There are many ways to support liver health. You can even detox your liver in sync with your menstrual cycle. In this article, Danielle shares how castor oil packs give your liver some love while reducing the aches and pains associated with stress and clogged detox pathways.
What is a castor oil pack?
Thick and slightly yellow, castor oil comes from the castor oil plant. The thick oil is extracted from pressed castor beans contains ricinoleic acid.
Ricinoleic acid makes up about 90% of the fatty acids in castor oil. It’s responsible for the health benefits found in regularly wearing castor oil packs.
To make a castor oil pack, you simply apply a piece of fabric soaked in castor oil to the body. The castor oil pack acts as a poultice, working its magic as it moves lymph and reduces pain.
Most health food stores sell castor oil, but be sure to locate one that is cold-pressed and free of additives and hexane like this one.
What are the benefits of castor oil packs?
Well known for its ability to get rid of inflammation and relieve pain, castor oil applied to the skin for a long period of time as a “pack” or poultice will help to move lymph fluid and improve circulation. This, in turn, speeds up recovery, promotes healing, and moves waste out of the body.
- Castor oil packs placed over the top right part of the abdomen (under your right rib) increase liver function and help to gently detoxify the liver.
- Studies suggest that castor oil packs support immune health and encourage lymphatic circulation.
- Castor oil packs placed on the abdomen and over the uterus help to relieve menstrual cramps and pain.
- Castor oil and castor oil packs help to relieve joint pain.
Signs you should use castor oil packs
If you notice the symptoms of poor liver function, have a history of liver issues or even a liver diagnosis, castor oil packs may be a great addition to your treatment plan or overall health upkeep.
Signs of a slow liver include:
- Yellow eyes or skin
- Dark urine
- Swelling in the legs and feet
- Poor ability to detoxify from alcohol, medications, or a sensitivity to these things
- Tarry, bloody, or pale stool
- Chronic fatigue
- Spider veins
- Poor memory and slow thinking
- Excessive bruising or bleeding
- Blood clots when bleeding during your menstrual cycle
In addition to these symptoms, if you are in the middle of a detox, go ahead and support your liver with a castor oil pack.
Do not use castor oil packs when menstruating, pregnant, breastfeeding, or during an acute infection or condition. Consult your physician before using a castor oil pack.
How do you use castor oil packs?
You only need three things to complete your first castor oil pack, unless you want to also include a good book or the newest episode of your favorite show, which I also recommend.
- High-quality, cold-pressed castor oil like this one
- A cotton or wool cloth, normally found for sale near the castor oil in natural food stores, but any pure cotton or wool will do
- A heating pad or hot water bottle like this
Because castor oil can stain, wear old clothes and lay on an old towel while wearing a castor oil pack.
- Place the castor oil directly on the skin or on the cloth itself.
- Apply the cloth oil-side down to the skin over your liver.
- Place a medium-heat heat source over the castor oil pack. Then, relax.
As for how long to wear the castor oil pack, anywhere from twenty minutes to one hour will do. But start slow if you have a chronic condition. Keep it to twenty minutes until your liver begins to function better. If you feel like a seasoned veteran, you can use castor oil packs for an hour.
Between uses, store the oil-soaked cloth inside a jar or glass container. The cloth can be used at least a dozen times, but add more oil each use.
How do you heat up a castor oil pack?
Heat allows castor oil to absorb into your skin and works its way to your internal organs.
A heating pad is the simplest method, but a hot water bottle works too. For longer sessions, a heating pad will provide more consistent heat.
Can I use castor oil packs every day?
You can, as castor oil packs do not cause serious detoxing symptoms. Although, it is a good idea to take extra precautions and start slow, then increase frequency.
Once you notice an improvement in digestion and energy levels, go ahead and up your time and frequency. Do not use castor oil packs during pregnancy.
Other wonderful uses for castor oil beside a castor oil pack:
- Hair growth. Hello, what woman would say no to this? Castor oil has been shown to stimulate hair growth, promote shine, boost vibrant natural color, and increase moisture. You can apply castor oil to the hair, cover with a net or allow to sit, then wash out after 30 minutes.
- Fertility. Search castor oil and you will see loads of articles regarding fertility help and menstrual issues. Though there are few formal studies, naturally-minded doctors and massage therapists suggest placing castor oil packs or doing castor oil massage near a woman’s abdomen for a potent fertility treatment.
- Dry skin. Castor oil is thick stuff. I often pull it out for heavy-duty use on dry skin. The thick oil will stay on the skin longer than most oils, creating a barrier that traps in moisture.
- Eyelash growth. Castor oil helps eyelashes grow. You can find numerous eyelash growth serums online. I have made mine with castor oil infused with rosemary for an extra growth boost.
- Injured or painful joints. Ricinoleic acid (the most abundant fatty acid in castor oil) relieves pain and reduces inflammation. Simply rub castor oil over painful joints.
- Slow labor. Some midwives suggest ingesting a small amount of castor oil to jumpstart birth. There is no scientific evidence that this works. However, ingesting castor oil will likely lead to diarrhea, which in turn may start your birth, albeit not in the way you hoped. This is one use for castor oil you can do without.
For many folks, castor oil packs are a must-have addition to any natural health protocol. The liver plays such a big role in your overall health. Go ahead and show it some love.