What is a Castor Oil Pack?

A Castor oil pack is the practice of applying castor oil on any part of your body, along with a source of heat to aid the castor oil in being absorbed through your skin.. It’s a deeply nourishing and effective self-healing practice you can do in the comfort of your own home. And since it requires you to lie down and rest while applying, you get the added benefit of slowing down and soothing your nervous system.That rest is crucial for hormonal vitality!

I love castor oil packs, although they can be messy they make me feel so revitalized! I’ve used them to heal after pregnancy losses and I’ve often used them as premenstrual self-care to support my cycle to flow with ease. With clients I almost always include it when I work with women experiencing fertility challenges or fibroids. And I’ve seen it work wonders on c-section or laparoscopy scars that previously inhibited the womb.

And how amazing is that you can lie down for this relaxing practice and also… 

  •  Support organ detoxification.
  • Increase revitalizing circulation.
  • Boost immunity.
  • And help to soften scar tissue (which is crucial for womb health).

It’s one of those healing practices that every woman should know how to apply. In this article I’m giving you instructions and tips on how to do that and go into why it is such an essential practice for women and their womb health!

You can use Castor Oil Packs to support fertility, breast congestion, fibroids, cysts, scar tissue and adhesions, digestive complaints, inflammation, postpartum care, and so much more!

What is Castor Oil?

Castor oil is oil made from the seed of Ricinus Communis, a plant which has a rich history of being used for holistic healing all over the world, dating as far back as we have records to Ancient Egypt. It is a warming and strengthening oil that has anti-inflammatory properties. It invokes a positive and stimulating effect on the lymphatic system, which is integral to your immune system, hormone balance, and overall vitality.

A Castor Oil pack is a self-healing practice that supports womb healing and hormonal health .

What Castor Oil Packs Do For Your Body

It is the ricinoleic acid in castor oil that makes it an ideal detoxifying support. When Castor oil is absorbed through the skin, lymphatic flow is increased and this supports the removal of toxins and metabolizing hormones.

A few examples of the many things Castor Oil Packs do for your body: 

  • The lymphocyte count of the blood increases.  This is a result of a positive influence on the thymus gland and lymphatic tissue.
  • The flow of lymph increases throughout the body.  This speeds up the removal of toxins surrounding the cells and reduces the size of swollen lymph nodes. The effect on the lymphatic system enhances immunological function.
  • One study (“Immunomodulation through Castor Oil Packs”) found that a Castor oil pack for a minimum of 2 hours produced an increase in the number of T-11 cells within a 24-hour period following treatment, with a increase in the number of total lymphocytes which form antibodies against pathogens and toxins.
  • The Peyer’s patches in the small intestine become more efficient in their absorption of fatty acids, which are essential for the formation of hormones and other components necessary for growth and repair.

CASTOR OIL PACKS FOR WOMB HEALING

Castor oil packs are revitalizing and warming for the womb and your whole reproductive system. Castor oil has a positive effect on cysts, fibroids, and scar tissue that may be present in the womb. It helps to reduce pelvic congestion, as well as aids your body in mobilizing and softening scar tissue that can otherwise inhibit your pelvic organs. By stimulating the lymphatic system, increasing pelvic circulation, and decreasing inflammation, castor oil packs support womb healing, fertility, and a balanced menstrual cycle

It’s been found to help:

  • Decrease congestion in the pelvic floor.
  • Increase blood flow and circulation to the uterus and ovaries (crucial for painless periods and fertility!)
  • Soften scar tissue (from c-sections, laparoscopic surgery, cysts, cervical dysplasia or cancer).
  • Help shrink fibroids.
  • Lessen endometriosis pain and period cramping.

Fertility support: If you are trying to conceive, castor oil packs are ideally done during your pre-ovulation phase. They should not be applied after ovulation if there is a chance you may be pregnant. The soothing nature of castor oil packs are ideal for when you are trying to conceive, and increasing circulation and lymphatic flow is vital for optimal fertility. If you do preconception preparation (prior to trying to conceive) you can also use it to support liver detoxification which helps improve hormonal balance and fertility.

