I’ve been using castor oil packs all over my body for many years now. Castor oil packs are one of those natural remedies that is relaxing, completely pain-free, and easy to do. But, best of all, they actually work.
While using castor oil packs over the belly and digestive system is the most common way to use them, there are actually many more ways that you can harness the benefits of this comforting natural remedy to bring balance to your body.
If you have a specific condition you are trying to improve, you can use castor oil packs more frequently without any negative side effects (usually) and then taper off as you feel things getting better. You really can use them however it is best for you and trust that they are almost totally fool proof.
Are you new to using castor oil packs? Let’s cover some of the basics quickly and if you’re a seasoned pack pro, scroll down to see some of the ways to use them and perhaps discover a new way to use this trusted remedy.
The Many Benefits of Castor Oil Packs:
Castor oil packs have been used in Ayurvedic medicine to promote healing, improve circulation and reduce inflammation for thousands of years. The use of applying castor oil topically can be traced back to medical textbooks in Egypt as early as 1550 B.C.
Unlike drinking castor oil, which can be unsafe and cause digestive upset, using castor oil topically is much safer and gentler, and packs a lot of benefits.
Lymphatic congestion is a key factor in inflammation and disease. So, if you have an autoimmune disease or health issues, you are likely struggling with a sluggish lymphatic system where toxins are building up and making you sick.
Castor oil works by stimulating your lymph and liver function by increasing your lymphocyte count, which allows the body to speed up the process of removing toxins from your tissues.
As a person with 2 autoimmune diseases and the occasional health condition related to inflammation, I’m a huge fan of removing toxins, improving the function of my lymphatic system and reducing inflammation.
What You Need for a Castor Oil Pack:
You only need a few things to be able to make many castor oil packs. I’ll get into more detail on how to do them if you’re new to this later in the post:
- Castor Oil: Be sure to buy an organic, cold-pressed, 100% pure, hexane-free, extra virgin castor oil, preferably in a glass bottle.
- Heat Pad: This can be a plug-in heat pad, a microwaveable rice heat pad, or something similar.
- Old Towel/Shirt: Castor oil STAINS, so be sure to put a towel underneath you that you don’t care about and remove clothing that could touch it, or wear clothes you are okay with getting stained. Once I use items with castor oil, I keep them together in my castor oil kit, so I don’t damage anything else.
- Soft Small Fabric: Grab a small wool flannel or cloth to use with the castor oil. You don’t want the fabric to be too absorbent, like a towel, or you’ll just waste product that is soaked up. Or, you can just put the castor oil direct on your skin and put an old burp cloth, receiving blanket or hand towel on top and underneath your heat pad. Personally, I just do it the second way.
- This cool kit comes with the flannel, castor oil and a towelette to clean it off. All you’ll need to add is a heat pad, which you may already have!
That’s it: castor oil, a cloth to put it on, a heat pad to go on top, and old towels or blankets you don’t care about and can get stained.
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7 Ways to Use Castor Oil Packs:
Castor oil packs can be placed on different areas of the body to target to help with circulation, flushing out toxins and reducing inflammation. Here are some of the ways you can use castor oil packs on your body:
1. Castor Oil Packs for Ovarian Health:
Do you have painful ovarian cysts? Some cysts can grow so large, twist and flip, causing pain one doctor described as worse than childbirth contractions. I had a cyst so painful, I ended up in the ER thinking I had an exploding appendix. I never want to experience that again, so thank goodness for castor oil packs.
What about uterine fibroids? I have a friend who has gotten them over and over again. Do you suffer from PCOS? That can be a nightmare. Guess what? There’s a pack for that. And, since all of these conditions are located in the lower abdominal area, you can cover the whole area and prevent some of these issues from starting while treating one you already have.
Sometimes, stagnation in the ovaries and uterus can have a negative effect on fertility, too. I saw an acupuncturist who specialized in fertility for awhile many years ago and she taught me about using castor oil packs for this reason.
2. Castor Oil Packs for Your Period:
Ahhh, the time of the month. If you’re a fellow suffer of painful cramps, inconsistent cycles and uncomfortable periods, you may need to use a castor oil pack for your period.
