I recommend castor oil packs all the time to my clients. They can be really beneficial for a few things, but the most common reason I suggest them is for gentle liver detox. An overworked liver due to excessive toxins is not a good scenario for healthy hormones or digestion. And since your hormones and gut are so connected, you can’t work on one without addressing the other.
You are always detoxing – not just when you do cleanses (which I am not a fan of, by the way). The best way to support detoxification is to avoid as many toxins as possible in the first place, eat a nutrient-dense diet including complete protein so the liver has what it needs to work well, and support the liver any way you can.
How can you avoid toxins?
Clean up your beauty products. When you use chemical-filled products, toxins get absorbed through your skin and your liver has to work hard to eliminate them from your body. Think shampoo, lotion, toothpaste, makeup, deodorant, and soap. You could unknowingly be exposing your liver to hundreds of unnecessary chemicals every single day.
Next: eat real food. This is one reason why I always recommend reading the ingredient list on your food labels vs. nutrition facts. Ingredients you can’t pronounce or that don’t sound like food are often made in a lab by chemists. These are essentially toxins that are added to food and create an extra burden on your liver.
How the castor oil pack works
Warm castor oil packs can be placed on many different areas of the body for healing.
Castor oil has a drawing power that clears the body of excess tissues and toxins. The packs help by stimulating the lymphatic and circulatory system. Lymphatic congestion is a major factor leading to inflammation and disease.
The lymphatic system removes toxins and waste from the area stimulated by the castor oil pack. Lymphatic tissue also produces and stores lymphocytes which are your immune system’s disease-fighting cells. When castor oil gets absorbed into your skin it can also improve you lymphocyte count which in turn can speed up the removal of toxins from your tissues.
Castor oil packs can also increase circulation, which brings in fresh oxygenated, nutrient-rich blood to the area (in this case the liver).
How to do a castor oil pack
Supplies you will need:
- Castor Oil (hexane free always)
- Organic white cotton or flannel fabric
- Heating pad
- Piece of wax paper or old towel (NO PLASTIC)
- Glass container with a lid
You can do a castor oil pack initially every day for about 20 minutes for at least one month and then cut back to 3-4 times per week. I recently started adding Zendocrine detoxification blend from DoTerra, which is optional, for even more detox support. I just dab a couple drops of the oil over my liver. Then apply the pack directly to my liver (right side of your body under the rib cage). I recommend NOT doing packs when you are on your period but the rest of the month is fair game.
- Fold the fabric so that it is large enough to cover your liver, about 1 foot by 1 foot. Saturate the fabric with castor oil. You don’t need it to be dripping with the oil but the fabric should be moist.
- Apply the moist pack to your liver (right side of your body under your rib cage). Note: the oil can stain so I don’t wear a bra and be sure any clothes I am wearing is away from the pack. Consider wearing something you don’t mind getting stained and lay on a towel to keep your furniture clean.
- Take a piece of wax paper or towel you don’t mind getting stained and cover the castor oil pack with it. Please don’t use plastic wrap.
- Cover that with an electric heating pad or hot water bottle and relax for the 20 minute process.
- When done I use a towel to remove excess castor oil from my skin or you could also jump in the shower.
- The pack can be kept and reused over and over for at least 3 months before you want to purchase a new fabric. I keep mine in a glass container with a lid. If it starts to dry out you can add more castor oil to it to re-hydrate.
Today I focused on using castor oil packs for liver support, but they have many uses. You can use them over uterine fibroids or breast cysts, make a smaller pack to use over your thyroid, or even put them over your abdomen to help with bloating or constipation. They are helpful to alleviate pain, inflammation, and swelling, but also make sure you are working with a professional to get to the root cause of your symptoms!
Have you used castor oil packs? How do you use them? What benefits have you noticed? I’d love to hear! Let me know in the comments.
Kennedy, DA & Keaton D. Evidence for the Topical Application of Castor Oil. Int Jrnl Nat Med. Apr 2012;5(1).
Grady Harvey. Immunomodulation through castor oil packs. Journal of Naturopathic Medicine. Unknown; 7(1):84-89.
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