Fibroids, cysts, or blocked fallopian tubes: As part of a holistic healing protocol, you can include frequent and regular castor oil packs over your womb if you struggle with fibroids, ovarian cysts, or fallopian tubes. Usually dedicated usage is required. Start with daily, or every other day for one month, except during your menstruation. Then pack 3 times a week for another 2 months before switching to a maintenance protocol. Individual protocols may be necessary. 

Bartholin Cysts: A castor oil compress can also be helpful with Bartholin Cysts. You can combine castor oil with Yoni Steaming, by applying castor oil on to he cyst just before doing a Yoni Steam.

Endometriosis: Some women find Castor oil packs very helpful in managing their pain by using Castor oil packs on an ongoing basis. You can use it during a pain flare up, although not during your period. It’s also helpful to use castor oil packs for any painful tissue, scarring, or adhesions. Use as often as possible outside of your menstruation.

Painful periods: Use Castor oil packs 3 x per week for 3 weeks, with the fourth week / menstruation off.  Repeat for at least three menstrual cycles. If it is not possible to do it so regularly, do 2-7 times during your (premenstrual) luteal phase, or every other day in preparation for your period. Do not use during menstruation.

After pregnancy loss: One of the first things I did after my pregnancy losses was castor oil packs. Whether you’ve had a spontaneous early birth (miscarriage) or a surgical pregnancy release you can support your womb healing afterwards with ongoing castor oil packs.

CASTOR OIL PACKS FOR SCAR TISSUE

Castor oil can help to transform tight and stagnant scar tissue. It helps to soften and mobilize that scar tissue when combined with massage techniques for scar tissue remediation. It’s ideal to care for all scars on your body, as they can become points of inhibition in your fascia and lymphatic system. Even a scar that is not local to your womb area can impact womb healing!

Scar tissue will always be different to un-damaged tissue, but we can do so much to improve its function, and minimize its disadvantages by helping it to soften and mobilize it. Whether you have surgical scars, c-section scar, or scars from accidents, castor oil packs can help you create mobility in your scar tissue. In addition to castor oil packs, scar tissue remediation and acupuncture are great helpers.

Castor oil can also be used vaginally for cervical scar tissue, episiotomy scarring, or any other scar tissue from tearing. Use an organic tampon soaked in organic Castor oil, and apply a source of heat. You can use a hot water bottle over your yoni, or insert it before you Yoni Steam using a Yoni Steam Ritual Chair.

It’s easy to make your Castor Oil Pack at home. You will need organic Castor oil, a piece of cotton fabric, an old towel, plus  a hot water bottle.

CASTOR OIL PACKS FOR DIGESTION, LIVER & HORMONAL HEALTH

Your digestion and liver play key roles in supporting hormone balance through their role in the process of releasing excess estrogens and toxins from your body. If your gut and liver are hindered in metabolizing excess hormones and toxins, your body will be taxed with hormone imbalance and inflammation.

The liver also produces a significant amount of the the lymph fluid for your lymphatic system. So when castor oil stimulates the lymphatic system, it also stimulates the liver, kicking it into gear so that it will be prepared to help break down the toxins that are on their way from the lymphatic and circulatory delivery systems.

Castor oil also seems to have a balancing effect on the autonomic nervous system by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system. When the parasympathetic system is dominant it increases your digestion and relaxes sphincter muscles in the digestive tract.

Castor oil packs over your liver: A castor oil pack can’t stand alone in supporting liver and gut health, but this gentle therapy is never-the-less very worthwhile. Your liver sits in the upper right quadrant of your abdomen, so you need your Castor oil pack to cover this part. You can also cover the whole abdomen at once. Repeat as needed.

Over your abdomen: You can also target your liver and digestion at once by placing your castor oil pack across your whole abdomen. Repeat as needed.

CASTOR OIL PACKS FOR POSTPARTUM RECOVERY

I highly recommend having Castor oil packs ready for your post-birth recovery. Although it’s rarely easy to make space for a longer Castor oil pack in between frequent breastfeeding and newborn cuddles – do what you can, when you can. Castor oil packs over your womb and abdomen support your recovering womb, digestive system, and hormone regulation.

