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Using a Castor Oil Pack

Updated on July 26, 2017
Photo courtesy of xksenia.
Photo courtesy of xksenia.

An Age Old Healing Remedy

Castor oil packs are a healing remedy that I have wanted to try for a long, long time.

I have been researching the external use of castor oil for relieving stomach pain and other ailments for a while and I thought you might like to see what I discovered.

What attracted me to this remedy?

  • Stomach ailments can be relieved from castor oil packs and I have stomach ailments.
  • Castor oil packs are re-useable. Yup, store the soaked cloth in a ziplock bag and save it for the next application.
  • It's holistic and natural requiring the oil soaked cloth and a heat source.
  • I don't necessarily need a doctor's permission to use it, unless you are pregnant.

What is Castor Oil?

Castor oil is a vegetable oil made from the seeds of the castor plant. FYI People refer to the seeds as beans, but since the plant isn't a bean plant, there are no beans.

Harvesting the seeds can be dangerous business--they contain a toxic protein--don't grow and harvest this plant on your own!

No worries,however. The toxic protein gets denatured (becomes inactive) during the oil extraction and manufacturing process. So it is very safe to use on or in the body.

Where Manufacturers Use Castor Oil

You can find castor oil used in soaps, paints, lubricants, dyes, hydraulic and brake fluids, coatings, plastics, inks, waxes, polishes, pharmaceuticals, nylon and perfumes.


If you are pregnant, you should not use castor oil internally or externally.

Doing so may induce labor.

Medicinal Uses

Castor oil has been used in aryuvedic and folk medicine for a very long time.

Taken internally it can relieve constipation and be an inexpensive, natural alternative to over-the-counter laxatives.

Ayurvedic medicine suggests the use of castor oil to increase or enhance "memory" suggesting it be applied using the "Virechana therapy".

Folk/Holistic Medicine

Cold pressed castor oil is used to alleviate skin disorders, burns/sunburns, abrasions, cuts, abdominal pain, muscle pain, headaches, boils and other eruptions of the skin, sinusitis and inflammation. The oil is used as a rub or pack to relieve these problems.

In the early to mid 1900s, the psychic Edgar Cayce often recommended castor oil packs in his health readings.

Required Supplies

  • Soft, clean cloth such as flannel, wool or cotton (no synthetics!)
  • Pan or bowl
  • Castor oil
  • Plastic wrap or plastic bag
  • Heating pad or hot water bottle
  • Towels

Great Heating Pad

I like this heating pad for its larger size--covers my back or side easily--its timer and its price.

Lots of people complain about the timer beeping, but falling asleep on an active heating pad is not a safe practice. So the timer beeping is just fine with me.

How To Make A Castor Oil Pack


  1. Cut soft, clean cloth larger than the heating pad you will use. Cut two to three layers of the cloth to be stacked one on top of the other. Use natural fabrics cotton, flannel or uncolored/undyed wool. Do not use synthetic material.
  2. Locate a bowl, dish or pan to place the cloth and castor oil in. The purpose is to allow the oil to soak into the cloth. Use a pan or bowl that you will not use for any other reason-castor oil can leave a residue that is not removable.
  3. Pour castor oil over all layers of the cloth and mix the oil into the cloth using gloved hands. Too much oil and the cloth will drip and be very messy-start with a small amount and build up as needed.
  4. Place the cloth over the injured or ailing area of the body. (see the heading "ailments to use castor packs for" in this article)
  5. Place a plastic buffer on top of the cloth-cut the plastic an inch larger than the cloth on all sides. Saran wrap is NOT a good idea but a poly bag is.
  6. Place the heating pad on top of the plastic buffer and turn it to a medium or warm setting. WARNING: Turning the heating pad to the hot or hottest setting could melt the plastic.
  7. Recline and relax for about a half hour. The Association for Research and Enlightenment, known as the A.R.E., recommends up to 90 minutes.

Clean Up

Place the used cloth in a sealable plastic bag and reuse as needed. Add a tablespoon of oil to moisten the cloth before reusing with every 4 to 5 uses of the cloth. Store the cloth in plastic in a cool location or in the fridge.

Build the Pack

Here is the order the pack is built in:

  1. Against the skin place the castor oil soaked flannel.
  2. Place the layer of plastic on top of the flannel.
  3. Place the heating pad on top of the plastic.

Castor Oil is Messy Business

Just like canola, olive or any other oil, castor oil can get messy to deal with.

Wear clothing or use bedding and towels that you do not have an emotional attachment to--it's easier to throw them away when they get damaged by the oil.

Buy Disposable Castor Oil Flannel

What's not to like about this? The flannel is pre-cut and coated with plastic on one side so you can eliminate the plastic layer.

Just soak the cloth with the oil and place it on the body as instructed.

Sounds good, right?

Bright Idea!

Wash the towels or bedding you use separately from your other clothing, bedding or towels.

This should eliminate any cross-contamination that might allow the oil to migrate to your "good" items.

Have you made a castor oil pack before? - Any advice?

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