Monday, August 11, 2008

The Castor Oil Pack

The Castor Oil Pack
            The castor bean (Oleum Ricine), also known as Palma Christi, due to its shape and healing properties, is known principally as a cathartic (strong laxative).  A gentler use is in the form of a pack placed over the abdomen, usually with heat applied.  The oil is absorbed into the lymphatic circulation to provide a soothing, cleansing, and nutritive treatment.
            The castor oil pack has many applications, and is specific in cases of uterine fibroids and ovarian cysts that are non-malignant.  Other conditions which respond well include: headaches, liver disorders, constipation, intestinal disorders, gallbladder inflammation or stones, conditions with poor elimination, night time urinary frequency and inflamed joints.
            It is NOT to be used with pregnancy, bleeding or during menstruation.
Materials Needed:
            Castor oil, 2 sheets of plastic (garbage bags OK), 36"x18" white cotton or wool flannel, heating pad or hot water bottle, old sheet, wool blanket, pillows, baking soda.


1.   Fold flannel into 3 thickness to fit over your entire abdomen.


2.   Soak flannel with the castor oil.  Fold flannel in half and strip excess oil from pack, unfold.


3.   You can then heat the entire pack in a microwave for 1 to 1 ½ minutes.


4.   Lay wool blanket, old sheet, large sheet of plastic and old towel out on the surface you will be lying on.  This will prevent staining.


5.   Lie on your back, with your feet elevated (use of pillow under your knees and feet works well), placing flannel over abdomen, cover with a small sheet of plastic and towel and then place a heating pad or hot water bottle on top.


6.  Wrap yourself in the sheet and wool blanket.


7.   Leave pack on for 45-60 minutes.  This is an excellent time to now practice visualization, meditation or relaxation breathing (this involves placing 1 hand on your diaphragm and the other on your lower abdomen.  As you breath in, force your lower abdomen to swell like a balloon.  With each breath out, practice relaxing your jaw and shoulders.  As you practice more, relax all muscles in your body).  Alternatively to these you may just sleep.  Some people will wear the pack all night using an ace bandage to hold it in place.


8.   After finishing, to remove the oil, wash with a solution of 2 tablespoons of baking soda to 1 quart water or BioKleen Citrus soapTM.


9.   Store the pack in your fridge in a large zip-lock bag.  Reuse the pack several times, adding more oil as needed to keep the pack saturated.  Replace the pack after it begins to change color. 


10. For maximum effectiveness, it is necessary to apply the pack as often as possible.  Try for at least 4 consecutive days per week for at least 4-6 weeks.  Patients who use the pack daily will receive the most beneficial effects.

The "DO ANYWHERE" Castor Oil Pack
  1. Soak flannel in castor oil until saturated.


  1. Heat in microwave 1 to 1 ½ minutes until hot.
  1. Apply to abdomen and put an opened plastic bag or piece of plastic wrap on top of the flannel.


  1. Then wrap abdomen with an old towel so it overlaps at front.


  1. Tie this comfortably tight by using 2 ace bandages, one around the ribs and the other around the waist, to keep the pack close to the body.


  1. Apply heating pad over this to maintain heat.


  1. Wrap up in a robe/gown and read or relax for 45-60 minutes.


  1. Store pack as previously described.


  1. Use the pack as often as possible.
Alternative Method:
            Many patients now apply the castor oil directly to the abdomen without the flannel pack.  You then proceed as before covering with plastic, towel, and place a heating pad or hot water bottle on top.  This is often applied for the entire night and in the morning the castor oil will be totally absorbed through the skin.  Remember to use old sheets on your bed as the castor oil does stain (which cannot be removed).
Thanks to D.W. Thom, D.