One of the pillars of traditional postpartum care is keeping women warm after birth, which is exactly what castor oil packs do. It’s a great support to prioritize for your own postpartum healing while you are resting as much as possible in the fourth trimester. I prepared my supplies for castor oil packs in my postpartum healing basket so they were accessible after birth.

For postpartum care I like to use castor oil packs: 

  • Over the womb or the whole of the abdomen.
  • Over the breast in the case of blocked milk ducts or mastitis.
  • For C-section scar remediation once fully healed.

Blocked milk ducts or mastitis: Wrapping a warm castor oil pack around your affected breast helps an engorged and blocked breast. Follow with breast massage to help restore flow. Wipe your nipple afterwards, and keep breastfeeding on demand. Repeat as needed until you see results.

C-section scar: Castor oil packs are an ideal support for you after a c-section, as it’s important to work on the scar tissue once it is fully healed to minimize side-effects from the scar tissue later on. The castor oil packs combined with scar tissue massage will help to soften and create mobility in the scar tissue.

HOW TO MAKE A CASTOR OIL PACK

What you will need:

    • Castor oil
    • Fabric
    • Towel
    • Hot water bottle
    • Paper towels to wipe your hands (optional).

I recommend using cold-pressed, organic castor oil, as quality is important for this body nourishing therapy.

You will also need a length of fabric that you can fold into layers and cover the area you want to do your castor oil pack over. I recommend using an undyed organic cotton. You can also use wool or different types of flannels.

Your skin is your largest organ, absorbing whatever you put on it, which is why it is important to use non-toxic organic oil and undyed fabric if it’s available to you.

The final thing you will need is an old towel you don’t mind staining, and a hot water bottle.

Here are the steps:

    1. Fold your fabric, so it has several layers.
    2. Massage the castor oil into your chosen area and then pour more oil to saturate the fabric that you place over your skin.
    3. Place your towel on top along with your hot water bottle over it for 1 hour, while you rest.

TIP: You can reuse your fabric with oil for yourself, it should not be shared. Simply store it in a sealed glass jar after use and you will be able to reuse it several times. It can last 6 months to a year. You may want to change more frequently if you are detoxing heavily

HOW OFTEN SHOULD I DO A CASTOR OIL PACK?

How often to do your castor oil packs depends on why you are doing them. It is highly individualized as personal specifications always apply with certain symptoms. But here are a few guidelines to help you choose how often to do them:

Cycles of use and rest is ideal for getting the most out of your castor oil therapy. Instead of doing them daily for an long period of time, it is better to apply them in a rhythmic on-off protocol, for an example 3 days on, 3 days off or similar. Allowing your body time to be stimulated by the Castor oil packs, but also time to integrate the after effects.

Use consistently and regularly. Castor oil packs are effective, but gentle. Consistency is key to using them optimally and making them a longterm part of your selfcare. Regular use over an extended amount of time is needed for most things. Allow at least 1-3 months of consistent use before assessing your results.

EXAMPLES OF CASTOR OIL PACK PROTOCOLS

  • Daily COP for 3-10 days, followed by 4-7 days of rest.
  • Daily COP for 3 days, followed by 3 days of rest.
  • For chronic non-acute conditions use 3 times a week for 3 weeks with the fourth week off. Reperat for 2-3 months or menstrual cycles.
  • For acute conditions use for 60min nightly for five nights, take two nights of and then repeat if needed.
  • Once Monthly COP for maintenance or non-specific self-care.
  • When trying to conceive: Daily or every other day in your pre-ovulation phase. Never after ovulation / when you may have conceived.
  • If you haven’t tried it before, you may want to start with one and allow a few days to monitor how your body responds.

CONTRAINDICATIONS

  • Do not use during menstruation or heavy bleeding.
  • Pregnancy.
  • If you are trying to conceive it’s a good idea to avoid COP’s after ovulation.
  • I also don’t recommend drinking or consuming castor oil.