Castor oil is so simple, it is often overlooked at how healing it really is. The first documented use of castor oil is from an ancient Egyptian document from 1550 BC. It is often used in cosmetics and hair care products. It was also used extensively in Eastern Europe centuries ago in the form of an external compress.
So... how does castor oil work exactly? Castor oil is a unique substance having an unusual chemical composition of triglyceride made up of fatty acids. Almost 90 percent of this fatty acid content is in the form of ricioleic acid, which is undoubtedly the main therapeutic agent. It comes from the poisonous bean of the castor bean plant. The oil is extracted from the leaves, leaving behind the poisonous properties, which results in a nearly scentless, thick oil.
There are many cosmetic products that you can find with castor oil in them these days. Castor oil can be very beneficial for hair and skin. You can apply plain castor oil to your hair or scalp, as it is very nourishing. It's beneficial for strengthening brittle hair, repairing damaged hair, and promoting hair growth. When applied to the scalp, castor oil can also help with a dry, flaking scalp. Castor oil when applied to the face can be drying, so it is recommended to mix it with other oils such as avocado, almond, grapeseed, etc. to balance the drying effect it can have.
To apply castor oil to your hair, wet your hair first. Apply enough oil to cover hair. Cover oil covered hair with plastic wrap, and then wrap in a towel. Leave oil on hair for approximately 20-30 minutes, rinse with warm water, and wash as normal.
As an external oil pack, it has been used to help in a variety of health conditions such as, arthritis, liver and intestinal disorders, tumors, small benign cysts, breast cysts, fibroids, ovarian cysts, congestion of abdominal organs, skin conditions, and adhesions from surgery. Wherever there is congestion, decreased blood flow, and need for healing, castor oil can be an effective treatment option. It boosts your immune system, has a balancing effect on the autonomic nervous system, increases liver activity and improves digestion.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED TO MAKE A CASTOR OIL PACK:
Hot water bottle or hot pack
Old Towel or T-Shirt (something you won't mind getting stained)
Wool or cotton flannel, or an old towel cut to size to cover the area being treated
Plastic Wrap or plastic sheet (large enough to cover the flannel piece)
Castor oil, cold pressed and organic
There are a couple of ways to make a castor oil pack:
1) Using the piece of cotton or wool cut to the size of the area you would like to cover, you will need to cover the piece of fabric with castor oil, so it is well saturated, but not dripping. Place the material over the area you would like to use the pack on (ie: stomach). Place the piece of plastic wrap or plastic sheet over the oil soaked fabric. Place the hot water bottle on top of the plastic, to maintain constant warmth throughout the treatment. Cover the hot water bottle with towel to keep the heat in. Be careful that the hot water bottle or hot pack is not too hot and burn your skin.
2) The other way to make a castor oil pack, and is a little less messy, is to apply the castor oil directly to the area you would like to treat (ie: stomach). Instead of soaking the piece of fabric. Use a good amount, but not so it's dripping off your skin. Gently massage into the area, in a clockwise motion. Then place the towel over the area, apply the water bottle, and cover with another towel. Be sure to use old towels, because castor oil will stain!!
A good start for the frequency of using castor oil packs would be to use them every other night for three weeks, take the fourth week off, and then continue again until symptoms subside.
You shouldn't use castor oil packs during times of heavy bleeding, gaseous stomach, intestinal conditions, or pregnancy. Please consult your health care provider before adding any new therapy to your health regime. There are suggestions of taking castor oil internally, please don't. If by any chance you develop a rash from castor oil, discontinue use, and try using sesame oil instead. To relieve a rash caused by castor oil, it is recommended to gently scrub the area with a baking soda and water paste and rinse well.
Castor oil can also be used on children and babies. Massage into their arms, legs, or tummy and don't add any heat. This can be great for constipation or colic.
Check out our Castor Oil Salve for a easy, less messy option for doing your castor oil packs.
DISCLAIMER: The information presented in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Check with your healthcare provider first if you have concerns about your health. In addition, you should speak with your healthcare provider or pharmacist before making adjustments to your diet or lifestyle and prior to introducing herbal and nutritional supplements or products as they may affect any treatment you may be receiving. You are advised to disclose any and all nutrient and herb supplements and products you are using to your healthcare team