Castor Oil

Castor oil has been used therapeutically for hundreds of years, both internally and externally. Applied topically, it has many beneficial effects in a wide range of conditions. Almost 90% of its fatty acid content consists of ricinoleic acid. Such a high concentration of this unusual, unsaturated fatty acid is thought to be responsible for castor oil’s healing abilities.

The easiest way to use castor oil is to massage it into the body on the problem spot, along the spinal cord, the abdomen, or following the lymph drainage patterns. For superficial problems, topical application without using the heating pad is usually sufficient. It can also be taken internally, but is a strong laxative and is used to treat constipation. Despite being a simple procedure, the castor oil pack can produce good results.

For the strongest effect, use a hot oil pack. Physiological effects of the castor oil pack include stimulating the liver, increasing eliminations, relieving pain, increasing lymphatic circulation, improving gastrointestinal function, increasing relaxation and reducing inflammation.

Materials Needed

  • Three layers of natural, uncolored wool or flannel cotton large enough to cover the area being treated
  • Castor oil
  • Plastic wrap large enough to cover the cloth
  • Hot water bottle or electric blanket


  • Soak cotton with castor oil. It should be saturated but not dripping
  • Place the pack on the area being treated, for example lower right abdomen (liver)
  • Cover the pack with plastic wrap and place a hot water bottle or electric heating pad over the pack
  • Leave the pack on for 30-60 minutes. Use the castor oil pack 3-7 days per week

Precautions include avoiding meal times, not using the pack during heavy menses, and avoiding contact with fabric that could become stained. The same pack may be used for weeks or months. Refresh with additional oil if necessary.

Conditions which have been responsive to castor oil applications include:

  • skin keratosis
  • ringworm
  • fungal and bacterial infections
  • wounds
  • abdominal stretch marks (prevention)
  • bursitis
  • sebaceous cysts
  • warts
  • ’liver’ or age spots
  • muscle strains
  • ligament sprains
  • itching
  • chronic fluid retention with swollen joints and pain
  • arthritis
  • upper respiratory infections involving the sinuses, tonsils and inner ear
  • colon problems involving inflammation
  • gallbladder disease
  • boils
  • liver cirrhosis, hepatitis, enlargement or congestion
  • menstrual-related congestion
  • appendicitis
  • hyperactivity
  • constipation, bowel impaction or adhesions
  • swollen lymph nodes
  • bladder and vaginal infections


Castor Oil can help with the following


Liver Spots

Although only folk remedy, the easiest way to use castor oil is directly on the area where the spots are. You can try applying it twice a day for several weeks to see if it will make a difference.


Enlarged Lymph Nodes

When castor oil is absorbed through the skin, several extraordinary events take place. The lymphocyte count of the blood increases and the flow of lymph increases throughout the body. This speeds up the removal of toxins surrounding the cells and reduces the size of swollen lymph nodes. The end result is a general overall improvement in organ function with a lessening of fatigue and depression.


Lymphatic Congestion

One of the most significant benefits of castor oil is being a stimulant to the lymph system, improving lymphatic flow and increasing the activity of the cleansing of tissues.


Organ Health  

Liver Detoxification / Support Requirement

Castor oil packs are commonly placed over the liver.






Sebaceous Hyperplasia

Saturate a piece of white cotton or flannel with castor oil and apply to the surface of the cyst. Hold a hot water bag or similar heating pad on top of the castor oil compress for 1/2 hour to an hour at least once daily. The theory is that castor oil helps the lymphatic system to shrink the cyst. The hot water improves blood flow to the area also.

Tumors, Benign  

Ovarian Cysts

Castor oil packs can help reduce inflammation.


May do some good
Likely to help


Fatty Acids

Chemical chains of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms that are part of a fat (lipid) and are the major component of triglycerides. Depending on the number and arrangement of these atoms, fatty acids are classified as either saturated, polyunsaturated, or monounsaturated. They are nutritional substances found in nature which include cholesterol, prostaglandins, and stearic, palmitic, linoleic, linolenic, eicosapentanoic (EPA), and decohexanoic acids. Important nutritional lipids include lecithin, choline, gamma-linoleic acid, and inositol.


A clear fluid that flows through lymph vessels and is collected from the tissues throughout the body. Its function is to nourish tissue cells and return waste matter to the bloodstream. The lymph system eventually connects with and adds to venous circulation.


