Hot Castor oil packs help to stimulate deep circulation of blood and lymph, relieve discomfort and assist with the detoxification of the intestines, liver, spleen, lungs, reproductive organs and can be used on virtually any area of the body.* They can be applied over the abdomen for the treatment of constipation, or over the uterus to heal fibroids, relieve pain and promote the healing of internal scar tissue. Castor oil packs have been traditionally used to remove warts, reduce the size of cysts and other unwanted external growths.
How to prepare and apply a hot castor oil pack
Castor oil can be messy so use old cotton bed clothes and/or towels. Adding baking soda to the wash cycle can help to remove stains. Take time to prepare your space and have what you need to hand.
Be prepared to lie back for 30 – 90 minutes, a castor oil pack is deeply relaxing. I usually lie on a yoga mat and use the time to practice deep breathing. I will have a book or two to hand and a pot of herbal tea or a carafe of mint water. This is a good time for a nap if you are a napper.
You will need:
- Castor oil
- Large glass or stainless steel pan
- Plastic mattress protector and pillow protectors if applying to the head area. (an old shower curtain spread out under an old sheet or bath towel will do the job)
- Several lengths of clean cotton or an old cotton hand towel
- Cling-film to hold it all in place
- A hot water bottle or heat pad
- An old terry-cloth bath robe or old cotton pyjamas to wear
- Cut equal lengths of cotton to the required size to generously cover the affected and surrounding areas. Use three lengths of cotton to make a nice thick pad. I have used old cotton hand towels folded over and they work very nicely.
- Pour the castor oil into a clean glass or stainless steel pan. Soak the cotton pad or towel in the castor oil and heat in the oven or place in a glass bowl and sit the bowl in pan of hot water.
- Wash the areas to be treated with a solution of 50% warm water and 50% apple cider vinegar.
- Wring out the castor oil soaked pad to remove excess oil and apply directly to the areas being treated.
- Use cling-film to hold it all in place.
- Put on your robe or nightclothes, secure the hot water bottle or heat pads over the areas to maintain heat. Improvise: tie an extra length of cotton around a heat pad to secure it if necessary. Get comfortable, cover yourself with a blanket if you want and allow yourself to sink into a deep restful sleep. Use the time to read, listen to relaxing music or practice deep breathing.
- When completed, use a natural soap to clean the area of oil. Follow with a wash of warm water and baking soda to soothe any irritations. Finish with a rinse of clear water.
- You can reuse the pad, place in a glass jar with a lid or store in a sealed plastic bag and keep in the fridge. Once you see it becoming discoloured with stains from toxins or if it begins to smell rancid, discard it and prepare a fresh pad.
Repeated applications are usually required to see results, although you will immediately benefit from the deep relaxation it produces. Enjoy the experience and allow an adequate amount of time for the castor oil pack to work.
It has been said and I must concur that the Castor oil hot pack (hot formentation) is, without doubt, the high monarch of all herbal compresses, it is the Mohammed Ali, the Florence Nightingale, the ’32 Ford Coup, the sensual Sultan of Swat of all poultices. I suggest that whenever you don’t know what to do for an ailing acquaintance, treat them to a Castor oil hot pack.~ James Green, Herbalist¹
The number and regularity of applications will depend on the condition you are working to heal. Edgar Cayce recommended applying the pack for 3 days in a row, followed by a break of 4 days.²
*CAUTION: Do not consume castor oil. It is safe for external application only and should not be applied to broken skin. Castor oil is derived from the castor bean, Ricinus communis. It works as an external application because it is similar to the natural oils of the human body.
(1) Herbal Medicine Maker Handbook. Green J. Crossing Press, 2000. p. 287.
(2) Castor Oil Pack.Cayce Health Database. Online article. Available at: http://www.edgarcayce.org/are/holistic_health/data/thcast1.html (accessed 23 June 2016)