How Castor Oil Packs Help You Detox
Castor oil has been around for centuries and dates back to its use in Egypt over 3,500 years ago (2). Castor oil packs have the ability to promote both the circulation of blood around an organ and an area of the body as well as increase the flow of fluids through the lymphatic system.
Castor oil effectively supports the body’s natural detoxification abilities. Traditionally used in alternative medical practices such as Ayurvedic therapy, research regarding the effects of castor oil remains limited due to lack of funding for clinical testing. However, the use of castor oil remains widespread. Anecdotal evidence suggests that castor oil packs are a trick of the health trade that has not been forgotten and with good reasoning.
Today, many medical experts around the world recommend individuals to use castor oil packs to help detoxify their bodies.
What Is Castor Oil?
Also known as Ricinus Communis, castor seed oil is created from pressing the seeds of the plant to be used for a variety of conventional purposes. Castor oil is made up of phytochemicals including:
- Undecylenic acid
- Rincinoleic acid.
Composing 90% of the chemical structure of castor oil, rincinoleic acid is a fatty acid believed to be the responsible mechanism by which castor oil exhibits numerous health properties. Ricinoleic acid is released in the intestines and has been found to bind with receptors that line the intestinal tract and the smooth-muscle cells in the uterus therefore promoting natural healing abilities. (2, 4)
Safety Concerns When Consumed Orally
Castor oil is considered safe by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and the Joint Food and Agriculture Organization Expert Committee on Food Additives which is also made up with members of the World Health Organization. (1)
Although generally recognized as safe and found in high concentrations in some cosmetics such as lipstick, toxic effects have been associated when castor oil is consumed and is not recommended to be taken orally. (1)
Given the lack of support for the research of castor oil packs in clinical trials, physicians remain unaware of the physiological effects that castor oil has on the human body. Limited studies and tales of midwifery have reported symptoms of ingesting castor oil to include nausea, cramps, loss of fluid and electrolytes (2).
Castor oil is broken down by your small intestine into ricinoleic acid, which acts as an irritant to your intestinal lining. This effect is what gives castor oil the ability to reverse constipation—but it’s also the reason that some people report digestive discomfort, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal side effects.
However, it can be effective for constipation and some midwives use it to help induce labor. If you are taking castor oil internally to relieve constipation, begin with 1 tsp in the morning and see if you get the relief you need. If not, you can try 2 tsps the following morning.
This should be totally safe but if you notice increasing pain or digestive discomfort than back off.
Therapeutic Uses of Castor Oil Packs
Castor oil packs involve the application of externally administering castor oil to the skin’s surface so that it can slowly be absorbed. Castor oil packs have many potential therapeutic uses including the ability to treat the following conditions: (1, 3, 4, 5, 6)
- Skin conditions such as fungal infections, rashes, acne, warts, callouses, eczema, allergies and other inflammatory skin problems
- Parasitic infection such as ringworm
- Dry eye
- Liver disorders including cirrhosis
- Gallbladder inflammation
- Menstrual cramps
- Intestinal problems such as constipation
- Induce Labor
Castor Oil Promotes Lymphatic Drainage
Castor oil exhibits anti-cancer properties by promoting the lymphatic system to remove the buildup of debris and toxins in the body. When the lymphatic system is not functioning properly, liquid can accumulate within the network of tubes responsible for filtering bacteria and become stagnant. One study found that injecting rats with castor oil helped to suppress tumors which developed as the result of liver damage. (1).
Other research has found that when oil is absorbed through the skin, not only is there an increase in both lymphatic drainage and blood circulation, but there is also an increase in lymphocyte production. Lymphocytes are critical to the immune system because they signal a call for aid when the body is under attack from foreign substances. (4)
For these reasons, castor oil packs may be an alternative therapy that can boost the immunity of individuals with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus infection) or AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome). It may also be possible that castor oil can have health benefits when simply massaged onto the skin.
Promotes Healthy Digestion & Elimination
Castor oil is popularly known in folklore as a potent carthartic which stimulates the complete release of substances from the gastrointestinal tract and ultimately causes defecation (3). Castor oil packs however may have the same therapeutic properties when applied to the skin following absorption.
Applying castor oil packs to the abdominal region can help you achieve regular bowel movements as well as experience an increase in energy. As a result, scientists also speculate that this laxative effect, which simultaneously removes infectious agents from the lining of the gut, may also alleviate symptoms of depression. (4)
Elderly patients participated in a study in which they were administered castor oil packs for therapeutic care. 80% of these individuals sought relief from symptoms of constipation for over ten years and were observed to have immediate improvements following less than 3 days of treatment. (5)
Supports Natural Detoxification
As a result of the ability of castor oil packs to promote lymphatic drainage and both digestion and elimination, castor oil packs ultimately aid the body to naturally detoxify. Understanding the clues your body is signaling to you is necessary to help you understand how effectively your body is currently able to promote detoxification.