Now, there are some precautions to take if you are going this route. For one thing, you want to stop using the packs once your period starts or the castor oil can make your cycle heavier. So, the goal would be to use the pack for the weeks leading up to your period starting and then stop during your cycle.
Also, there are a lot of reasons why you could be having more discomfort during your period than necessary. You may want to consider getting your hormones checked or read about ways to naturally balance hormones. This can work alongside castor oil packs for maximum benefits.
I started taking this supplement awhile ago – just one pill at night before bed – and I have noticed that it helps my PMS symptoms when I take it regularly. There are several supplements like this on the market, I just trust Dr. Myers and use a lot of her methods.
3. Castor Oil Packs for Digestive Health:
Are you struggling with digestive issues or inflammatory digestive conditions, such as IBS? What about gut inflammation which seems to pop-up when you eat certain foods (or eat anything for that matter)? Whether this is part of a larger health issue, such as an autoimmune disease, or just an isolated issue for you, there are things you can do to improve your digestive health.
I wrote a whole post with 5 natural remedies that work for stomach pain and digestive issues and castor oil packs is on the list! Why? Because they can really help decrease inflammation, so your gut can start working the way that it is supposed to and things can start moving. A stagnate gut can be so painful and just wreak havoc on your quality of life.
A quick, nightly castor oil pack could really help with stomach pain, digestive inflammation and even occasional stomach issues, like constipation.
4. Castor Oil Packs for Thyroid Health:
The older I get, the more people I know who are struggling with their thyroid. This tiny little sucker packs a big punch when it comes to our overall health. It is really too bad that conventional medicine won’t even consider treating the thyroid until it’s progressed past a 5 or even a 10. My fertility doctor told me 5 years ago that they see fertility shutting down at a 2. So, if our bodies are shutting down fertility, something we were designed to do, when our thyroid is at a 2, how could it POSSIBLY be healthy to have a thyroid testing at a level 5?
Hopefully, over time, treatment of the thyroid improves, but until then, there are some natural remedies we can do to help improve thyroid health and castor oil packs are one of them! This can help with thyroid cysts and nodules, or just overall thyroid health and function.
Since you are draping the cloth over your neck, you may want to fold up your cloth smaller or use a smaller cloth. The more castor oil you use, the more chances you have of it dripping on to something. Castor oil stains – so always take precautions to use as little as needed and keep it from touching anything.
5. Castor Oil Packs for Shrinking Cysts in Breast Tissue:
Have you started your annual mammograms yet? I just had to get my first one last year and it really wasn’t that bad. I was flagged for more testing, which made me a bit nervous, but my tech let me know that most women are flagged on their first one, so that they can get better imagery as a baseline moving forward. I feel very grateful that I didn’t have anything concerning, but it did motivate me to increase my castor oil packs!
Many women have used castor oil packs to shrink cysts in breast tissue as well as thin out dense tissue. Dense tissue is one of the main reasons women fail mammograms and have to get more testing done. A short, comforting castor oil pack used nightly for 20-30 minutes while your watching TV can help break down dense tissue and improve the results of mammogram imaging. I used them after my first mammogram and all the way up until my final ultrasound and the last tech gave me the all clear.
6. Castor Oil Packs for the Liver:
I’m super into detoxifying my liver. Years ago, when I first got my autoimmune diagnosis, I started reading everything I could find about it and I kept seeing things about the liver popping up.
This makes sense, since the liver is a powerhouse that works really hard for us. The liver is our body’s primary filtration system. The liver rids our bodies of toxic substances and digests food. If you’re feeling particularly sluggish, fatigued, bloated or deal with a health issue, your liver is probably on the struggle bus, too, and working over time for you.
While a lot of liver cleanses and detoxes have not been proven to be safe or effective, there are some natural remedies that have been shown to have positive results, such as supplementing with turmeric (which I talk about more in this post) and supplements with milk thistle. Here’s a liver supplement by Dr. Amy Myer’s that I’ve taken for years that has milk thistle.
