Castor oil is a remedy that has been used through the ages, and most notably brought to light for healing purposes by Edgar Cayce. It has some wonderful healing properties, and for those experiencing menstrual difficulty it can be very supportive on a number of levels. Ricinoleic acid is the main component of castor oil, it exerts anti-inflammatory effects and enhances immune function*. Applying a pack to the lower abdomen can be very effective in decongesting the pelvis. There are many ways to make an external castor oil pack, some can be very messy. I have tried to hone this to the least messy way! To make a pack you will need the following:
- Rectangle of cotton wool (big enough to cover lower abdomen)
- Good quality castor oil (I use the organic Pukka brand – found in most health food shops)
- Cling film/food wrap/plastic bag
- Old Pj’s
- Hot water bottle
- Time to rest
Take the cotton wool and apply a generous layer of castor oil. Apply the cotton wool oil side down to your bare skin on the lower abdomen. Cover the cotton wool with a layer of cling film or plastic bag (to protect clothes), then apply the hot water bottle over the plastic in order to heat up the oil to allow it to penetrate your skin. Relax and lie down for an hour or at least 30 mins. Do this 3-4 times a week. (Protect soft furnishings with towels when sitting.) You can re-use your pack by folding over the cotton wool and placing it in a bag in the fridge. When you are ready to use again simply add another layer of fresh oil on top and repeat steps above. You can re-use the pack 4 times and then discard and begin a new one.
Castor oil has a cleansing decongesting effect on the pelvis and reproductive organs and is a modality recommended with a course of Arvigo Maya Abdominal Therapy sessions.
DO NOT use a castor oil pack:
- whilst you are menstruating (may make the flow heavier)
- at ovulation and onwards in the 2nd half of the cycle (if trying to conceive)
- if you are pregnant
- if you have an IUD
If you have a skin sensitivity and a rash occurs (rare) simply wash off the oil with a solution of 1 tablespoon of baking soda to a cup of warm water.
*Further Reading: Immunomodulation through Castor Oil packs – Harvey Grady