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Castor oil is a wonderful and underrated oil with a long history of medicinal uses. While it can be harsh when ingested, using it as a topical aid helps support digestion and our lymphatic system. Let us introduce you to castor oil packs. 

Castor oil packs are great for the liver, intestines, and reproductive organs. Today we will focus on using them specifically for liver and digestive health, since those particular organs may need extra support coming out of winter.

So what is castor oil, exactly? Castor oil is a viscous vegetable oil extracted from the castor bean. It has been used throughout the ages, treating common ailments like constipation, swollen joints, insomnia, and thyroid issues. 

We particularly love its drawing effect, easily absorbed into the body through the skin where it stimulates the flow of lymphatic fluid. (The lymphatic system is in charge of eliminating toxins from the body and blood, as well as stimulating white blood cells for increased immunity.) Additionally, applying castor oil directly onto the abdomen promotes stimulation of the GALT (gut associated lymph tissue), digestive tract, and liver. 

Materials needed: 

  • Organic castor oil
  • Towel
  • Square of unbleached cotton or wool flannel
  • Heat source (such as heating pad or hot water bottle)

How to:

Choose a comfortable spot (bed, sofa, etc.) and lay a towel down. Perhaps put on soft music or guided meditation. Have all materials close by as you lay down on the towel.

Pour 2 tablespoons of oil directly onto your bare abdomen, then begin to massage the oil in a clockwise direction starting from the lower right side of the abdomen to the lower left side. Continue in the clockwise direction in slow, circular movements while focusing on deep breathing. Let this process be easy and intuitive. Be sure to take note of texture and any tenderness, particularly in the area above the liver (the upper right quadrant of the abdomen just below the rib cage). Once you feel the oil is well applied, lay the cotton or wool cloth over your oil-covered skin and apply the heat source on top. Rest for 45 minutes to an hour, focusing on your breath and relaxing into the moment. 

After the suggested time remove the heat source and cloth, then massage any remaining castor oil into your skin, taking note of how your abdomen feels. We recommend changing into an old t-shirt in case of oil stains and staying hydrated throughout the day with lots of water.

Ideally, doing this multiple days in a row will reap the most benefits. (We recommend three in a row.)  This may be all you need to jumpstart a sluggish post-winter lymph. Return to this practice as often as you want! 

**While these packs are safe, it is recommended to avoid usage during menstruation or pregnancy.