castor oil pack is used to treat many Pitta disorders such as eczema and psoriasis, liver issues, inflammation, and arthritic conditions. The castor oil pack is not limited to simply Pitta issues, however. It holds a wide range of healing properties and therefore effectively treats a variety of disorders stemming from Vata, Pitta, and Kapha alike.
**Please note that castor oil packs should never be used if there is any suspicion of malignant cancer, as this can cause metastasis (spreading).
Benefits and Uses of the Castor Oil Pack
- Breaks down benign tumors, cysts, and fibroids
- Detoxifies organs
- Removes stagnation and blockages in the GI tract
- Removes congestion in the uterus
- Stimulates lymphatic circulation
- Relieves constipation
- Supports digestion and assimilation
- Breaks up scar tissue
- Reduces inflammation
- Relieves arthritic, painful, and swollen joints
- Relieves pain and inflammation in the muscles
How to Use a Castor Oil Pack
Although the specifics of how often to use the packs may vary from individual to individual, the “how to” is pretty much the same for any disorder. Here is a concise list of instructions on how to apply the castor oil pack.
- High-quality, organic castor oil – I really like this brand*!
- Hot water bottle* (preferred), or electric heating pad
- An old piece of flannel material about 20”x 10” (this can be reused up to 30 times)
- Piece of plastic about 12” x 12” (this can be cut from a trash bag or you can use cellophane)
- Old sheet to lay on
- 2 old towels; one for covering the pack and one for any spills or drips
- Medical tape* to secure the pack, if needed
- Blanket to keep covered and warm while using the pack
- Glass jar with lid to store the oily flannel between uses
1. Warm a small amount of castor oil (about 1/4-1/2 cup) in a pan on low heat.
2. Fold the flannel cloth 3 times over until it is about 7” x 10″ in size.
3. Soak the cloth in the warm oil until completely immersed, but not dripping.
4. Allow the oil to soak into the cloth for at least 15 minutes before applying it to the body.
5. Place the oily cloth over the area that needs healing (e.g. uterus, colon, liver, joint, etc). Use medical tape to secure the pack if needed.
6. Place the plastic square completely over the oily cloth and then cover it with the towel.
7. Place the hot water bottle (or heating pad) over the pack.
8. Recline in a relaxed position with pillows behind you to support the back and allow the organs space and movement. Cover with a warm blanket to keep comfortable.
9. Keep the pack on for 30-60 minutes.
10. Repeat daily, weekly, or as directed. Never use during menstruation as this may cause excessive bleeding!
11. Store the oily cloth for reuse by keeping it in a glass jar in the refrigerator. Use this cloth up to 30 times and then replace as needed.
Other External Uses for Castor Oil
- Severe dry skin
- Dry, brittle, or thinning hair
- Nail infection
- Skin infection
- Dry, red eyes (use as an eyedrop)
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