Sit Down, Oil Up, and Heal Your Body: The Wonder of Castor Oil Packs

As most of my patients will tell you, I have a little saying at the end of my office visits: “If you don’t do anything else I told you today, do the castor oil pack.” Right now you are probably wondering what a castor oil pack is and what it does. If you are one of my patients, you are probably thinking, “I should probably be doing a castor oil pack right now while I’m sitting here surfing the Net.”

To give you an idea about what a castor oil pack does, let me share a story about one of my patients. I once had a patient who I’ll call Sally. Now, Sally was a young woman from Texas. (Please imagine a Texan accent.) Although Sally was a spunky woman, she came to my office complaining of extreme fatigue. She had been to conventional practitioners who had prescribed medications, but she still felt horrible. During our first visit, I prescribed a number of natural medicines, some dietary changes, and these castor oil packs. I told Sally to go home, put some castor oil on a piece of cotton flannel, and put it on her belly for ten minutes. Flash forward to the next day—when I got a call from Sally. (Remember the accent.)

“Oh…my…gosh. What did you do to me?” she said half-jokingly. “I was on the toilet for hours last night.”

I was perplexed. I thought my prescriptions were appropriate, so I inquired further. “Tell me what you did,” I said.

Sally drawled, “I did that castor oil pack for three hours.”

“What?!” I gasped. “I told you ten minutes!”

“I know,” said Sally. “But I’m from Texas, and we’re tough. I didn’t think it was going to do anything.”

Boy, was Sally wrong. She had learned the hard way just how effective castor oil packs can be. (She also told me her new nickname for me was “Dr. Colon Blow,” and now the rest of her family wanted to come see me but were scared.) Over the next few days she continued to detoxify, and even had the return of old side effects from medications she took years before, as they cleared out of her system.

Now I’m not trying to scare you, but merely attempting to illustrate a point. What is normally a soothing external application of castor oil to the abdomen can be a powerful addition to any holistic treatment plan. The castor bean (Oleum ricini), also known as “palma Christi” due to its large palmate leaves and healing properties, is a strong laxative when taken orally. However, its gentler use is in the form of a pack placed over the abdomen for a few minutes a day. The oil is absorbed into the skin and it stimulates lymphatic circulation. It is a cleansing treatment that enhances immune function, balances hormones and heals internal organs.

The castor oil pack is good for just about anything: uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, headaches, liver disorders, constipation, diarrhea, intestinal disorders, gallbladder inflammation or stones, nighttime urinary frequency, inflamed joints, and general detoxification. Some cautions—extremely sensitive patients may experience an increase in their symptoms. If this happens, reduce the length of the castor oil pack application. For the ladies: it is to be used with care during menstruation, as it may create heavier bleeding. Skip it during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

You can pick up castor oil and the cotton flannel at many health food stores or online. Instructions for the pack are indicated on the bottle, but in short, you saturate the flannel with the oil, put it on your abdomen, and relax. You can put a hot water bottle or heating pad over it if you would like. Start with 10â€"15 minutes the first few times you use it, and gradually work up to 45 minutes per day. At first, daily use is recommended for best results. After a month or two, cut back to applying once or twice a week.

This should help you get off to a radiant start for spring. To a healthy, happy and invigorating spring season!

Take care of your (whole) self—

Amy Bader, ND


over 2 years ago, said...

will castor oil packets work for anti aging . ...facials or beauty treatments. Also can you apply it over yr entire Torso for detoxing all organs safely?? thank you


over 2 years ago, said...

Hi im 33 yr old mother of one child, i wasnt havng my periods for last three months I had 2 table spoon of cator oil and 2 tablspoon of olive oil, I was shocked next morning I have my periods started, thanks to castor oil and olive oil, it also helped me with constipation,


over 2 years ago, said...

Why should it not be used in pregnancy? I didn't think of it being something to be cautious of, and used it last week (I'm 9 wks. pregnant). For 4 days or so, my nauseousness was almost completely GONE! I was elated! until my sister suggested I find out if it is safe in pregnancy. So, I'm trying to figure that out. I had it on my front and back for about 1 1/2 hrs. I then showered and went to bed. In the middle of the night, I felt tingling in my liver area and assumed it had really stimulated my liver. Not only was the nauseousness gone, but also that gross taste from my mouth that is so constant in my morning sickness. This is my 9th baby, and I'm running out of time at 40 to figure out a "sure cure" for morning sickness :) Is there more reason for caution that the idea that it could stimulate labor contractions? I would be so grateful if you could help me here, because I'd love to do another pack, but I sure don't want to risk harming this precious little one!


almost 3 years ago, said...

Greetings is castor oil pack usefull for kidney problem? what is the duration of treatment ? is another oil like flaxed oil that act like castor oil? if it effect on liver why cant effect on the othere organ like kidney? thanks dr babak bakhtar


almost 3 years ago, said...

It's very important for human being rely I love it.


about 3 years ago, said...

Woke up with small amount vaginal bleeding after 3 rd night of castor oil packs with deep massage for fibroid. Left on for about 1 hour. Should I stop using them. Did it cause fibroid to be aggravated?


over 3 years ago, said...

hi, i just did a castor oil pack on my lower back and my neck and shoulders. the pain was relieved there but moved to my left arm right beneath the shoulder near my underarm.. a deep aching pain... what is going on?


over 3 years ago, said...

Is there any reason why using the castor oil pack over night is not a good idea. I have large cycts, a small fibroid and blocked Fallopian tubes. Other wise I'm in pretty good health.


over 4 years ago, said...

How can i get the castol oil pack, i,m in nigeria


over 5 years ago, said...

WOW !!, Thanks.... But one must be very careful with 'Castor Oil'. One may buy it in almost any pharmacy, however, it comes for use as a patch - OR- for internal use as a laxative The two should never be interchanged, one for the other. Castor oil for patches is unrefined, cheap and comes in large containers. For internal use, it comes in small containers that says on the label, 'A gentle laxative to be used only occasionally.' For patches, there is fine print, very fine print at the bottom on the back that says "Not to be taken internally" I doubt that the patch oil would be fatal if taken internally, however I am surprised the difference was not noted. I might add, I take only 9 mg (about 6 drops) from an eye dropper in a capsule with the vitamins and other meds I take daily. Last Sept. (2010) was one year anniversary of taking that amounts. My thumb joints are about the same or just a bit less sensitive. Subjective of course, but very cheap and we don't want to overlook the 'plasebo' effect


over 5 years ago, said...

I appreciate the Docs' advice. I just discovered Castor Oil Packs and have been very satisfied with results. I have endometriosis, and used it several times last week and it relieved the pain substantially. Please try this , as it beats drugs. God Bless All!!!!!