The Miracle of Castor Oil
Looking for a natural way to improve your health? Look no further than Castor Oil. First popularized by famed bedside healer Edgar Cayce, castor oil has become a household staple for TCM faithfuls.
Castor oil is derived from the seeds of Ricinus communis, better known as the castor plant. Its main constituent is ricinoleic acid and is responsible for many of its unique healing properties. Ricinoleic acid is said to foster detoxification and is known for its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antifungal properties.
What Does Castor Oil Do?
From a TCM perspective, castor oil moves blood and body fluids and is an effective treatment for pain and moving stagnation in the body. It strengthens the immune system, facilitates the movement of lymph, improves digestion, and alleviates constipation. Its re-absorption properties have also been shown to shrink and/or eliminate tumors, fibroids, and cysts.
It has also been touted for a wide range of gynecological issues. As stated above, this treatment can help break down cysts, but it can also remedy scar tissue, endometriosis, and blockages in the fallopian tubes. Alleviation of menstrual pain through the drawing out of toxins and stimulation of healthy blood flow all lend a hand in the promotion of overall uterine health.
What is a Castor Oil Pack and How Do You Use Them?
A castor oil pack is a piece of cloth soaked in castor oil that can be applied to the skin. Choose organic cotton or wool flannel that can soak up a lot of liquid. Another option is to purchase a specialized pack that will be sure to withstand the wear and tear of your new favorite treatment! One of our favorites is from Queen of Thrones.
These packs are to be used outside your body, with or without heat. The idea is that the pack is soaked with more oil than you can simply rub on your skin. This allows for greater absorption of the oil.
Castor oil packs can be used both day and night. If used during the day, aim for an hour of continuous application. If used in the evening, you can place the pack on your abdomen before bed and sleep through the night!
The Benefits of Castor Oil:
- Helps you feel good, promotes relaxation, brings pleasure, and stimulates dopamine. Because the pack aka the stimulus is soft to the touch and pleasurable, it moves your body from a stressed state into a relaxed state. Studies show that stimulation of the skin lights up areas of the brain exactly as pleasurable, dopamine-stimulating fatty meals would. A big difference is that Castor Oil Packs are way healthier than an excessively fatty meal!
- Reduces pain and inflammation. The reduction of inflammation is the most important property of castor oil because where there is inflammation, there is sickness, toxicity, and overall distress throughout the body.
- Increases levels of glutathione. Glutathione is a master cleansing agent. This incredible molecule helps with the elimination of most if not all, toxic substances from the body including things like dreaded heavy metals.
- Helps with elimination by stimulating the smooth muscles of the body! Castor oil stimulates smooth muscle contraction. Smooth muscle is what the intestines and guts are composed of, as is the uterus. Working with Castor Oil Packs stimulates these to move.
- Promotes a balanced microbiome, happy gut, and biofilm breakdown. Having a healthy microbiome has massive implications for your overall health such as a balanced mood, regular bowel movements, reduced abdominal pain, including bloating and gas, reduced inflammation, improved autoimmune and hormonal problems, and many more.
Ready to get started? Here are some frequently asked questions:
Is heat required? Heat is optional!
Can I use castor oil packs during my period? Yes, they are totally safe to use during your period! And no, they will not make you bleed more than you regularly would, but you may notice the number of days in which you bleed is a little heavier, but the overall duration of days spent bleeding is shorter.
How often do I need to replace my pack? Castor oil packs can be used daily for approximately 2-3 months before needing to be replaced.
Do I need to wash my pack between uses? No, castor oil packs do not need washing so long as you keep the oil out of the seams.
How often can I use my pack? Packs can be used daily. We encourage at least one hour, though overnight use is best!
Placement dictates healing!
The most common placement of the pack is on the liver, underneath the rib cage. This area covers many of the digestive organs, including the stomach, pancreas, small and large intestines, adrenals, kidneys, and the many lymph nodes in this area.
You can also place your pack lower on the abdomen to focus on uterine health. Placement here increases circulation throughout the entire pelvic cavity. Some conditions that can be treated include PCOS, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, uterine fibroids, and painful menses.
Castor oil packs can also be used locally for the treatment of inflamed or strained joints and muscles, swollen glands, and stubborn scar tissue.
Below is an (almost) all-encompassing list of treatments Castor Oil Packs can be used for:
- Stimulate and support the immune system
- Drain lymphatic system
- Increase lymphocyte production
- Help with deep sleep and relaxation
- Alleviate anxiety and depression symptoms
- Mood stabilization through dopamine (our feel-good neurotransmitter) and oxytocin (the love and attachment hormone) stimulation
- Calm the nervous system
- Improve antioxidant production
- Decrease inflammation
- Reduce cramping in menstrual flow
- Aid in scar tissue reduction
- Improve digestion, absorption, and frequency of bowel movements
- Support hormonal imbalances such as estrogen dominance, PCOS, menopause, PMS, PMDD, amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, fertility issues ovarian cysts, fibroids, and fibrocystic breasts
Recommendations for use and treatment:
For slow bowels, lymphatic drainage, immune support, and physical pain apply castor oil packs whenever you feel like you need support.
For uterine and menstrual issues, apply packs 3-4 times per week for at least a month. If you experience a heavy menstrual flow, do not apply packs during your period.
For scar tissue, apply 3-4 times per week until you begin to feel a softening in the texture and a decrease in resistance when you massage your scar tissue.
Castor Oil (Without the Packs!) – Digestion and Elimination
Castor Oil can also be used sans pack, particularly for digestion and elimination. This oil can be taken by mouth as a natural laxative to promote bowel movements and reduce pain. It can Castor oil improves digestion and reduces common abdominal cramps, gas, nausea, and vomiting by decreasing the level of toxins in the stomach.
A Castor oil detox could be very beneficial for those who are suffering from constipation but before you ingest castor oil, be sure to reach out to your physician for guidance and to ensure that you are a candidate for its use.
Castor Oil (Without the Packs!) – Hair and Eyelashes!
Castor oil is probably best known for its digestion and elimination properties as discussed above. But it’s also long been used by beauty experts all over the world for many purposes, from acne and wrinkle treatment to hydration and hair growth!
Its positive effects on hair growth have made it a popular choice amongst both men and women. The secret to Castor oil’s magic for hair growth is, you guessed it, ricinoleic acid! The oil also contains vitamin E, which helps protect your lashes and hair from external wear and tear. And because Castor oil is both an emollient and an occlusive it can penetrate the strands and keep moisture from seeping out. This mega hydrating component keeps your hair and lashes from becoming dry and brittle and breaking off before natural shedding leading to fuller, shinier, softer hair!
To apply castor oil to hair, simply apply a few drops to your scalp and rub it in. Be sure to thoroughly wash the oil out after approximately 2 hours! For lashes, dip a cotton ball in a small amount of oil and swipe over your lash line. We recommend applying just before bed and washing off in the morning!
We hope you’ve found this blog post helpful, and that the application of Castor Oil Packs becomes a regular part of your health and wellness routine!