Most commonly 'topical application': Administration to the skin.


A substance (food, herb, chemical) that stimulates evacuation of the bowels. Examples include cascara sagrada, senna, castor oil, aloe vera, bisacodyl, phenolphthalein and many others.


Difficult, incomplete, or infrequent evacuation of dry, hardened feces from the bowels.

Lymph Glands

Located in the lymph vessels of the body, these glands trap foreign material and produce lymphocytes. These glands act as filters in the lymph system, and contain and form lymphocytes and permit lymphatic cells to destroy certain foreign agents.


Pertaining to the stomach, small and large intestines, colon, rectum, liver, pancreas, and gallbladder.


The bursa is a fluid-filled pad that allows your muscles to easily slide over other muscles and bones. Bursitis occurs when this pad becomes inflamed. It usually occurs when you overuse or injure a specific joint, but it can also be caused by a bacterial infection. Symptoms include pain and inflammation around joints such as the elbow, hip, shoulder, big toe, ankle or knee.


A closed pocket or pouch of tissue; a cyst may form within any tissue in the body and can be filled with air, fluid, pus, or other material. Cysts within the lung generally are air filled, while cysts involving the lymph system or kidneys are fluid filled. Cysts under the skin are benign, extremely common, movable lumps. These may develop as a result of infection, clogging of sebaceous glands, developmental abnormalities or around foreign bodies.

Age Spots

Also called "liver spots", these are flat, brown areas usually found on the face, hands, back and feet. They vary in size from 1/8 of an inch to several inches (0.3cm to several cm) and are associated with aging, but long-term sun exposure is also a major cause.


Usually Chronic illness: Illness extending over a long period of time.


Inflammation of a joint, usually accompanied by pain, swelling, and stiffness, and resulting from infection, trauma, degenerative changes, metabolic disturbances, or other causes. It occurs in various forms, such as bacterial arthritis, osteoarthritis, or rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis, the most common form, is characterized by a gradual loss of cartilage and often an overgrowth of bone at the joints.


The part of the large intestine that extends to the rectum. The colon takes the contents of the small intestine, moving them to the rectum by contracting.


A small, digestive organ positioned under the liver, which concentrates and stores bile. Problems with the gallbladder often lead to "gallbladder attacks", which usually occur after a fatty meal and at night. The following are the most common symptoms: steady, severe pain in the middle-upper abdomen or below the ribs on the right; pain in the back between the shoulder blades; pain under the right shoulder; nausea; vomiting; fever; chills; jaundice; abdominal bloating; intolerance of fatty foods; belching or gas; indigestion.


A long-term disease in which the liver becomes covered with fiber-like tissue. This causes the liver tissue to break down and become filled with fat. All functions of the liver then decrease, including the production of glucose, processing drugs and alcohol, and vitamin absorption. Stomach and bowel function, and the making of hormones are also affected.


Inflammation of the liver usually resulting in jaundice (yellowing of the skin), loss of appetite, stomach discomfort, abnormal liver function, clay-colored stools, and dark urine. May be caused by a bacterial or viral infection, parasitic infestation, alcohol, drugs, toxins or transfusion of incompatible blood. Can be life-threatening. Severe hepatitis may lead to cirrhosis and chronic liver dysfunction.

Lymph Nodes

Small, bean-shaped nodes at various points throughout the body that function to filter the lymph fluid and attempt to destroy the microorganisms and abnormal cells which collect there. The most common locations are the neck (both sides and front), armpit and groin, but also under the jaw and behind the ears. Swollen or painful lymph nodes generally result from localized or systemic infection, abscess formation, or malignancy. Other causes of enlarged lymph nodes are extremely rare. Physical examination for lymph nodes includes pressing on them to check for size, texture, warmth, tenderness and mobility. Most lymph nodes can not be felt until they become swollen, and then will only be tender when pressed or massaged. A lymph node that is painful even without touching indicates greater swelling. Lymph nodes can usually be distinguished from other growths because they generally feel small, smooth, round or oval-shaped and somewhat mobile when attempts are made to push them sideways. Because less fat covers the lymph nodes in children, they are easier to feel, even when they are not busy filtering germs or making antibodies. Children’s nodes enlarge faster, get bigger in response to an infection and stay swollen longer than an adult's.

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