*This post is for informational purposes only and should not be used in place of medical care.
What if I told you there was a simple wellness tool that you could use that would potentially assist with liver detoxification, reduce inflammation, support gut health, and help with constipation? I’m talking about castor oil packs! (affiliate)
I had the privilege to interview Sherri McKnight, the former Medical Advisor for Queen of the Thrones about the benefits and uses of castor oil packs.
You will learn so much about castor oil packs in this video. This is a relatively recent practice for me and one I have enjoyed adding to my wellness routine.
What is castor oil?
Native to Africa, India, and the Mediterranean region, the Castor plant, Ricinus communis in Latin, has spread worldwide since ancient times.
The plant is one of the world’s oldest cultivated crops. While castor oil can be beneficial, castor beans can cause injury. Castor oil DOES NOT contain the toxic component, ricin.
The FDA considers castor oil generally regarded as safe and up to a tablespoon per day is considered approved for internal use, it can cause extreme digestive upset in some people.
For this post, I am only speaking of using castor oil externally.
What is a castor oil pack?
A castor oil pack is a piece of wool or a cloth soaked in castor oil that you apply on the skin, generally over the liver.
The cloth may be cotton flannel, other dense material, or a Queen of the Thrones pack, that will hold the castor oil.
People use castor oil packs for several ailments, including but not limited to skin conditions, blood circulation problems, and digestive issues.
This post contains affiliate links therefore I will earn a commission if you use any links to purchase.
How long have people been using castor oil packs?
Castor oil packs have been used since around 1500 BC and the Egyptians were early Pioneers of the oil according to this article.
They initially used it as a lamp oil before realizing that it had healing properties.
Even though castor oil packs are becoming more and more popular to use, they have been around for a very long time!
What are the benefits of using a castor oil pack?
I started using a castor oil pack after my Registered Dietitian told me it could help with my health concerns.
I have Hashimoto’s and have inflammation in my body, so it was recommended I start incorporating one into my wellness routine.
Some benefits of using a castor oil pack could be:
(All studies are noted at the bottom of this FAQ page)
- Deeper sleep
- Improved digestion and absorption
- Improved bowel movements
- Enhanced antioxidant levels
- Elimination of toxins via glutathione
- Reduction in inflammation
- Optimized immune system
- Balanced microbiome
Can you buy a castor oil pack?
You can make your castor oil pack using a piece of flannel and a heating pad, but I recommend the packs that Queen of the Thrones sells.
They are made with organic cotton flannel, polyurethane, and nylon and are free of chemicals, flame retardants, dyes, & bleach. They are also so easy to use and far less messy than a DIY pack.
Queen of the Thrones also has different packs for different uses. They have packs you can use for the liver, thyroid, pelvis, eye compress, and hair. They also have smaller packs for children.
How to use a castor oil pack
The Queen of the Thrones pack has a flannel side and a polyurethane side and straps that you use to tie on to yourself and it makes using one much easier to do because you don’t have to lay completely still while you are using it.
- Place approximately 1 tablespoon of castor oil in the middle of the pack and avoid the seams. (The first time you use one you will want to use 2 tablespoons because the flannel will soak up more of the oil the first time)
- I gently rub the cloth together to ensure the oil won’t drip down. Castor oil is a thick oil so you don’t want to use too much!
- Place the liver castor oil pack over the right side of your abdomen, and your liver, and use the straps to tie the pack on yourself.
- I wear my liver pack overnight, as recommended by Queen of the Thrones.
- Store in a glass container or mason jar. DO NOT store in plastic as the castor oil pulls from whatever it is in.
How often should you use a castor oil pack?
As with any wellness routine, whatever you can do consistently will benefit you the most. The more consistently you can wear your pack, the more likely you’ll see benefits.
It is safe to use daily if you tolerate it.
How do you wash a castor oil pack?
There are two ways to wash the pack. I’ve tried both and honestly don’t have a preference, both worked about the same for me.
- Soak overnight in a bowl in a mixture of hot water, baking soda, and natural dish soap
- In the morning, hand wash with hot water and natural dish soap, wring it out very well
- Take an old tea towel (that you don’t mind ruining) and lay the outer layer of the pack against it. Roll the pack up in the tea towel, blotting out the oil until there is a little oily residue left on the outer layer
- Hang to dry
- Put your castor oil pack in your dishwasher, securing it by tying the straps to the inner rack
- Run your dishwasher with a natural dishwashing soap/puck
- Remove from the dishwasher, using an old tea towel, roll it up in the towel to blot and press out any oil residue
- Hang to dry
Can you use a castor oil pack during your period?
You can also use castor oil packs during menstruation according to Sherri McKnight, the Medical Advisor at Queen of the Thrones.
Castor oil and castor oil packs affect your blood indirectly. Via nitric oxide release, it reduces platelet-activating factor (Paf), keeping the bloodless inflamed and with healthier clotting.
Castor oil also stimulates the uterus’s smooth muscle contraction during your menses to move and eliminate. This results in less clumpy period blood with a shorter bleeding time.
DO NOT wear a castor oil pack while you are pregnant.
What do I need to start using a castor oil pack?
You will need castor oil and a pack to use. I started with the liver pack and then added on the thyroid pack later.
You DO NOT wear the thyroid pack overnight since it is placed around your neck. It is recommended to wear it for about an hour before bed.
Queen of the Thrones sells bundles that make getting started super easy. You will have to replace your castor oil pack once it becomes overly saturated, around 30 or so times, depending on the amount of oil you use.
The bundle I’d recommend starting with would be the Castor Oil Pack for Liver.
This post is not medical advice and I recommend talking to your own healthcare provider.