The Castor Oil Pack

Mar.22.2016 | Naturopathic Medicine, Diet & Nutrition


The castor bean (Oleum ricini), also know as Palma Christi, due to its shape and healing properties, is known principally as a cathartic (strong laxative when taken internally). A gentler use is in the form of a pack placed over the abdomen, usually with heat applied. The oil is absorbed into the lymphatic circulation to provide a soothing, cleansing, and nutritive treatment, which stimulates immune function via lymphatic stimulation and tonifies internal organs.


The castor oil pack has many applications, and has been used in specific cases such as uterine fibroids and ovarian cysts that are non-malignant. Other conditions, which respond well include: headaches, liver disorders, constipation, diarrhea, intestinal disorders, gallbladder inflammation or stones, conditions with poor elimination, night time urinary frequency, inflamed joints and most importantly, general detoxification.

It is to be used with caution in pregnancy or during menstruation, as it may create additional bleeding.

What you need:

  • Castor oil
  • Old towel
  • 36” X 10” white cotton flannel or wool flannel
  • Hot water bottle or heating pad (optional)


  1. Fold flannel into 2-3 thicknesses to fit over your entire abdomen. In many cases (especially if there is a breast or lung issue). Cover the ENTIRE chest and abdomen.
  2. Drizzle approximately 1/8 cup of castor oil onto the flannel. Fold flannel in half to add the oil. Unfold and apply to abdomen. (NOTE: The first couple of weeks you use the pack, you will have to add an additional tablespoon of oil every 3-4 days. Eventually, the pack will be saturated enough that reapplication of oil should only be needed every 1-2 weeks). The pack should not be dripping with oil. As an example, it should have just enough oil to make a slight oil mark on furniture, as if you were going to polish it.
  3. Lay an old towel out on the surface you will be lying on. This will prevent STAINING, as castor oil stains and you will not likely be able to get it out, so be cautious.
  4. Ideally, lie on your back, with your feet elevated (use a pillow under your knees and feet), placing flannel over entire abdomen (or chest), cover with a towel and then place a hot water bottle or heating pad on top. (NOTE: Heat is not required during warm weather months).
  5. Leave pack on for 45-60 minutes. This is an excellent time to practice visualization, meditation, or relaxation breathing. (This involves placing one hand on your diaphragm and the other on your lower abdomen. As you breathe in, force your lower abdomen to swell like a balloon. With each breath out, practice relaxing your jaw and shoulders. As you practice more, relax all of the muscles in your body. Alternatively, you may prefer to just sleep. Some people will wear the pack all night using an ace bandage to hold it in place.
  6. After finishing, if necessary, you can remove the oil with a solution of 2 tablespoons of baking soda to one quart of water or often hair conditioner works well. You may also choose to leave the oil on the skin to be totally absorbed over time. (NOTE: There should be only a very think film of castor oil on the skin, when you finish the treatment).
  7. Store the pack in a large zip-lock bag. Reuse the pack many times, adding more oil, as needed, to keep the pack saturated. Replace the pack after it begins to change color (usually after several months).
  8. For maximum effectiveness, it is necessary to apply the pack, as often as possible. Try using the pack at least 4 consecutive days per week for at least 4-6 weeks. Patients, who use the pack daily, will receive the most beneficial effects. Once the pack has been used at its’ effectiveness felt, most patient will continue to use the pack on a regular basis for many years.

The “DO ANYWHERE” Castor Oil Pack

  1. Add castor oil to the flannel until it is saturated (usually taking 1-2 weeks)
  2. Apply to abdomen (or entire chest).
  3. Wrap abdomen with an old towel so it overlaps at front.
  4. Tie this comfortably tight by using 2 ace bandages, one around the ribs and the other around the waist, to keep the pack close to the body.
  5. Apply heating pad or hot water bottle to maintain heat (if necessary).
  6. Wrap up in a robe/gown and read or relax for 45 minutes to an hour.
  7. Store pack, as previously described.
  8. Use the pack as often as possible (daily is preferred).


Use a castor oil pack holder which is available online. It is a “self-contained” unit and eliminates all the mess. Once you try it, you will love it.

Alternative Method:

Many patients apply castor oil directly to the abdomen without the flannel pack. Proceed as before covering the area where the castor oil has been applied with a towel and place a heating pad or hot water bottle on top of the towel. This is often applied for the entire night and in the morning the castor oil will be totally absorbed through the skin. Remember to use old sheets on your bed, as the castor oil does stain (which will be permanent).

While this may be a more convenient way to apply castor oil, it is not as effective as using the flannel pack.[1]


[1] Taken from Appendix 8 of UNDA NUMBERS: An Energetic Journey to Homeostasis and Wellness, by Dick Thom DDS, ND

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