Castor oil packs are one of my favorite economical ways to gently detox the body. I personally used them on my liver and thyroid when I was recovering from Hashimoto’s disease, and I recommend them to my Nutritional Therapy clients often.
How do castor oil packs help the body?
Lymphatic congestion is a major factor leading to inflammation and disease. Lymphocytes are your immune system’s disease-fighting cells and are produced and stored mainly in your lymphatic tissue (thymus gland, spleen, and lymph nodes). Hundreds of miles of lymphatic tubules allow waste to be collected from your tissues and transported to your blood for elimination, a process referred to as lymphatic drainage.
When your lymphatic system is not working properly, waste and toxins can build up and make you sick.
This is where castor oil comes in. When castor oil is absorbed through your skin (according to Cayce and McGarey) your lymphocyte count increases. Increased lymphocytes speed up the removal of toxins from your tissues, which promotes healing.
What can castor oil packs be used for?
- Liver disorders
- Thyroid cysts and nodules
- Non-cancerous uterine fibroids
- Ovarian cysts
- Intestinal disorders
- Gallbladder inflammation or stones
- Inflamed joints
- Lymphatic drainage
- Conditions with poor elimination
- Headaches and migraines
- Cysts in the breast tissue
- General liver detoxification
- Lung infections
- To support the immune system during a cold or flu
Here are some examples of how castor oil packs can be used:
- If you are under-converting T4 to T3, daily castor oil packs over the liver can help increase this conversion.
- To shrink cysts or nodules, you can place a castor oil pack over the thyroid for 15 minutes a day.
- To reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines, you can do a castor oil pack over the liver once daily for one month and see if this makes a difference.
- For congested lymph nodes (under the arms, on the neck, etc.) do a castor oil pack directly over the area of concern.
- Do a castor oil pack over the entire abdomen daily to help ease constipation.
- To help speed up the healing from fatty liver disease (along with a nutrient-dense diet) do a castor oil pack over the liver daily.
A castor oil pack is very easy and only requires a few supplies. The castor oil and cotton flannel last for many, many months, so don’t worry about running out any time soon.
Here’s what you need:
1. A bottle of organic castor oil. I recommend Heritage Store, or Premier Research Labs
2. A piece of organic cotton flannel
3. A heating pad or hot water bottle
4. A large gallon-size ziploc bag
5. An old towel (castor oil permanently stains, so it’s best to use an old towel)
How to do a castor oil pack:
1. Place the piece of flannel in a large glass dish (glass Tupperware works great!).
2. Drizzle castor oil over the flannel until it’s saturated.
3. Plug in the heating pad next to your bed and turn it on to medium or fill up your hot water bottle.
4. Set the dish with the flannel, the ziploc bag, and old towel on your nightstand or next to the bed.
5. Lie down and place the cotton flannel on the area of concern. For example: the liver, thyroid, breast, joint, etc.
6. Put the ziploc bag on top of the flannel.
7. Place the heating pad or hot water bottle on top of the ziploc and flannel.
8. Place the old towel on top of the heating pad.
9. Lie down for 1-2 hours, remove and wipe the area with the old towel to remove any castor oil.
10. Repeat as necessary.
When is a castor oil pack not recommended?
It’s not recommended to do a castor oil pack over the abdomen if you have an IUD because it could cause the IUD to dislodge or release excess copper into the system. It’s also not recommended when pregnant, breastfeeding, during menses or if you struggle with IBS, Colitis or diarrhea.
And, one last piece of advice:
If you do a castor oil pack and you get any kind of rash, this can be a sign that your liver needs to detox. So I recommend doing the castor oil pack over the liver for 3-4 weeks, and then doing the castor oil pack again over the part of the body that was reacting (like the thyroid, abdomen, etc.).
Note: This post was originally published on May 21, 2014 and updated on May 25, 2018.