Another way to help detoxify the liver is – you guessed it – castor oil packs placed on the right side of your abdomen where your liver hangs out. After you start showing your liver some love, you’ll start to notice when you stop. One way I can tell is if I start to get bumps or breakout in the liver zone on my face – which is the T-zone.
7. Castor Oil Packs for Pain:
A few months ago, my son threw a squirt gun into the pool and it happened to smack the top of my knee. It was a total accident – and a very unlikely one at that – but it ended up bruising the top of my knee and it still hurts to this day. Whenever I get chronic pain in a certain area like this, I like to use castor oil packs to help encourage healing.
Castor oil has ricinoleic acid, which is known to have anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing properties. So, using castor oil packs on areas where you have chronic pain can help reduce inflammation, support healing and help with pain reduction while it is healing.
I’ve used castor oil packs on my feet, knees, back, and many other places where I noticed inflammation or ongoing, chronic pain. To do this, just fold your cloth to a little larger than the area where you will be applying it and follow the same steps as you do for any other castor oil pack!
How To Do a Castor Oil Pack:
Castor oil packs are so simple and easy to do, plus they are relaxing which I think most of us could use a little more of in our lives.
Here’s a basic how-to and if you want to know more about how to do the in more detail, check out this post where I share a lot more tips.
Here’s how to do it:
- Set up your relaxing area with a towel underneath where you will lay and change into clothes that you don’t care about. Castor oil stains.
- Plug in your heat pad or microwave your pad and put them where you will lay.
- Make sure you have your TV remote or book and something to drink nearby as well.
- Put your small piece of flannel or cloth in a jar or glass container (some even use a large mason jar) and drizzle some of the castor oil over it until it is moist, but isn’t dripping wet. If you use a jar or glass container, you can store the flannel in the container after, too. **If you decide to reuse the material with the castor oil on it, store it in the refrigerator so it doesn’t go rancid.
- Alternative: If you aren’t using a fabric, just lay down and gentle drizzle some castor oil over the area you are focusing on.
- If you are dripping the castor oil on your body, rub it around and then put a cloth on top. You can use an old burp cloth, receiving blanket folded, cotton hand towel, etc. This will protect the heat pad from getting stained.
- Place heat pad on top of the fabric with the castor oil.
- Relax for at least 20 minutes, preferably with your legs elevated comfortably. You could leave it on longer and sometimes, I’ve even slept with it on!
- Time is up! Time to gently remove the heat pad and flannel and wipe the excess castor oil off with wipes or an old towel.
- Make sure to wipe off any excess castor oil before getting dressed and going to bed.
Remember that castor oil removes color from anything it touches, so cover your couch, change your clothes, take precautions so you don’t touch anything when it’s on your hands.
How often should you do castor oil packs?
If you’re dealing with a chronic condition or have a cyst or fibroid you are shrinking, the goal should be to use them daily for at least 4-6 weeks. Aim for a duration of 30 minutes to an hour each time. You can do it for longer if you’re comfortable, though.
How long do castor oil packs take to work?
This depends on what you are using them for. For something like digestive issues, you might seem movement after just one castor oil pack. If you’re using them to shrink a fybroid or help balance your thyroid, you may need to use them consistently over a longer period of time.
Can I use castor oil packs daily?
Yes, you can! The beauty of castor oil packs is that they are so gentle and comforting for the body and there are usually no negative side effects at all. This means you can use them every day wherever needed. The only time you wouldn’t want to use castor oil packs is over your midsection during your period.
I love castor oil packs. They are like a super cleanse for your body – and encourages your body to do a better job of what it should be doing already. But, if you’re sick or struggling with health issues, thats a big heads up that your body needs help improving these basic functions.
And, strangely, castor oil packs can have a subtle shrinking effect on the midsection, too. Yup, the rumors are true, they can help reduce bloat and shrink the tummy.
If you’d like even more detail on the many benefits of castor oil packs, especially for women, check out this helpful post.
Have you tried them before? I would love to hear your castor oil packs success stories.
Have a fabulous day,