Castor Oil Packs: Detox and Improve Circulation

Castor oil has been used to assist in healing the body throughout the world. It was used therapeutically in ancient India, China, Persia, Egypt, Africa, Greece, Rome, the Americas and in 17th century Europe.

It is known to be effective for many diverse types of pain, liver and gallbladder stimulation and cleansing/detox, digestive problems, skin disorders such as eczema or psoriasis, menopause symptoms, to boost the immune system, and lymphatic circulation. By using castor oil packs, the flow of lymph is increased throughout the body. This helps to speed the removal of toxins surrounding the cells and to reduce the size of swollen lymph nodes. 

The effectiveness of castor oil may be due in part to its unusual chemical composition. Castor oil is a triglyceride of fatty acids. Almost 90% of its fatty acid content consists of ricinoleic acid. Research has shown ricinoleic acid to be effective in preventing the growth of numerous species of viruses, bacteria, yeasts, and molds. Due to the many beneficial aspects of this fatty acid component, castor oil can be applied topically to treat a wide variety of health complaints.

Castor Oil Pack Instructions

  1. Select a target area to be treated. To aid the reproductive organs place the pack on the abdomen being sure that the area between the umbilicus and pubic bone is covered.
  2. Prepare 3 layers of cotton flannel. Fold or cut the cloth into three sheets, creating a pad of adequate size to cover the area to be treated. For example, to use a castor oil pack over the abdominal area, the size of the flannel cloth might be 10”x 8” and three sheets thick.
  3. Cut a plastic sheet. The sheet should be somewhat larger than the flannel cloth. The plastic is used to protect the heating pad from getting oily. Using a plastic garbage bag normally works fairly well, but it is best to avoid using plastic grocery bags, since there are usually printed with ink on one side which can dissolve and spread when exposed to castor oil.
  4. Saturate the cloth with castor oil. Place the flannel cloth on top of the plastic sheet. The cloth should be wet, but not dripping. The saturated cloth should be then placed directly on the target area with the plastic sheet on top of it. Your plastic sheet should cover the entire exterior of the saturated flannel, since castor oil is likely to stain any fabric it touches.
  5. Place the heating pad over the plastic sheet. Set the heating pad on either a low or medium setting, or to a comfortable degree. The heat will promote absorption, increase circulation, and encourage the body to relax. This is generally left in place for 1⁄2 to one hour and can be left on for up to 1.5 hours. You may place a bath towel over the top of the heating pad to help hold in the heat and an elastic bandage to hold it in place. Caution: Heat should not be used in conditions where it is normally contraindicated, such as appendicitis, diabetic neuropathy or over the abdomen during pregnancy (including after ovulation if you might be pregnant). However, the castor oil pack may be used without heat in these conditions.
  6. Wash Off Area. After using the castor oil pack, cleanse the skin using a washcloth and organic soap. Washing the area helps clear acidic toxins that have been drawn out of the body during the treatment and helps prevent reabsorbing these toxins.

Castor Oil Pack Without Heat

An alternative method is to apply the castor oil pack without heat, using a towel wrapped around the body, with safety pins to hold it in place. This can be left on for several hours, overnight, or for an entire 24-hour period.

Re-use of the Same Castor Oil Pack. Each cotton flannel pack may be used up to 10 times if, between usages, it is kept in a plastic container and refrigerated. With use, the pack gradually absorbs toxins. Therefore, after 10 uses, discard the pack and make a new one. It is not recommended to try to wash out the pack for re-use.

Frequency of Castor Oil Packs. In general, the castor oil packs are recommended 2 times per week, for 1⁄2 to 1.5 hours per session. Or as needed for PMS or menstrual cramps. At first, it may work better to skip a day between the use of each pack, rather than using them on consecutive days.

The use of castor oil packs should always be gentle, without side effects. Cleansing reactions, such as a rash, are rare. If they occur, it usually indicates that the body’s ability to eliminate toxins is not sufficient yet. It may be necessary to temporarily decrease the frequency or length of time of using the packs. The most common cleansing reaction is a rash that may occur at the site of the pack. If this occurs, it is typically noticed during the first few applications of the pack.

Castor oil packs cannot be used too much. Many people continue to use castor oil packs periodically throughout their lives to help boost the immune system, to keep the lymphatic circulation clear, and to assist in proper eliminations. 

(Adapted from

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