Thirty years ago I soaked a piece of unbleached organic cotton in cold pressed organic Castor oil, placed it on my belly, wrapped myself in saran wrap, and then placed a hot water bottle on my belly as part of the detox portion of my holistic practitioner course. Over the course of my practice as an Aromatherapist and Reflexologist, I recommended castor oil packs to most of my clients, for a myriad of reasons, with a whole host of benefits. Everyone loved the outcomes but hated the mess.
Castor oil packing has been used for centuries, in healing rituals around the world, from Chinese Medicine to Ayurveda to Naturopathic Medicine, primarily to reduce inflammation, regulate digestion, detox the liver, hormone balance, and stress relief.
Why Castor Oil?
Castor oil contains an active component known as ricinoleic acid, which is an anti-inflammatory. Therefore, using a castor oil pack automatically moves your body into “rest and digest” when we are in this rest phase our bodies respond best to treatment.
How can it work on my organs when it is just on my skin?
I used to get this question all the time as an Aromatherapist in regard to essential oils getting into the skin and then into the bloodstream. We tend to forget that our skin is porous it takes in whatever we put on it, so if you put toxins on your skin, you absorb it. Therefore when we are trying to help our body putting nourishment on the skin to get to the bloodstream is a huge benefit. Remember the skin is the largest organ.
In my practice I have found so many amazing uses for Castor oil packs. Here are some of my favourites:
Liver Inflammation, Cleansing, and Detox:
We are constantly exposed to thousands of toxins, they are in the foods we eat, the air we breathe, the water that we drink, and the products and medications we put into and onto our bodies. The body is absorbing all of these toxins on a daily basis and it is the job of the liver to get rid of them all. Wearing a castor oil pack over the liver, lowers inflammation, stimulates circulation, and helps promote healthy levels of glutathione (the body’s master antioxidant and cleansing molecule) which help keep your detox mechanisms running smooth. The castor oil pack also helps to reduce the inflammation of the liver.
**Pack on the right side of the body just under the rib cage**
Constipation & Bloating
Castor oil packs have been found to be just as effective as laxatives without the “explosive” ending. Castor oil tends to stimulate prostaglandin receptors that help to move the smooth muscle of the intestines. Being unable to eliminate waste from the body can feel horrible, castor oil packing puts the body in a state of rest while stimulating the intestines to move the bowels. We need to get the junk out of our body so it doesn’t get reabsorbed, getting rid of constipation is crucial to feeling good in the body.
**Pack on the mid to lower abdomen**
Castor oil packs work very similarly for painful periods as they do for constipation, it tends to stimulate the prostaglandin receptors that help to move the muscles of the uterus, helping to ease the pain of the shedding of the uterine lining. Once again the castor oil helps to put the body into a state of rest and digest which allows the body to relax.
**Pack on the lower abdomen and pelvis**
Insomnia and Stress
As you can see from all the reasons above the castor oil packs tend to assist the parasympathetic nervous system and puts the body into a rest and digest pattern. Therefore, if you are having issues falling asleep or if you have had a really stressful day look no further than a castor oil pack to allow your body to fall into a restful and peaceful state.
Kidney inflammation and filtration
A Castor oil pack can be just what you need if you are dealing with any kidney infection or inflammation or if you are trying to get your kidneys to filter. Being placed on the kidneys they stimulate the smooth muscle of the kidneys and help to reduce inflammation. I like to add a little bit of juniper oil to my kidney packs to help aid in better-functioning kidneys.
**Pack on the mid back, where you might find your love handles **
Even more benefits and relief of common ailments
Hair and scalp repair
And so much more
There's a new pack in town
Thirty years later I castor oil pack quite differently, Queen of the Thrones developed an amazing heatless, less messy Castor oil pack and it makes it easier than ever to castor oil pack 3-4 times a week. Personally I put my pack on every night sometimes on my liver and other times on my kidneys.