Castor oil has been around for nearly five thousand years. From the ancient Romans to present day, castor oil has been a popular remedy for various ailments of the skin and digestive system. Today, castor oil is still used in many beauty products, including cosmetics and even baby lotions! In addition, castor oil is one of the main ingredients found in many over-the-counter medications designed to treat diarrhea or constipation. Recent studies show that castor oil can also help reduce high triglyceride levels and lower blood pressure levels as well. Oil pulling (the practice of swishing a teaspoon of warm castor oil around your mouth) has also shown to reduce plaque buildup on teeth and reduce tooth sensitivity.
Castor oil is used for other skin issues and hair growth. The oil has been used for centuries as a laxative and digestive aid, but it can also be used as a topical treatment for skin problems such as acne and psoriasis. Castor oil is made by pressing the seeds of the castor plant, which is native to India and other tropical countries.
Castor oil has been used topically to treat many different skin conditions, including acne and psoriasis. It is an antioxidant that helps prevent free radical damage in the body which leads to aging and disease. It also contains ricinoleic acid, which helps reduce inflammation and kill bacteria on contact when applied topically.
Castor oil contains vitamins A, D, E and K as well as minerals such as calcium, iron, phosphorus and potassium that are essential for healthy skin cells. The vitamin A content helps improve collagen production in your body so your skin can repair itself more quickly after injury or damage from environmental factors such as UV rays from the sun or pollution from city living.
The minerals found in castor oil help nourish your skin cells so they can produce more collagen fibers to keep your skin firm and supple.
The anti-inflammatory properties of castor oil are quite useful for treating conditions like arthritis and psoriasis. Castor oil is also used as an anti-fungal agent to treat fungal infections such as athlete’s foot and ringworm. It also promotes wound healing by stimulating the growth of new tissues at the site of injury or infection.
It has been shown to be effective against many types of bacteria including Staphylococcus aureus (Staph), Streptococcus pyogenes (strep throat), Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumonia), Mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB), Leishmania donovani (leishmaniasis) and Escherichia coli (E coli).
The castor oil pack dates back to ancient times, but recently has been associated with complementary and alternative medicine. This makes sense because castor oil packs are very healing and often provide quick results. A castor oil pack is usually wool soaked in castor oil and applied as a compress to different parts of the body.
You can either buy a pre-made castor oil pack or make your own.
Flannel cloth – wool flannel is preferred, although cotton may be substituted in
the case of wool allergy.
Caster Oil Pack Holder – or plastic wrap or plastic sheet, plus bath towel or large.
elastic bandage, and a few safety pins.
- Hot Water Bottle – do NOT use electric heating pads.
1. Fold flannel into 2-3 thicknesses to fit over your entire abdomen. In many cases (especially if there is a breast or lung issues), cover the entire chest and abdomen.
2. Drizzle approximately 2 Tbsp of castor oil onto the flannel. Note: The first couple of weeks you use the pack you will have to add an additional tablespoon of oil about 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. To prevent doing the castor oil pack on a full stomach, it is best to do it 2-3 hours after a meal.
5. Ideally, lie on your back, with your feet elevated (use of pillow under you knees and feet works well), placing flannel over entire abdomen, cover with a towel and then place a hot water bottle on top. (Note – heat is not required during warm months).
6. Leave pack on for 45-60 minutes. This is an excellent time to now 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 muscles in your body. Alternatively to these you may prefer to just sleep. Some people wear the pack all night using an ace bandage to hold it in place.
7. After finishing, if necessary, you can remove the oil from your skin with a solution of 2 tablespoons of baking soda to 1 quart 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 only be a VERY thin film of castor oil on the skin when you finish the treatment).
8. 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 several months).
9. For maximum effectiveness, it is necessary to apply the pack as often as possible. Try for 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.
- Don’t use during Pregnancy or Menstruation
- Do Not Apply To Open Wounds or Broken Skin
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