Detoxing is crucial to supporting our bodies in this toxic world. There are many valuable ways to detox. One of my favorites is the castor oil pack.
What is Castor Oil?
Castor oil has been used for over 3,000 years. It comes from the castor seed, native to India. It is extremely high in ricinoleic acid, which is thought to be responsible for its health promoting abilities. It was once called “palma christe” because its leaves resembled the hands of Christ. It is important to know that while castor oil is said to have health benefits, the castor seed itself can be a deadly and internal use of even castor oil warrants caution.
“Castor oil (Ricinus Communis) has been around for a long time. The Ebers Papyrus, one of the oldest medical textbooks in the world, describes the topical use of castor oil by the early Egyptians, as far back as 1550 B.C. Likewise, the oil of the castor bean has been used in India and China for thousands of years. In medieval Europe, the plant was given the name Palma Christa, since the leaves resemble the human hand.” ~ Healing Powers of Castor Oil
WARNING: Always consult with your healthcare provider prior to using a castor oil pack. DO NOT use a castor oil pack on the abdominal area or low back during pregnancy or during menstrual flow.
WARNING: Do not do a castor oil pack to detox your liver without detoxing your whole body. We need to make sure our kidneys and intestines are detoxed at the same time. We do not want to move the toxins into other areas of our bodies, we want the toxins out of our bodies. Your liver is like the kitchen sink and your colon and large intestines are like the pipes under your kitchen sink. If there is a plug, in the pipes under the sink, the toxins will not drain, causing problems. When you use a castor oil pack you are detoxing your liver and those toxins need to move through your body.
Although castor oil is considered “Generally Regarded As Safe” by the FDA and up to a tablespoon per day is considered approved for internal use, it can cause an extreme digestive upset in some people. Consult your doctor. Castor oil packs do NOT include the internal use of castor oil.
Castor Oil PACK
Castor oil packs are used to improve lymphatic circulation, reduce inflammation and also boost liver detoxification naturally. For maximum benefit, the oil should be placed over the abdomen/liver for a minimum of 45 minutes with an added source of moderate heat to stimulate lymph and liver function.
Always best to get prepared fully before you get started. Trust me, I have gotten stuck in the middle of the process without everything I need at hand. It gets too tricky, so be prepared. When you are prepared, it is really quite simple.
Use quality pure fabric so you are not exposed to chemicals in the fabric.
Supplies (NOT optional)
- High-quality organic castor oil (hexane free): Banyan organic castor oil OR Sky Organics castor oil
- Unbleached and dye-free wool or cotton flannel in 3-4 layers (can be reused up to 30 times)
- Plastic wrap – NOT optional. I have always used trash bags. Use a brand that will not expose you to chemicals.
- Hot water bottle (please do NOT use a heating pad, they generate electromagnetic fields EMFs and defeats the purpose of detoxing)
- Glass container with lid – I use a quart size mason jar (for storing the oil-soaked flannel between uses)
- Old clothes, towels, and/or sheets (castor oil stains)
- Patience – can only be practiced, not purchased
Extra Supplies (optional)
Hand “baby” wipes are an easy way to wipe up your body of remaining castor oil, then trash the wipe with the mess.
A case of mason jars — I use mason jars for everything and they are by far cheaper by the dozen!! Glass is always better than plastic so you are not exposed to the chemicals in plastic.
Wrap bandages instead of towels.
Tips & Tricks
Disposable pack: using 100% Organic Cotton Menstrual Overnight Pads and wrap bandages are great for times that you need to do this without all the mess. You can even do this on the run while you are at work or trying to care for children. Adapt the below instructions below to this disposable pack by 1) placing the saturated overnight pad on your abdomen with the sticky side out 2) wrap your body with wrap bandages 3) cover with plastic 4) get dressed and go.
Not the same deep benefits of a castor oil pack but placing an infrared pad can be beneficial for the liver as well. You are using electricity so there are EMF’s.
The idea is, do what you can, do what you are willing to do. The ONLY effective treatment is the one you will actually use.
- Put all supplies on the kitchen counter
- Put cotton flannel in a large bowl
- Cover with castor oil to the point of saturation but not dripping
- Heat in 150-degree oven for approximately 30 minutes. You want it warm to the touch but not uncomfortable. Always TEST before using.
- While the cloth and castor oil is heating, take the other items to your bed or sofa.
- Make a comfortable place to sit or lay down with the pillows and blanket and a book, computer or music. Get it all just right because it is too hard to get up and grab things.
- Place the following where you will be laying down – within arms reach:
- Trash bag
- Towels and/or clothes or sheets that you don’t mind if they get stained, they will
- Glass jar (or a gallon size freezer bag works) to store the used oil cloth when you are done
- Hot water bottle with the hot water in it
- Glass of water for hydration
- Make your space for laying down exactly how you want it.
- You will need a layer of towel/extra sheet/old clothes under you in case it drips out
- When your castor oil has heated, TEST to make sure it is not too hot to burn you. Then take it to your bed/sofa area and sit down.
- Pull up your top and pull down your bottoms so they will not get oil on them. I wear old clothes just in case.
- Carefully place the warm castor oil pack on your right side of the abdomen or the whole abdomen, which is thought to help support the liver and digestive system.
- Stop!! Make sure that when the warm castor oil pack settles on your skin that it still is not too hot. If it is, raise it and let the air cool it and try again.
- Place a plastic trash bag over the cotton oil pack and wrap the bag around you the best you can to prevent the oil from leaking.
- Place the hot water bottle on top of the plastic bag.
- Place a towel/old sheet/old clothes on top of that.
- Cover with a blanket and settle in for at least 1 hour. The first time you do it, keep it in place up to 1 hour to make sure you do not have uncomfortable effects from the process. Once you know that this process works for you, you can sit still with this warm castor oil pack for up to 3-4 hours. I have known some people who go to bed for the night with it on.
- Always best to be still and quiet for best results. Great time to meditate or listen to soothing music while you rest your eyes. When I was my sickest, I did this and fell asleep for naps.
- If you still are not understanding, watch How to Make a Castor Oil Pack. It sounds more confusing than it is, watching the video can clear up questions. It really is an easy process once you get the hang of it.
I personally have used castor oil packs for the last 22 years without any issues. They have been around for 3,000 years assisting many in their detox efforts.
How have you been detoxing your liver?
Maribeth Baxter, MBEC (Certified Mind-Body Eating Coach)