Healing Secrets of the Castor Oil Pack
Castor oil is a vegetable oil obtained from the castor bean; which is not really a bean such as red bean or soy bean. It is the seed of a flowering castor oil plant. Though used for thousands of years to treat a wide variety of health ailments, there are limited scientific studies conducted to assess and support its medical benefits.
The fact is: Castor beans do contain a potent toxin called ricin. This toxin naturally protects the plant from insect pests. However, once the bean is processed and oil is extracted to make castor oil, ricin is eliminated and destroyed. The final product makes castor oil safe for human use.
The healing properties of castor oil
Castor oil is 40% to 60% rich in triglycerides, mainly ricinolein; the underlying healing property. It is used largely to treat gastrointestinal and genitourinary problems – particularly inflammation, pain and infections. Advocates claim castor oil is most effective for stimulating the immune system and strengthening the the lymphatic system.
Naturopathically, castor oil decreases inflammation allowing the liver to function optimally, increases blood and lymph circulation, improves the elimination of toxic substances in the body and promotes the healing of tissues. Due to these effects, it can be used to decrease pain, improve digestion and help in the treatment of many conditions including uterine fibroids, non-malignant ovarian cysts, endometriosis, headaches, migraines, constipation, intestinal disorders, and gallbladder and liver conditions.*
So, how do we use castor oil to heal our body?
Well recently, I stumbled upon a home remedy of the ‘castor oil pack‘. Popularized by the late Amercian psychic healer Edgar Cayce, the castor oil pack is simply the external application of castor oil on one’s body (usually the abdominal area). Using a piece of wool flannel saturated in castor oil, apply it to any part of the body topped with a heat source (ie. electric heating pad or hot water bottle).
The process of using a castor oil pack can be quite messy (oily) and time consuming. But if you are keen to explore another form of natural healing, this is worth a try.
Take the following steps:
1. Take a clean piece of wool flannel (budget option: an old pair of wool socks or sweater), fold it into 2-3 layers. It should be large enough to cover the entire abdominal area.
2. Pour castor oil onto the cloth. Make sure it is fully absorbed and completely saturated with the oil.
3. Place the oil-soaked wool flannel on your abdomen. For women using the castor oil pack for ovarian-related issues, place this on the lower part of your abdomen.
4. Place an electrical heating pad (budget option: hot water bottle) on top of the wool flannel to add heat to the oil. TIP: You might want to place a plastic sheet as a barrier between the oily wool flannel and your heating pad.
5. Lie down for 45-60mins. You can read a book, listen to music or watch a movie. Whatever you do with your castor oil pack on, just try to remain still and rested.
6. When you are finished, remove the oil pack and place it into a clean empty glass jar, container or sealable bag. Then refrigerate it.
This should be done on a 3 days on, 3 days off practice to reap the benefits of this oil pack. After a month or two, you can cut back to once or twice a week.
The next day:
1. Add a tablespoon of castor oil onto the same wool flannel you used the previous day, to make sure the cloth is adequately saturated with oil.
2. Repeat step 3 from above.
Most common castor oil pack mistakes are:
#1. Adding too much oil. Some people add too much oil or add oil too frequently. Always check the density of your wool flannel. It should be saturated enough to leave a think film of oil on your belly. If you find the application too messy, having to deal with lots of oil dripping off and pools of stickness, then you have added too much oil. This is the #1 biggest mistake most people make!
#2. Washing the cloth. Castor oil is thick and sticky. It can leave an oily film on your laundry pails and washing machine. Use your cloth for a few months, then toss it out and start with a new one. Remember to keep the used cloth in the same container or jar (to avoid contamination) for storage.
#3. Using castor oil near favorite fabrics. Be careful. Castor oil stains! Do not use this treatment on your favorite cushion sofa or luxurious Egyptian cotton bedsheets. And do not wear your favorite shirt and shorts/pants.
Watch this video for an illustration of how to do a castor oil treatment properly.
How exactly does castor oil work in the body?
Once heated, the ricinolein acid from the oil diffuses into the skin, and travels into the organs and blood vessels. It acts as a mild irritant that helps to stimulate movement of fluids, activate immune cells and encourage peristalsis (muscular contractions and relaxation that occur in the digestive tract).
As you can imagine, this is not an easy treatment to do at home. It involves a lot of time, patience and cleaning. But if you stick to it, castor oil pack is a fast, natural and effective way to detoxify the body getting it back to tip-top functional condition.
For the ladies, use this treatment with care when you are menstruating as it may cause heavier flow. For pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, do not use this oil pack.
Castor oil can be found in shops along Little India (Dunlop area). I found a pure 150ml bottle of castor oil at Mustafa for $2.40. Super cheap. You can also opt to buy organic castor oil at your local health food store. It will probably cost about 10x (or more) of the above stated price.
*Cited from Greenster Magazine at www.greenster.com/magazine/castor-oil-packs