Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Castor Oil Pack Therapy

By Danelle Frisbie © 2010


I've recently received a number of inquiries from mothers with concerns related to breastfeeding or c-section healing who may benefit from Castor oil pack therapy. I have used Castor oil pack therapy myself to aid in healing from surgery and when, after 7 months of exclusive breastfeeding and during a time of high stress, I developed a deep and throbbing pain in one breast which lasted for several days. After starting with Castor oil packs, the pain was alleviated quickly and did not return.

Castor oil pack therapy has been used by humans for as long as we have recorded human history. It was seen as the most healing of agents in antiquity. So much, in fact, that ancient Romans came to call the Castor seed plant the Palma Christi, or "the hand of Christ." Castor oil was viewed as the all-healing agent -- almost divine in nature. Whether or not you are one to practice homeopathic or other natural remedies in the 21st century, the results obtained from Castor oil pack therapy typically speak for themselves - even among critics.

Castor oil is extracted from the seed of the Castor oil plant, whose botanical name is ricinus communis. And while it was Edgar Cayce who made Castor oil well known throughout the U.S. in the 20th century, it has a long history of use as a healing agent around the world. The Journal of Naturopathic Medicine published findings that Castor bean seeds, believed to be 4,000 years old, were found in many Egyptian tombs. Historical documents reveal the medicinal use of Castor oil in India, Africa, Greece, Rome, Egypt (for eye infections), China (for induction of childbirth and expulsion of the placenta), Persia (for epilepsy), Southern Europe, and the Americas.

Today Castor oil pack therapy remains an effective source of relief for a number of maladies. It is used for everything: general aches and pains, colds, flu, sciatica, eye infections, c-section healing, mastitis, arthritis, ulcers, and to decrease soreness/irritation/inflammation of almost any body organ - breasts, nipples, fingers, throats, abdomen, uterine cramping, etc. Castor oil pack therapy has been used to increase milk production among lactating women, and it is occasionally used to quickly and effectively heal the umbilicus of newborns, and is regularly used to stop hormone-related hair loss.

Castor oil pack therapy has also been used in the clinical setting for liver and gallbladder complications, abscesses, headaches, appendicitis, epilepsy, hemorrhoids, constipation, intestinal obstructions, hyperactivity, as well as in cases where pregnant women are at high risk of miscarriage.

Women have benefited from Castor oil pack therapy when used to avert breastfeeding issues (such as mastitis, clogged ducts, and general soreness/inflammation), and also to heal from birth (especially beneficial in cases of cesarean section or other healing from surgery). Castor oil has been used to treat ovarian cysts, fibroids, and heavy menstrual cycles.

Dr. Harold J. Reilly (2008) worked with Castor oil pack therapy for 45 years and told of one of his patients who'd been dealing with especially heavy menstrual cycles for 13 years. By the time this woman came to see Reilly, her problem was threatening her career as an opera singer, and had already impacted her home life as a mother and wife. Four leading gynecologists who reviewed her case all recommended surgery - ranging from D&C to total hysterectomy. Instead of surgery, Dr. Reilly put her on a regimen which included castor oil packs four days a week. This woman soon reported, "After the first two nights of the Castor oil packs, the spotting stopped, and this was remarkable, because it was just after my menstrual period, and usually that went on and on. By the end of the week, I sang in a concert and felt fine."


Directions for Use

1) Always use a high-quality, cold-pressed Castor oil, available in health food stores.

2) Use a cotton or wool flannel cloth that is folded to the correct size (for the location you are using the pack on) and is several layers thick when folded.

3) Pour Castor oil into a pan and soak the cloth in the oil.

4) Wring out the cloth so that it remains wet, but not dripping.

5) Apply the cloth to the area which needs treatment.

6) Cover with plastic (saran wrap or even plastic bags cut open work great) and then apply heat if desired (a hot cloth, heat pack, etc.) to increase penetration of Castor oil. Do not use heat if there is already open infection at the site.

7) If you are resting on a bed or couch, towels can be put down to protect the surface you are relaxing on.

8) After the pack is in place, you can wrap a large towel around the body (if using on the abdomen or breast) or a smaller towel (if using on the throat/head). An ace bandage can be used to hold the pack in place on the arm or leg.

9) The pack should remain in place for 60-90 minutes. So r-e-l-a-x. Breath deep. Listen to soothing music. Meditate. Pray. Watch a feel-good movie. Read a book. Whatever helps you stay calm and just let go of your worries for the hour.

10) After 60-90 minutes, the skin should be cleansed with a baking soda solution: 1 teaspoon baking soda to 1 pint water. You can wipe this over the area you treated in the shower (if desired) and shower off.

