Science has transformed many aspects of our lives, touching agriculture, medicine, communication, and more. My life now is quite different than it was twenty years ago, and I’m sure you would say the same. Yet, our scientific advances do not negate the value of ancient healing practices.
I have encouraged my clients to consume bone broth to benefit their digestive systems. Bone broth has historically been made from roasted bones and fresh ingredients.
It provides nutrients that are easily absorbed and healing to the digestive tract. This was normal practice a hundred years ago. Today I include it in my healing toolkit and wrote about it in Thriving Through Cancer.
Another healing ritual practiced for centuries is the use of a castor oil pack. Its value is recognized by practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda, as well as today’s Naturopathic Doctors.
Benefits of Castor Oil Packs
Improves Circulation – castor oil packs promote both the circulation of blood around the liver and increased flow of the lymphatic system. Improved circulation ensures oxygen and nutrients are transported around the body.
Reduces Inflammation – castor oil packs applied over the liver help to reduce inflammation and support healthy liver metabolism.
Stimulates The Lymphatic System – when your lymphatic system isn’t working properly, waste and toxins can build up in your cells. Lymphatic congestion is a major contributor to inflammation and disease. Castor oil packs are a gentle and effective way to decongest both the liver and the lymphatic system.
Promotes Clearance Of Toxins – castor oil is absorbed through the skin into the liver and lymphatic system. Here it can stimulate a healthy flow of lymph fluid to help keep this important detoxification pathway moving.
Eases Elimination – once toxins and waste are collected in the lymphatic system they are deposited for elimination from the body. That’s why it is important for you to eliminate solid waste daily. If you don’t, your colon can reabsorb waste, and you don’t want that. The castor oil pack can improve your daily elimination.
And there’s even more that these handy packs can support:
- Parasympathetic nervous system
- Hormonal imbalances
- Digestive issues
- Insomnia and other sleep problems
- Reduced stress, anxiety, and depression
- Inflammation, arthritis, and joint pain
Other than women who are pregnant or cancer patients on days they take chemo, I don’t know of anyone who wouldn’t benefit. I do these at least weekly but would recommend you start with every 2-3 days.
How To Do Castor Oil Packs
The old way of doing a castor oil pack was to pour castor oil onto cotton flannel or wool, then apply it to your bare skin. You want to apply it with light pressure and it can be messy, so you would wrap plastic wrap around the fabric. Absorption through the skin works better with gentle heat, so many place a hot water bottle over the pack.
Yeah, I can already hear your thoughts. And I can attest from my early attempts that this way requires dedication.
But I’ve found a better way to do a castor oil pack. A Naturopathic doctor invented a compress that fits the size of a human liver and ties around your body. It has an inner layer of organic cotton and an outer layer of solvent-free polyurethane, with built-in straps. Bingo!
To use this pack, you simply pour a couple tablespoons of castor oil on the center of the cotton side. You don’t want to get oil out by the seams. Then you would place the compress over your lower rib cage on your right side and tie it on.
No need for the hot water bottle as the compress holds in your body heat. Wearing an old t-shirt over it is both modest and ensures that if something leaks it won’t get on furniture.
Choose Castor Oil Carefully
There are lots of options for castor oil online and in health-focused stores. But not all castor oil is the best for this application. Much of what I see online has been processed using the chemical hexane, and residue remains in the oil.
Also, many castor oil products are packaged in plastic bottles. This can further contaminate the oil with chemicals that leach from the bottle.
Since the purpose of using a castor oil pack is to promote liver decongestion and reduce inflammation, it’s best not to introduce more chemicals. I recommend an organic, hexane-free castor oil in a glass bottle.
Good news! You don’t have to hunt for these products. You can get quality castor oil in a convenient package with the less-mess compress that I described above.
If you have read my blog for a while, you know that I believe the body is resilient. It often responds well to changes in food and lifestyle habits. These efforts are further enhanced by ancient habits that I’ve shared here. If you have questions, I would be happy to answer them.