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The Ancient Wisdom of Castor Oil


Castor oil is a very old, in fact ancient, traditional remedy. It is detoxifying, balancing, harmonizing, restoring, nourishing and anti-inflammatory.

It comes from the beans of the Ricinus communis, a magnificent ornamental plant.

I saw it in Islington, London for the first time and could not believe the SIZE of its leaves – it is impossible not to notice this giant.

But did you know that the whole plant is very toxic and the seed/bean compound, ricin, is the second deadliest poison on Earth?

This information may surprise you, yet many plants (even ones we commonly eat) have very toxic compounds. When these are used topically or ingested in small amounts, they act as a powerful remedy. They can initiate much needed detoxification or profound healing.

Castor oil has been used for thousands of years in Ayurveda, the most ancient medicinal system known today. Even Cleopatra chose it as a beauty oil for her hair and possibly to brighten the whites of her eyes.


The product to go for needs be organic, cold-pressed, hexane-free and in dark glass. Apparently, there is a special type of plastic that won’t leach, however I always go for a glass bottle. Castor oil will break down anything and everything, plastic included, so I like to be on the safe side.

Beauty and healing

When used topically, castor oil can become part of your beauty regime – to deeply moisturise your skin, thicken your lashes and brows, soften wrinkles (by increasing collagen production) and increase hair growth.


Yet, castor oil is so much more than just a beauty aid. Thanks to its viscous consistency, this oil will penetrate deep into the tissues. Like we said, it will break things down – cysts, scar tissue, adhesions. This is great news for women struggling with PCOS, endometriosis or fibroids, and adhesions after a C-section or other surgeries.

You can successfully treat sore joints or permanently damaged tissues/tendons/ligaments with castor oil.

Castor oil is also ideal for oil pulling as the oil can penetrate the gums deeply and resolve infections around the root or in the bone. You only need about a tablespoon of castor oil (you may wish to add clove or oregano essential oil for even greater antibacterial benefit) to swish in your mouth for a couple minutes. Then spit into the bin, rinse with salt water and brush your teeth. With perseverance you will see amazing results over time.

You will find that many of the ‘chronic conditions’ the mainstream medicine has no solutions to (other than suppressing the symptoms) can be healed with castor oil applications over time.

If we have a persistent issue that has been going on for years, we will have to persevere with the (ideally, daily) treatment. You can start feeling a difference within a week, yet the desired result may take a month or two, even longer.


The mess issue

The thing that put me off using castor oil for years is how MESSY it is. It is that thick, viscous consistency that gets everywhere. Once it leaks on your clothes or in your bed it is very tricky to clean. However, the benefits outweigh the mess issue, without a doubt.

Liver support

In the recent months I had been waking up between 1-3am every night. It was very frustrating as once I woke up, I couldn’t go back to sleep easily. You may remember from my article about the liver (The Liver – King of Balance) that 1-3am is the time when the liver is the most active. Hint, hint … my liver needed some attention.

Well, starting from the first day, since applying a castor pack to my liver I no longer woke up in that time.

Castor oil increases the body’s production of melatonin (thus better sleep) and oxytocin (the hormone of love and safety). As a result we sleep deeper, better and wake up more refreshed. Most people will do a liver castor pack only for an hour in the daytime, yet I find it more beneficial (and more practical) at night.

How to pack

For a liver (or any other pack) you will need an absorbent towel or cloth of natural material. I used to use an organic cotton face cloth, nowadays I use a wool flannel. I find the wool flannel to be a game changer, yet any natural material will do, as long as it’s not dyed or bleached.

Fold your cloth into a desired shape and pour 2 tablespoons of castor oil on top. Let absorb for a minute or two, then apply to your liver area. The oil or towel can be a little warmed up to make it more pleasant, but doesn’t have to. Generally it is recommended to wrap yourself in cling film at this point – to avoid the possible mess – and then relax with a hot water bottle on top – for an hour or two.

I don’t want any plastic on my body so I skip the cling film. Instead, I add another towel and secure it around me with a stretchy bandage and a massive safety pin. It is a little awkward as it is wrapped half on the lower ribs and half off. Yet, (touch wood!) my makeshift castor oil pack has not leaked onto the bed. As we create a lot of heat in our sleep I also omit the hot water bottle.

As a busy mother I don’t have the time or space to recline on the sofa for an hour with a hot water bottle and a messy castor oil pack. So going to bed with it on is an ideal solution for me. If I can find those 5 minutes a day, most of us can.


You will find that the cloth gets quite saturated with the oil and after the first use you only need to add 1 tablespoon. As the oil doesn’t go rancid, especially if you use it at least 3 times a week, you can keep on using the same cloth for good 2-3 months. Then, if you want to clean it, make a solution of warm water with bicarbonate soda. Soak it in, then rub. Rinse thoroughly and dry outside. The cloth will never be perfectly clean but clean enough to use for more castor packs.


Safety tips

If using castor oil for detoxification or hormone balancing (like with PCOS, endometriosis and fibroids), it is best to pack the liver first. Our liver is our main filter and also, it is the liver that balances our hormones. Once we have ‘activated’ the liver, we can start packing other organs. Remember, it is always best to pack only one vital organ at a time.

When packing the liver, you may find an added benefit of getting rid of constipation (which in turn will improve the hormonal balance).


Generally, castor oil is not recommended to use internally. Its toxic compounds cause spasms (cramps) in the body. However, this may just be what a chronically constipated person needs. Also farmers commonly induce labour in sheep with castor oil. If in doubt, it is always best to find a health professional before trying any remedies – natural or other.


When to avoid castor oil

Castor oil is unsafe in pregnancy and ideally avoided when breastfeeding (unless used on hair or face as a beauty aid).

Castor oil increases blood circulation in the body, therefore it should not be used when there is bleeding of any kind or when on a period.

However, I would use a castor pack to induce a healthy menstrual flow if there was only spotting and a lot of cramping.


Always listen to your body. If you do, you will never choose wrong. Castor oil is fairly inexpensive, yet a profoundly healing home remedy. Try it for yourself and share with others who may benefit from the knowledge.

I would love to hear about your healing experiences with castor oil!

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