11) The flannel pack can be re-used several times. Do NOT throw it away. Put it into a ziplock baggie for future uses. It does not need to be rinsed or cleaned. The Castor oil soaked into it is fine to leave as is. Next time, soak again before starting.

12) Repeat these steps daily, or for 4 consecutive days per week (4 days on, 3 days off), until results are obtained.


References

The Oil That Heals (1994) by William McGarey

The Edgar Cayce Handbook for Health Through Drugless Therapy (2008) by Harold J. Reilley and Ruth Hagy

Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Years (1985) by Susun S. Weed


This is a slightly older video (with explanation and demonstration). Castor oil pack therapy need not be this cumbersome (you don't need safety pins, plastic sheets, etc.) but the video will give you another take on the whole process.




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27 comments:

  1. Thank you SO MUCH for this post! I had a c-section in July and my OB/GYN used a new product on my incision that was supposed to prevent hematomas (like blood/fluid-filled pockets). Instead of preventing them, five days after my c-section, my entire incision opened up and poured out fluid and blood. I had weeks of wound care with at-home nursing and while my incision is now closed, my lower abdomen still has several tender (read: painful) hematomas under the skin. I was just thinking there was nothing to be done, but I have a feeling this therapy will be very helpful and will bring me some relief.

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  2. I used this with great success when I experienced an umbilical hernia during the 37th week of pregnancy. Before treating it, it felt like my bellybutton was about to rip apart from the weight of the baby against my skin. The castor oil/heat therapy broke down the hernia quickly and I was feeling much better. I was so glad that it resolved before labor started.

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  3. Impressive! Thanks for the informations

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  4. I'm a nurse and I never knew that! Thank you, that's a bit of knowledge I will tuck away for later use.

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  5. love castor oil pack therapy!!

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  6. That is cool. I need to try that. I had a c-section 2 months ago and it still hurts. Thanks for letting us know about this.

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  7. Very interesting! Thanks!

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  8. This is my first line of treatment for clients with plugged ducts and breast infections--along with homeopathy.

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  9. would this help heal my tear from giving birth? I'm pretty much healed (nearly 8 weeks postpartum). Can'y find those flannel pads near me though :/

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  10. Thank you so much for this precious info!! I currently have only used castor oil to give my baby a massage every time I give him a bath, it relaxes him and he will go to sleep sometimes.
    I can definitely use some packs with my older son, to see if it helps with his hyperactivity...
    Should I apply it on his tummy or his head for this? anyone?

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  11. Michelle, you can go to any store that sells flannel and make yourself a layered pad and if you have nothing like that around you (I don't know where you live) then you can use a flannel shirt and adjust it to be used as a pad.

    As for my comment on this post, I love it, thank you very much. I have never heard of it.I have a reoccurring milk blister and can't seem to get rid of it completely. I am going to ask my Midwife about this.

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  12. Castor oil packs work wonders for bowels!!! My mom has ulcerative colitis and it flared up very badly after giving birth to her second baby. On Friday the doctors told her they were going to be taking her bowels out on Monday. She did these packs all weekend long and by Monday the docs couldn't believe the difference - and didn't take her bowel. That was over 30 years ago and she still uses these packs when needed. My grandma has crohn's, and I was ceoliac as a baby and am still very sensitive to many things - we all use castor oil packs. I even rub warm castor oil on my infant daughter's bowel when she is having tummy troubles (she is very sensitive to many things too!) - as I can't do the whole pack on her. Castor Oil is amazing stuff. If you have any skin tags or moles that you want to be rid of- just rub them a couple of times a day with castor oil and they'll be gone in no time at all. PS. there is no need to rinse the oil after the pack as it's pretty harmless stuff. The worst that can happen is it might stain your shirt - So wear an old shirt! LOL!

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  13. This is a great post. Thank you. However, I attended the Four Fold Path to Healing conference this year and asked Dr. Tom Cowan *multiple* (like I thought he was going to smack me to get me to stop) questions on castor oil packs, and I thought I would share a few points with you:

    1. Please encourage your readers-- mostly women, I assume -- NOT to use plastic! The plastic wrap is not needed! Its just to make it seem "less messy" and if you've used castor oil packs, you know there not nearly as messy as they might seem. Use a big towel wrapped around you to protect yourself. And store your pack in a glass jar, not a plastic bag, please. Plastic on the body, or around the pack is not a healing addition to your practice, but rather a potentially toxic one.

    2. Edgar Cayce never used a castor oil pack without heat. Never. He thought it was pointless. You need heat.

    3. Many people now use hot water bottles, which is harmless, but not really beneficial-- the heat does not penetrate deeply enough.

    4. That being said, E.Cayce used electric heating blankets. But we now know these emit highly toxic EMFs, especially over long periods of time. So Dr. Cowan says the way to go is to use a FAR infrared blanket -- you can get them for about $120 to cover a decent area -- 11"x18", roughly. The don't generate as much topical heat (i.e., they don't feel as warm) but rather create deep, penetrating heat 3-6 inches into the body, with zero EMFs.

