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One of my favorite and staple treatments is the castor oil pack. But why?

Many patients, especially those over 60 years old might remember their mother or grandmother having them take a tablespoon of castor oil orally to act as a laxative, uggh! Other female patients might have used castor oil to help a stalled labor. These are uses of castor oil but not the primary way I use it in my practice.

I recommend castor oil packs for nearly every patient in my practice. Castor oil has a long history of use first noted in the Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine texts. To read more about the history of castor oil check out this article.

In naturopathic medicine the castor oil pack came into use around the early 1900’s. Edgar Cayce, a medical medium of the time, would go into trance and channel a prescription for the person. The one common thread among all of his prescriptions was the castor oil pack – applied over the liver. He gave over 1800 prescriptions!


So why is the castor oil pack so effective and in nearly every one of my treatment plans?

Here are the benefits of using the pack:

  • Parasympathetic nervous system stimulation (calming)
  • Stimulates lymphatic flow – detoxes
  • Reduces inflammation in the digestive tract
  • Digestion process is improved – break down, absorption and elimination
  • Stimulates neurohormone production
  • Decreases pain sensation

What conditions is the castor oil pack good for?

  • Digestive issues such as – IBS, IBD, SIBO, Constipation, Crohn’s, Colitis, Reflux
  • Immune boosting – a large portion of immune system is in the gut
  • Hormone dysregulation
  • Stress or anxiety
  • Detox
  • Cancer
  • Infertility
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Acne, wrinkles, skin issues
  • Practically anything!

Do you need to use a pack? The short answer is yes. This article goes into great detail about why the pack is necessary – the bottom line is it just works better and you get the full effects.

How to make the Castor Oil Pack (COP) your favorite treatment!

  • The cotton flannel (the pack) does not need to be super saturated. Castor oil is thick and sticky. When first using your pack LIGHTLY SATURATE the pack. ¼ cup or less is sufficient to get you started.
  • Use a COP holder – this helps to contain the oil
  • Dedicate a set of clothes to wear when doing your COP or go naked ;). Patients have also used a sleeping bag dedicated to COP treatment.
  • Apply about 1 Tbsp of oil on 1x/week to re-saturate the pack.
  • Create a ritual – doing it before bed, lighting a candle, playing healing music, visualizing the oil decreasing inflammation. All of these support the positive effects.
  • I highly recommend purchasing castor oil in a glass bottle. This is what I offer in the office and you can order on Fullscript. This ensures no plastic is absorbed into the oil.

I’ve been doing castor oil pack treatments since 2001 and it truly is one of my favorite and most effective treatments. I know it will become yours as well!

In radiant health,

Dr. Laura