Castor Oil Pack- A Step By Step Guide
By Sara Novak
Castor oil packs are a great way to detox your body and especially your liver gently and inexpensively. Our livers are more overwhelmed than ever before. We are exposed to more toxins than in any time in human history. From pollution to plastics, pesticides, building materials, endocrine disruptors, tap water, and the list goes on, our livers are working hard to keep our vessels clean, but they cannot do it alone. This detox method is simple and relaxing, while you are detoxing you can watch your favorite show or fall asleep. This detox goes beyond a juice fast to a deep cleaning machine that gives your body a break. Here is a closer look at the castor oil pack from top to bottom.
What Is castor Oil?
Castor oil is a vegetable based oil pressed from castor beans. It is a clear substance with a consistency similar to corn syrup but it is oh-so-much healthier. Castor oil is a monounsaturated fat that commands a higher price than soybean and canola oil and is therefore used less often in the United States. It is more often used for the preservation of foods in Nepal and Pakistan.
Learn More: 10 Tips To Eliminate Stress Hormones Naturally
Castor Oil Uses
Castor oil has a number of different uses. Here are some of the most well known:
- Labor induction. It is used in traditional medicine for inducing labor and helping to dilate the cervix. Research published in the Journal of Maternal - Fetal & Neonatal Medicine found that castor oil “is related to a higher probability of labor initiation within 24 hours. Castor oil can be considered a safe non-pharmacological method for labor induction.” Another study published in the journal Women and Birth found that “[n]early 91 percent of women in the study who consumed the castor oil cocktail to induce labor were able to give birth vaginally with little to no maternal or fetal complications.”
- Constipation. It hass also been used to treat constipation and to clear out the digestive tract. A study publishing in the Proceedings for the National Academy of Health found that castor oil was a potent laxative. “After oral ingestion of castor oil, ricinoleic acid is released by lipases in the intestinal lumen, and considerable amounts of ricinoleic acid are absorbed in the intestine,” producing a strong laxative effect.
- Skin issues. Other research has shown that castor oil may be effective for the treatment of skin problems. Research published in the journal Dermatologic Surgery found that a phenol and castor oil peel was effective for the treatment of melasma and skin pigmentation.
Castor oil is also thought to treat cysts, condition hair, and remove dandruff. It has been used in alternative medicine to treat joint pain as well as inflammation in the joints that can cause osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and swelling. It may potentially improve gallbladder and liver health, though there is little research to back up this claim.
Choosing The Best Castor Oil
Castor oil is derived from castor seeds which are often sprayed with pesticides (not something you want to be a key component of your detox). So just make sure you buy the best. Choose a high quality oil that is:
- Cold pressed
- Unrefined (and retains the healing and detoxifying qualities)
- Free of fragrance, preservatives, and additives.
Side Effects Of Castor Oil
Castor oil does have a few side effects to be aware of, though in general, it is considered safe and gentle. Talk to your doctor about a castor oil pack, especially if you have other health problems or are on medication. Also, according to the National Institutes of Health, you can overdose on castor oil. “Castor oil is not considered very toxic, but allergic reactions are possible. Call the poison control center for treatment information.” Do not use a castor oil pack if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Other side effects include:
- Abdominal cramping
- An allergic reaction which may cause trouble breathing and throat closing
The Benefits Of Castor Oil Packs
We put our livers through a lot and every once in a while they need a break. Castor oil packs are thought to increase circulation and detoxify around the internal organs, though it is important to note that there is very little research on the subject.
Here are some of the benefits of castor oil packs:
- Reduces constipation
- Reduces chemical imbalances and PMS in women
- Reduces inflammation in the body
- Stimulates the body’s liver and immune system
A study published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice found that a castor oil pack was effective at treating constipation in elderly rest home patients in Turkey. The authors write, “it was determined that [castor oil packs] did reduce the subjects’ symptoms of constipation in terms of fecal consistency, straining while defecating, and the feeling of incomplete evacuation after defecation.” The study found that it worked effectively without harsh stimulants.
Also, note that while a castor oil pack can help balance your hormones and reduce symptoms of PMS in women, you should not do this detox when you’re on your period, also known as moon cycle.
Other tips for protecting your liver
It is a myth to think that you need to cleanse your liver because you cannot protect it on a daily basis. There is a lot to be said for daily health maintenance of your liver. Here are some simple tips:
- Do not over consume alcohol. If your liver is working overtime everyday, it has trouble removing the daily toxins that can weigh you down. When you do consume alcohol, choose ultra clean, high quality alcohol like tequila and do not have more than a few drinks.
- Avoid excess weight gain. Gaining too much weight or having a Body Mass Index (BMI) outside of the normal range (18-25) puts you at a higher risk of fatty liver disease, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. “Due to the rising epidemic of obesity in the United States, the prevalence of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is rapidly increasing and is expected to overtake hepatitis C as the leading indication for liver transplant in the next 30 years,” explains Tinsay Ambachew Woreta, program director at the Transplant Hepatology Fellowship at Johns Hopkins Medicine.
