How & Why To Make & Use Castor Oil Packs

May 27, 2013 | Sensory Goodness

castor oil packs

Gotta love a post that starts with “I am not a doctor or a healer of any sort”, and this is a big one, but I couldn’t help but share.  I am not a doctor or healer of any sort, but I am interested in natural ways to keep my body healthy, and I’m willing to experiment in sensible ways. Castor oil packs have always intrigued me, so I gave them a test drive.

Castor oil packs have been around for a very long time in healing circles, and widely promoted by intuitive healer Edgar Cayce among others in the lore of natural healing.  For the last two weeks I have been chilling out for an hour with as castor oil pack and I feel absolutely amazing, so I wanted to share how to make one, what that may do for your body and how its helped me an my friends lately.

High quality, hexane free castor oil has been used to treat may maladies, but it is quite brutal on your digestive system to swallow it.  You can read more about this HERE.  I have no interest in ingesting it!  But, applied topically, with the use of heat, it is thought to have incredible health benefits, without many of the oral-dose drawbacks.

Why in the world would you (or I) want to do this to yourself?!

From Mercola, here are some of the possible benefits of a castor oil pack:

One of the more compelling health benefits, if true, is castor oil’s support of your immune system. And this healing property does not require you ingest the oil, but only apply it externally.

The benefits of castor oil packs were popularized by the late psychic healer Edgar Cayce, and then later researched by primary care physician William McGarey of Phoenix, Arizona, a follower of Cayce’s work and the author of The Oil That Heals. McGarey reported that, when used properly, castor oil packs improve the function of your thymus gland and other components of your immune system. More specifically, he found in two separate studies that patients using abdominal castor oil packs had significant increases in lymphocyte production compared to placebo packs.

Lymphocytes are your immune system’s disease-fighting cells and are produced and stored mainly in your lymphatic tissuexvii(thymus gland, spleen, and lymph nodes). Hundreds of miles of lymphatic tubules allow waste to be collected from your tissues and transported to your blood for elimination, a process referred to as lymphatic drainage. When your lymphatic system is not working properly, waste and toxins can build up and make you sick.

Lymphatic congestion is a major factor leading to inflammation and disease.

This is where castor oil comes in. When castor oil is absorbed through your skin (according to Cayce and McGarey), your lymphocyte count increases. Increased lymphocytes speed up the removal of toxins from your tissues, which promotes healing.

In addition, castor oil packs have been touted as an effective treatment for a number of maladies.  Dr. Julie Hara explains in Greenster: Naturopathically, castor oil is used to decrease inflammation and to help the liver to function optimally. It increases circulation of blood and lymph, enhances the immune system, improves elimination of toxic substances, and promotes the healing of tissues. Due to these effects, it can be used to decrease pain, improve digestion, and help in the treatment of many conditions including uterine fibroids, non-malignant ovarian cysts, headaches, migraines, constipation, intestinal disorders, and gallbladder and liver conditions.

So, as I type this I am letting some castor oil soak into my system.  It may be psychosomatic, but I love the energy I have, the PMS and allergy congestion I don’t have, and, overall, I am feeling pretty great taking the hour to chill out every day.  If its doing any or all of the above, I am extra excited!

Here’s how a castor oil pack is made: 

  • Get some undyed cotton or wool flannel.  I did this for a while with old white cotton sheets and T shirts I had laying around (which I’d have to toss after every use) so I caved in and got official wool flannel.
  • And get some high-quality, hexane-free castor oil. THIS is the one I am using, as it s stocked in the uber-health food store of LA and turns up with good recommendations.
  • And pull together some extra plastic bags you have lying around, or some plastic wrap you can re-use if you are careful with it.
  • You may want an extra towel
  • And a heating pad or hot water bottle for heating it up.

1. Fold the flannel so it will fit where you want it to go.  I leave it fairly big to put on my stomach and lower abdomen, which seems to be the most popular place to apply these things

2. Add castor oil.  I pour some on, fold the flannel carefully and let it absorb, then add a bit more until it is saturated but not dripping.  This stuff is messy and will stain carpets, clothes and sheets so be judicious about how you do this.

3. Place the fully-loaded cloth on the area of your choosing.  From’s Alternative Medicine:

A castor oil pack can be placed on the following body regions:

  • The right side of the abdomen. Castor oil packs are sometimes recommended by alternative practitioners as part of a liver detox program.
  • Inflamed and swollen joints, bursitis, and muscle strains.
  • The abdomen to relieve constipation and other digestive disorders.
  • The lower abdomen in cases of menstrual irregularities and uterine and ovarian cysts.

4. Wrap up in plastic, covering the pack fully.  You may need to practice; I did.  Stand or sit in your bathroom tub or shower the first few times you wrap up the pack with plastic so you can drip or drop without worrying about ruining clothes and making a mess of things.

5. Now, put an old towel over yourr wrapped up self!  Apply low heat (hot water bottle or heating pad) over the towel and rest for an hour or so.

6. Recycle your plastic and put the “wool pack” in a mason jar in the fridge and re-use for up to two months, adding more oil as needed to keep it wet but not dripping.  If it looks weird or seems discolored before then, it’s time for a new one.

7. You can wash off the castor oil from your body with a little baking soda in the shower.  I use a natural soap and it seems to do a fine job of removing the oil as well.

