Castor Oil – coming from the seeds (or beans) of the Ricinus communis plant, is an oil rich in antioxidants and Ricinoleic Acid (RA) and also contains small amounts of linoleic, oleic and stearic acid. The healthiest and safest version of castor oil comes from de-hulling the bean, then cold-pressing the seeds to produce the rich and viscous oil.
Castor oil packs have been used by healers to help reduce a variety of health conditions for many generations. Placed over your abdomen or liver, these packs are used to improve liver detoxification, breakdown kidney stones, reduce period pain, reduce symptoms of autoimmunity, support uterine and ovarian health, improve lymphatic circulation and reduce inflammation.
To DIY: Mix two to four drops of an essential oil – depending on what you’re treating – with enough warm castor oil to lightly soak a piece of cloth, (either a lightweight tea towel, or a piece of linen, or even a face washer). Castor oil has a rather strong smell, so be ready.
Btw, you can buy packs that include a piece of flannel cloth and a pack, with straps – so you’re all sorted. Just Google ‘castor oil packs’. (See images.)
Wring out the cloth to remove any excess oil, then place it over your abdomen or liver for at least 30 minutes, with a heat source like a wheat pack or hot water bottle over the top of it. This helps to stimulate lymph and liver function. Lie flat in bed, and perhaps cover your eyes with an eye pillow and use this time of quiet relaxation to go within.
Placing the pack on the right side of the abdomen or the whole abdomen will help support the liver and digestive systems, as well as reproductive and colon health. These packs are used also to relieve pain. Aim to do it 3 times a week, and relax.
Castor oil packs can be a bit messy, so I wrap mine in a plastic-free cover like a bees wax wrap, or an apron. Be aware of any skin sensitivities, so avoid applying the oils directly to your skin.
Side note – I was once at a sanitarium (health retreat/hospital) in Austria, and part of the program was a daily liver pack, such as this one above. Instead of the oil-soaked cloth though, they used flaked pieces of dried burdock root (a great liver herb) that had been warmed and stuffed in a plastic zip lock bag. It was delivered to my room like this, so all I had to do was lay down on my bed, put a light towel over my abdomen and then the compress over the top. Gawd it was nice. And I really did feel the benefits. Gut and reproductive pain, as well as pent up anger and resentment – all but disappeared using these packs daily for the 5 days I was there.
Either way you decide to do it – it’s going to help.