My patients call this “magic oil”. While I know there is more than magic going on, castor oil is very versatile and can help you heal in many different ways.
Castor oil packs are the most important thing you can do to support your lymphatic health. Your lymphatic system is your garbage collectors, so it is very important it is working properly.
Castor oil is from the castor bean. When applied topically, it increases lymphatic fluid movement thereby aiding waste collection and elimination. It also draws white blood cells to the area. White blood cells are your patrols helping to locate and eliminate pathogens.
Another benefit of castor oil is its affinity with the nervous system, helping it to calm and balance. I cover this wonderful oil more deeply in my upcoming guide to self-care, Nourishing Space Within: Essentials of Self-Care.
Castor Oil Pack
Castor oil packs aid in elimination and detoxification processes in the body, through some mechanism that is likely related to its anodyne, numbing, and anti-inflammatory properties. You can find castor oil at most natural food stores or in pharmacies. Look for cold-pressed and ideally organic.
Castor oil packs are supportive for many different issues such as uterine fibroids, benign ovarian cysts, headaches, liver disorders, abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, intestinal disorders, gallbladder inflammation or stones, night time urinary frequency, and inflamed joints. Consult your physician before using castor oil packs during pregnancy, active ulcers, or if you have bleeding disorders.
You can find castor oil at most natural food stores or in pharmacies. Look for cold-pressed and ideally organic versions. Results are cumulative and best when the pack is applied nightly or at least four nights in a row each week.
- Clean, dry flannel cloth or hand towel, made of cotton or wool (20” to 40” x 24” to 48”)
- Hot water bottle or heating pack made of flax, rice, or gel
- Castor oil
- One or two old, large towels
- Large plastic bag with zipper closure
- Fold the cloth so that it fits over your entire abdomen. If there are breast or lung issues, the cloth will need to cover the entire chest and abdomen.
- Lay down in a comfortable position on an old towel with all your supplies near you. The towel will prevent staining to your bed. Castor oil stains are difficult to remove, so be cautious.
- Drizzle 1 or 2 tablespoons of castor oil on the cloth. Fold cloth in half to disperse the oil, then unfold and apply to abdomen and/or chest. Cover castor oil cloth with an old towel.
Note that in the first couple of weeks, you may need to add an additional tablespoon of oil every few days. Eventually, the cloth will be saturated enough that reapplication of oil will only be needed every couple of weeks. The cloth should NOT be dripping. It should have just enough oil, so if you were to touch the compress to a piece of wood, it would polish the wood with no drips or runs.
- Place a heating pack over the towel. Cover yourself with a warm blanket.
- Leave the castor oil pack on for 30 to 60 minutes. This is an excellent time to practice your breathing exercises, visualization, or meditation. Individuals with chemical sensitivity disorders may have more symptoms after using the castor oil pack, especially at the beginning of treatment, since it stimulates the process of elimination and detoxification. If this is true for you, start with only five minutes a day and slowly increase over time.
- It is fine to fall asleep with the castor oil pack on, as long as you are not using an electrical heating source.
- When done, you may leave oil on the skin to completely absorb (I recommend this option), or remove the oil with a solution of 2 tablespoons baking soda to 1 quart of water, or hair conditioner applied alone works well. There should only be a thin layer of oil left on the skin after the pack.
- When you are done, store the pack in a large plastic bag with an air-tight closure. The castor oil pack can be used repeatedly. If the smell or color changes, dispose of the pack and create another.
NEED A STARTER PACK to get going? Check out Dr. Allegra’s Self-Care Starter Pack here!
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Dr. Allegra’s Self-Care Start Kit includes organic castor oil, an organic cotton pack, dry skin brush, and a copy of her book, Nourishing Space Within, to help guide you to better health. Check it out here!