Have you tried castor oil packs? Do you love ’em? Let me know! I’m excited to hear more feedback and experiences with them…!

xoxo Dana


  1. S. Brooks

    Yes, I use castor oil packs from time to time. Dr. Thomas Cowan recommends them often for gallbladder and liver congestion. He is an Anthroposophical doctor and works with the Weston A. Price Foundation, who publish Nourishing Traditions. He moved from my New England town to San Francisco a few years ago. Although the castor packs are messy, until your explanation I never understood how they worked, I just knew they cleared my congestion! Thank you for the post.

  2. Marloe

    Yes! I have been using castor oil packs for different ailments over the years and always enjoy it, when I do. I have read that you will feel better than when you have started out and it is true. I wanted to say, that with the research I have done about castor oil packs, it is advisable to wash off with a baking soda/water solution. The baking soda will neutralize acids. Thank you for a great post!

    • danaclaudat

      I tried the backing soda wash and I was not impressed with the difference personally, but I know other people may be, so I thank you for passing it along! xoxo Dana

      • Debbie Bamber

        Baar products sells a wash to use for cleansing

  3. Beth

    During my Lyme treatment my lymph glands in my neck would really swell. At one point I tried a castor oil pack around my neck that I had handy for use on my abdomen. I couldn’t believe how well the swelling and pain quickly subsided in my neck glands. I only kept it on the lymph glands about 10 minutes. Thanks for reminding me of this method – it’s been about 5 years since I’ve used it.

    • danaclaudat

      Wow, yet another use! I am telling you, I love castor oil. Thank you for sharing this!!! xxx

  4. Lettie

    I would like to try this. Is there a certain time you do this? How often? I’m very interested but don’t know how/when to begin. Thank you!

    • danaclaudat

      I do it very often (like 3-4 times a week) when I feel I need it.
      That is what was recommended to me.
      Its pretty simple to do, once you have your supplies (cloth, castor oil, plastic wrap, heatimg pad) gathered!

  5. Dot

    I am thinking of using it for parasites – blastocystis more specifically. Have you heard of anyone having success with using it for this? I have had this for a number of years and tried many things. My gut lining must be pretty shot through by now, so don’t know that I could handle it internally, but thought the pack might help, Be interested in your comments.

  6. stella

    Thanks Dana for sharing.
    Your picture really helped! I am goin to try this out. Thanks again and God bless U

    • danaclaudat

      🙂 i’m glad!!! its quite awesome- not easy in my experience to keep up w/out motivation, but very worth it!

  7. umber is GOOD.ijust want to ask can we do massage of castor oil and then steam hot? Will it b work???

    • danaclaudat

      some people just massage on castor oil, but the pack is the traditional way 🙂

  8. sue

    great ideas , I knew about the stomach ,but not about the rest .

  9. Maria

    Thanks for the post, I’m interest in trying it out. Do you think this is safe to use on kids? My 7 year old complains of stomach aches sometimes and thought I’d try this out. – thanks

    • danaclaudat

      that I would ask the pediatrician, I’ve not heard it for kids. And I wouldn’t mess around as its pretty powerful 🙂

      • Mylin sarmiento

        Hi ms dana,im mylin from philipines i dont flannel because very hard to find can i use my old clothes or anykind of cotton? i have ovarian cyst and blocked fallopian can castor oil heal me.pls reply thank.

        • danaclaudat

          i have used white cotton. i stay away from dyed things because the pac is heated andapplied for so long, but yes i’ve used other cooton things!

  10. nikki

    Its a miracle on cellulite too! Ive been using it all over my legs, its terrible….my mom nd i seei noticable difference! I just massage it in and suran wrap It just makes everyhting smooth…i had a few really bad burns on me, as well as piercings that migrated out of my skin and left a huge gash, had this gash for ten years…it healed it up and flattened it, now you can harldy notice anyhting is there. Castor oil is crazy

  11. APRIL

    I just wear an old t-shirt to bed and put castor oil on my c-section (had a baby) area. I let it absorb a few minutes before I climb in bed. I sometimes put it on my face where I use my cell phone. I met a woman that it has kept away her recurring ovarian cysts. I don’t have any cysts that I know of but figure it is a good preventative.

  12. Bethany

    I love this pack! Just tried it for the first time today. I SEVERE gut issues and get severely constipated pretty much all the time. I often have excruciating pain in my large intestine and my the entirety of my colon. This morning I could barely breathe it hurt so bad. I remembered my Dr. recommending this so my mom helped me get it all put together and I had it on for about an hour and a half. My gut feels SO much better!
    I read in the comments someone being treated for Lyme & how much it helped. I am being treated for Lyme as well so I’m super excited to try it for that. Again, I LOVE this stuff!
    P.S. Castor makes an incredible lip balm 🙂

  13. Marlene

    I am trying it for the first time. I have swelling lymphs on neck and liver discomfort due to EBV, hope it helps me! I will also try it for my back pain. Thanks.

  14. Imaobong

    Hey, please I’m just wondering if it has to cotton can a light towel be used, thank you

    • danaclaudat

      you want something pure for the castor oil itself as it’s going to be heated and the hot oil will leach chemicals out of any treated fabrics and bring them through your skin into your body!



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