    Hope that's useful to you!

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  14. Castor oil packs over my liver (as best as we could figure, of course) ended my migraines during menstruation, and eventually the severity and misery of the cramps. I was amazed - *nothing* was touching the pain and for it just to stop happening was wonderful. And that was with both plastic wrap and a water bottle, haha, but I will definitely be cutting out the plastic from now on. I also would do it as I went to bed, it was very relaxing with the heat, and whenever I woke up at night I would then just put the flannel pad in a bowl next to my bed until the next morning. Easier than making time during the day.

    I will now be investigating infant massage with it - especially for bowel and tummy issues. My little lady is quite sensitive. Thanks for the wonderful info!

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  15. I'm really interested in this....I have PCOS, and have read that this really helps, but every site but this one says explicitly to not use this if you're breastfeeding. I'm still nursing my 17 month old daughter, and while I'd like to use the castor oil packs, I don't want to risk putting toxins into my milk.

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  16. I am naturopath and would just like to add a word of caution...

    Castor Oil packing is a very powerful technique which needs to be used with caution and treated with respect.

    The liver should always be packed first, or at least at the same time as packing other organs. This allows the liver to be opened up to receiving any toxicity from other organs. Also in order to assist toxicity in leaving the body, an enema (I hear the shrieking now) or at least an epsom salt bath should be carried out following the castor oil pack. This allows all routes of elimination to be opened up, everything to flow out as it should and to avoid stagnation.

    Also I would apply a word of caution to using castor oil packing whilst breastfeeding as the technique will create a lot of movement which may cause toxicity to be dumped into breastmilk.

    I was taught not to use castor oil packing during menstruation, pregnancy or breastfeeding.

    Thanks for reading.

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  17. Alexas, I would agree with the sites you have looked at and be very cautious about using castor oil packs during breastfeeding. See my other post. Thanks

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  18. I used castor oil packs successfully along with boosting my immune system and electrical stimulation to cure my Bell's Palsy. My mother in law has also benefited positively form the castor oil packs. She suffers from RA in her lower back. It relived some of the pain from her back temporarily.

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  19. I've never heard of the cautions against using while breastfeeding, but I have used it myself during a bout with mastitis, and the pack therapy worked so incredibly well. I know others who have also used it this way when a milk duct seemed to be causing and issue, also with good results. Maybe it is not used as long, or as extensively? But it seems so soothing and healing (and worked so I was able to avoid the drugs I wasn't keen on taking).

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  20. Hi! I recently had a miscarriage due to infection because of stitches to the cervix . I have PCOS and have been advised to wait 3 months prior to trying to concieve again. Can I try the castor oil pack within one month of my miscarriage - I will stop it once I start trying to conceive. Please advise.

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  21. Castor oil was recommended to me for a tear on my clitoris. I was in a lot of pain. I have also used estrogen cream in the past for this type of problem (to thicken tissue for prevention and treat labial adhesions). I have always hated using the estrogen cream. My naturopathic doctor recommended the Castor oil "mini-pack". I used a washcloth that I cut up into very small 1-inch pieces and soaked in castor oil. I applied heat over it. I couldn't believe how soothing the oil was. I was healed with no pain in just 2 days. I did the pack 2-3x/day. I also soaked in an herbal bath of Comfrey, sheperds purse and calendula. These treatments can be used for women post delivery who experienced vaginal tearing during childbirth. It seemed like it was going to be messy but it wasn't that bad and I can't believe how quick and effective it was. miracle oil. My ND told me that the oil is supposed to help strengthen the tissue and can also be used for tissue adhesions (another one of my problems) by allowing the skin to separate where its supposed to. My "tissue" is now in the best condition from this treatment, decreasing my risks for future tears. amazing.

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  22. Hello,


    can I use castor oil packs aver ovaries and liver simultaneously?
    Thanks

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  23. May I se castor oil pack as I am suffering from ulcerative colitis for last 19 years.there is sometimes rectal bleeding .
    3 years ago I was also diagnosed as having hepatitis c

    On ultra sound it was reavealed that I had a course and rough lever with gallstone and a kidney stone.at that time gallstone was just 3mm three months ago.
    I have just gone through another ultra sound which showed that gallstone is now 7mm near the neck region and liver has diffuse parenchymal changes meaning that its echo textrues seems rough.
    My HB is 9.5 and psysically extremely weak.
    Please I need your help in this regard.

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  24. How long after a c-section can I use a castor oil pack on my incision? I am nursing.

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    Replies
    1. I used it the first week I returned home post c-section (also a nursing mom).

      Delete

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