- Know your genes. If you have a family history of alcoholism or of liver disease, you are likely at a higher risk.
Read More: How Long Does It Take To Detox Your Liver?
What You Need For A Castor Oil Pack
Beyond the best castor oil on the market, you will need the following for your castor oil pack:
Flannel. Pure, unbleached wool flannel, pressed and sewn in the United States. You are trying to detoxify your liver, not expose your liver to new chemicals. So make sure you choose flannel that is organic and free of any chemicals to start with, especially since it is going to be directly on your skin.
Non Electric Heating Pad. Again, since we are trying to detox, it is best to avoid the electric version, so you may want to invest in a non-electric heating pad.
Electric heating pads generate electric and magnetic fields (EMFs). Power lines, televisions, computers, cell phones, microwaves, electric blankets, etc. all generate non-ionizing low frequency radiation or EMFs. While visible light, ultraviolet light (tanning beds and the sun), X-rays, and radioactive waste all generate ionizing radiation (which is obviously MUCH riskier). According to the National Institutes for Environmental Sciences, “[w]hile some of these studies showed a possible link between EMF field strength and an increased risk for childhood Leukemia, their findings indicated that such an association was weak. The few studies that have been conducted on adults show no evidence of a link between EMF exposure and adult cancers, such as leukemia, brain cancer, and breast cancer.” For me, this means, avoid EMFs when you can, but do not freak out about occasional exposure either.
Old towel. You will want to avoid castor oil getting everywhere, so make sure you keep an old towel around to clean up any messes.
Castor Oil Pack: A Step By Step Guide
- Pour around two tablespoons on your organic flannel and rub it in so it spreads throughout the fabric. Alternatively, you can soak the sheets of flannel in a glass bowl of castor oil. Make sure you use all the sheets to make a “pack”.
- The flannel should be dripping with organic castor oil. Place the flannel on your liver. This is located right below your right rib cage. If you are treating poor digestion, you can place the castor oil pack on your stomach area where it will help with constipation.
- Next, put yourself in a reclining position, whether you are laying down on the bed, floor, couch, or your yoga mat. Just find a good place where you can relax for the next hour.
- To avoid leaking castor oil on your bed or couch, you will want to place an old towel on top of the flannel for a no-mess solution.
- On top of the towel, place a non-electric heating pad.
- Now it is time to take a break. This is a great time for a nap, meditation sesh, or for a quick episode of your favorite binge-worthy show. Stay in this position for at least the next 45 minutes to an hour.
- Remove the pack and wipe yourself down with a damp washcloth.
- Keep the flannel in a bag and store it for the next use. You do not need to wash it. In fact, it is better if you do not wash it. Store and refrigerate. You can use the castor oil pack up to 30 times.
Castor oil has been shown to have a number of benefits, some of them studied and some not so much. It is clear that it is a great tool for constipation and for moms-to-be to move labor along. It is also a gentle means of detoxing your entire body, not to mention that it costs around $15 for the pack and you can fall asleep throughout most of your detox session. What a relaxing way to free your body up of the toxins that are weighing you down.
Need another cleansing tool?
It is best to avoid laxatives because they are addictive, dehydrating, and they throw off the body’s electrolyte balance, which is so important for proper health. Castor oil is a great natural laxative that gets your system moving. However, you might also want to consider ZuPOO. Research has proven that supplementing slippery elm, aloe ferox, cayenne pepper extract, bentonite clay, glucomannan, and milk thistle all help to improve digestion and get things moving again.
Luckily, UMZU’s most recommended constipation killer, zuPOO: Colon Cleanse & Gut Support includes all six in one potent cleansing tool. zuPOO is naturally-sourced and proven to help improve digestion. It has been said that the average American carries around between 5-20 extra pounds of poop in their intestines. Gross! People love ZuPOO because they trust that it is natural and it works! zuPOO flushes your gut and intestines and pushes waste build up out of the body. Say goodbye to bloat. zuPOO supports waste elimination and a clean, healthy gut. If you want to check out the zuPOO formula for yourself, you can learn more about it here: Click Here To Learn More About ZuPOO.
Also consider CHOLINE
How about ridding your body of the estrogen that is throwing your hormones out of balance? Choline is an essential nutrient in the body that’s important for any number of bodily functions including cellular growth and metabolism. The body converts choline into neurotransmitters that are important for optimal brain function. Research published in the journal Advances in Neurobiology found that choline reduced the impact of neurodegenerative disorders in the brain and positively impacted mental health. Shown to help increase focus and allow for greater cognition, it rids the body of excess estrogen accumulated from our diet and lifestyle. You will feel better and you will be more focused than ever. Try UMZU’s CHOLINE, a clean source of this ever important nutrient. For adults only. Consult a physician if pregnant/nursing, taking medication, or if you have a medical condition. Keep out of reach of children.