Liver’s Vital Importance to Detoxification
The liver serves vital functions in the body and is absolutely required for the process of detoxification. As you have already read, a weakened lymphatic system increases the buildup of debris, toxins, and pathogenic bacteria, weakens organs and increases the risk for cancer.
For example, consider the liver to serve the same function as the garbage disposal in your kitchen. The liver helps circulate fluid in the body and transforms toxins into a substance in which then can be:
- Flushed down the bile ducts
- Relocated into the small intestine
- Eliminated from the body as stool
This is why noting a chalky white appearance in your stool can indicate to you that your liver is functioning poorly. Bile is produced by the liver when toxins are being eliminated and it is also what gives stool its brown appearance.
Applying castor oil packs to the skin’s surface near your liver can assist in the detoxification of toxins from the body promoting optimal gastrointestinal health and reducing your risks of cancer as a consequence of stagnant toxic waste within the lymphatic system.
Purchase Castor Oil Packs
Purchasing a high quality castor oil is required to receive the optimal healing benefits. There are a few recommendations to follow when purchasing castor oil to ensure you are receiving the highest therapeutic grade castor oil available. The following is a list of labels that you should look for when buying castor oil:
- “cold pressed”
- “without hexane”
- “100% Pesticide Free” or “Organic”
- “Free of preservatives and additives”
- “non-solvent extracted” or “unrefined”
Where to Purchase Castor Oil Materials
Whether you are seeking to purchase the whole kit to create a castor oil pack or you only aim to buy the castor oil itself, a few recommended products follow to help you begin your search for a high quality product.
Purchase the Pack Materials
The two following retailers offer castor oil kits for purchase if you do not already have the materials on hand. Do note that the kits do not supply organic castor oil and it may be best if purchased separately. Pesticide residue contained in castor oil can be absorbed through the skin.
Radiant Life: Buy the whole kit from Premier Research Labs Castor Oil here or purchase the materials separately. Premier Research Labs Castor Oil is cold-pressed, non-solvent extracted and hexane-free. The kit also includes organic cotton flannel and a wrap-around pack.
Heritage Store: This kit includes hexane-free, cold pressed castor oil along with unbleached wood flannel and castor cleaning towelettes for removing oil after treatment.
Buy the Oil Separately
Banyan Botanicals Ayurvedic Herbs: Buy pure, unrefined, and organic castor oil here.
Heritage Store: Purchase cold-pressed, hexane free, organic castor oil from Amazon here.
Dr Adorable Inc.: Also sold on Amazon, Dr Adorable Inc. castor oil is a product of India where harvesting methods produce a purer bean. This castor oil is cold pressed, hexane free, organic and can be purchase using this link.
Castor Oil Pack Instructions:
Before applying a castor oil pack to the skin’s surface, test for skin sensitivity. Rub a small amount of castor oil directly onto a limited area of skin to determine if a reaction develops.
Another recommendation for use is to avoid using electric heat pads without an automatic shut off following a period of time. Many individuals provide testimonials of falling asleep with ease during castor oil pack treatments.
When to Avoid the Use of Castor Oil Packs
The use of castor oil packs is not recommended if you are experiencing the following circumstances:
Women who are Pregnant: Limited research is available regarding how castor oil may induce labor. Some research suggests that the ricinoleic acid contained in castor oil may signal a response from the lining of the uterus. Therefore, castor oil is not recommended for women who are pregnant unless recommended by a doctor to stimulate labor. (2)
Women Experiencing Heavy a Menstrual Flow: Women experiencing heavy menstrual bleeding should also avoid the use of castor oil packs during menstruation. Otherwise, castor oil packs may possibly help to ease cramping and regulate a women’s menstrual cycle.
Individuals with Gastrointestinal Problems: The ricinoleic acid has been found to interact with the lining of the gastrointestinal tract and can exacerbate conditions for individuals with certain gastrointestinal complications. Individuals experiencing ulcers, diverticulitis, hemorrhoids, and colitis should avoid castor oil packs unless otherwise recommended by a doctor.
Individuals with Extreme Skin Sensitivities: Castor oil packs should also not be used by individuals with chronic skin conditions with heightened skin sensitivities. These individuals are at an increased risk of developing a reaction from the topical application of castor oil packs. (1)
Summary of Castor Oil Packs
Castor oil packs have been said by many to relieve their symptoms of constipation, remove ovarian cysts, treat skin problems and are used as a remedy for inflammation resulting from joint and muscle pain. What symptoms do you have that castor oil packs can help you heal from?
Until alternative medical remedies such that as castor oil packs receives greater support and funding for scientific research, the potential uses for its powerful healing abilities remain only anecdotal evidence. If you are seeking a treatment to help your body naturally detoxify and help your achieve optimal health, give castor oil packs a try and share your story.