6 Surprising Castor Oil Pack Benefits: Unveiling Nature’s Healing Elixir

Castor oil has been used as a natural remedy for thousands of years, originating in India and Egypt. 

The health claims surrounding castor oil packs are extensive, although not all of them are backed up by science.

There is plenty of anecdotal evidence for castor oil packs, but the actual scientific studies on this home remedy are slim. That being said, in this article we’ll discuss the most science-supported benefits of castor oil packs and whether or not they are worth incorporating into your wellness routine.

What is Castor Oil?

Castor oil is a thick, odorless oil that comes from the castor seed, also known as ricinus communis. It is well known for its therapeutic benefits, which are mostly connected to its anti-inflammatory properties. 

Castor oil is 90% ricinoleic acid, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. Castor oil can be taken orally, but it can also be applied topically because it easily absorbs through the skin. When castor oil is applied to the skin with a castor oil pack, it increases immune cells, called lymphocytes, and it increases circulation in the body.

Castor Oil Pack Benefits

While there are lots of diverse claims about the miracle of castor oil packs, let’s discuss the most valuable and science-supported uses.

Liver Function and Detoxification

One of the most prominent benefits of castor oil packs is detoxification, which is your body’s natural process of eliminating toxins from the body. The word “detox” is associated with a lot of hype, but this is something your body should do naturally.

Your liver is the primary detoxification organ. However, a sluggish or unhealthy liver can struggle to keep up with the toxins that we are exposed to in the environment.

Castor oil packs support liver function, and increase production of glutathione, one of the most potent antioxidants in the body. Glutathione gets depleted when we are exposed to a lot of chemicals, which can impair the liver’s detoxification ability.

Some studies have shown that castor oil packs improved markers of liver function in as little as 2 weeks (1).

Supports Digestion

Castor oil is well known for its laxative properties, primarily when it’s taken orally (2). And while it’s quite effective as a laxative, it can also cause pretty unpleasant side effects, including explosive diarrhea.

Castor oil packs can also provide relief for digestive issues like bloating and constipation, with less side effects than swallowing the oil (3).

When castor oil is applied topically, it absorbs into the skin and stimulates smooth muscle contractions, which supports movement through the gastrointestinal tract. This can help produce a bowel movement and relieve constipation.

Castor oil packs can also support liver and gallbladder function, which are both important for gut health as well.

Alleviates Chronic Pain

Ricinoleic acid, which makes up 90% of castor oil, is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. When applied topically to joints or muscles, castor oil may relieve chronic pain.

Studies have specifically shown castor oil packs to be effective for relieving pain associated with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis (4)(5).

Skin Health

Because castor oil is rich in essential fatty acids and polyphenols, it can support vibrant and youthful looking skin.

When applied topically to the skin, it may also help reduce the appearance of stretch marks and scars. Because of its beneficial effects on skin, it’s a common ingredient in skin care products.

Lowers Inflammation

Castor oil has powerful anti-inflammatory benefits. Not only does it increase glutathione levels, the master antioxidant, but it can reduce water retention and swelling in the body.

It also reduces inflammation by supporting the body’s natural detoxification system.

Easing menstrual cramps

Castor oil packs stimulate blood flow and can relax the muscles, which may ease menstrual cramps. 

Who Should Use a Castor Oil Pack?

While not all of the suggested benefits of castor oil packs have been scientifically proven, there is very little risk in trying this natural remedy.

In my practice, I typically recommend castor oil packs to anyone struggling with digestive issues like bloating and constipation, and anyone with signs of chronic inflammation.

If you struggle with chronic joint pain, I would also recommend trying a castor oil pack.

How to Use a Castor Oil Pack

To reap the most benefits from a castor oil pack, apply it directly to the area of the body you are wanting to treat.

For detoxification or digestive support, place the castor oil pack over your abdomen. Applying the pack to the right side of your abdomen, under your rib cage, will allow the castor oil to absorb into your skin over your liver.

To relieve joint pain, apply the castor oil pack directly to the area where you are experiencing pain. 

Castor oil packs provide the best results when they are used regularly. Use a castor oil pack on your skin for 45-60 minutes a day, or overnight while sleeping.

How to Make Your Own

You can easily make your own castor oil pack at home.

What you’ll need: 

What to do:

  1. Soak the cotton flannel fabric in 1-2 Tablespoons of castor oil.
  2. Apply the fabric directly to your skin and wrap with saran wrap, a large piece of fabric, or a castor oil pack wrap. NOTE: Castor oil will stain, so make sure to fully cover the oil soaked fabric, and wear dark or old clothes.
  3. Save the oil-soaked fabric in the glass storage container and re-use it up to 30 times.

While castor oil packs are easy to make at home, it can get messy. Purchasing a castor oil pack, like the one from Queen of the Thrones can make the process much less messy. In fact, you can apply castor oil directly to this wrap instead of using additional fabric and this wrap can be reused.

How to know if castor oil packs are working

While castor oil packs are not a magic cure and don’t provide overnight results, you should notice benefits with regular use. 

When castor oil packs are working, you should notice less constipation and bloating, and better digestion (3).

You should also notice less signs of inflammation and deeper, more restful sleep. If you are using castor oil packs directly on inflamed joints, you should notice less pain when the packs are working.

Precautions and Considerations

You should not use a castor oil pack if you are pregnant. 

It’s also important to use high quality supplies when castor oil packing, because the oil will absorb into your skin. Purchase only organic, hexane-free castor oil and be sure that the fabric you are using is free of dyes and bleach. Chemicals in the fabric can also potentially absorb into your skin.

Final Thoughts

The ricinoleic acid in castor oil provides powerful anti-inflammatory benefits that can provide some impressive healing benefits. 

Castor oil packs can be a great low-cost addition to your wellness routine, especially if you struggle with gut issues or chronic inflammation.

If you want personalized support for overcoming gut issues and inflammation in a holistic way, schedule a free 30-minute consultation and let’s chat about how I can help!

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