The Forgotten Ancient Detox Oil
By Scott Collins BHSc Naturopathy
It’s from a love of natural medicine that I am always learning and searching for new insights from the natural world. I was chatting with a mentor, and we started talking about the benefits of Castor Oil as she had used it in detoxification. Ironically the topic came up again in conversation with friend, this time she was using it as eye drops to prevent her eyes drying out, as she was trying to prevent glaucoma.
From knowing very little about Castor Oil, I was about to embark on a journey to discover more. Fascinated by the ancient world, they seem to have a knowing as to how to the use plants and oils therapeutically. Much of what we do in the modern era has it roots in antiquity, harnessing the power of plants well before the pharmaceutical age.
From its roots in Ancient Egypt evidence of castor oils therapeutic use was found in tombs 4000 years ago. In the 1800’s it was peddled as a cure all by travelling medicine men. Today this ancient oil is used to aid hair growth, to assist with constipation and detoxification.
Castor Oil has a long historical significance as a natural medicine and today is one of the world’s most important economic industrial oils and yet I have never used it in my 15-year career. I became curious about castor oil and its uses, I simply wanted to know more. Thus, begun my hunt to find evidence for its uses and how it worked?
What is Castor Oil?
Castor oil is a natural plant-based seed oil, whereby the oil is cold press extracted from the seed / bean of the castor plant (Ricinus communis).
What is Castor Oil Good For?
- Cleansing The Bowel – traditionally used as laxative it has also been consumed to promote purging after food poisoning.
- Inducing labor (never try this at home, seek medical attention)
- Castor Oil for Hair Growth – castor oil for hair is a popular natural remedy to help restore growth due to its vitamin E content. (Mix with coconut oil and apply to the scalp)
- Removal of corns (softens them to be exfoliated)
- Softening the skin
- Skin conditions (Bolaji, et al, ISJR, 2319-7064, 2012)
- Menstrual cramping especially with fibroids (warm packs)
- Warm Castor Oil Packs for elimination (a combination of cotton gauss soaked in castor oil, applied topically to the abdomen). A cotton gauze soaked in oil is placed over the liver and left in place for an hour for a total of 2 days. (see the instructions below)
What Else is Castor Oil used For?
- Removal of warts
- Food additives, flavouring and mould inhibitor
- Animal feed (castor meal and husk)
- Biodiesel / Fuel
What’s in Castor Oil?
- Ricinoleic acid (90%) – which is suspected to act as a laxative on the bowel.
- Omega 9’s
- Omega 6’s
- Natural Vitamin E Content
- Carotenoids (antioxidant)
Castor Oil Benefits
- Castor oil may assist in relieving inflammation and pain associated with arthritis. (S, Roopa and Dr M, Missiriya, IJIRT 142591, 2015)
- As a laxative, castor oil which is considered safe and effective according to researchers. (Ganginella et al, HYTOTHERAPY RESEARCH, VOL. 12, S128–S130, 1998) Always see your health professional before gulping down a heap of castor oil.
- Castor Oil may be of benefit to dry eyes and blepharitis. (C, Maissa et al, Contact Lens & Anterior Eye 33(2):76-82, 2009) – when used as drops.
- Warm castor Oil packs applied topically to the fibroid may assist in reducing Uterine Fibroids as part of meditative visualization practice. (A, Warshowsky, Integrative Medicine 4th Edition 2018)
Castor Oil Packs for Detoxification
Edgar Cayce and The Use of Castor Oil Packs
The famed 1900’s psychic Edgar Cayce who delivered over 15000 readings would often prescribe castor oil packs (see below) frequently to assist in returning the body to health. He grew in fame throughout the USA and in most cases would prescribe Castor Oil Packs for many ailments. Many natural health strategies today focus on also detoxification using castor oil packs.
Dr Bernard Jensen refers to “Auto-intoxication” or poisoning from within, and the importance of proper elimination from within especially the bowel as essential to health. Over a lifetime we eat less than ideal foods, be exposed to environmental toxins and live with stress, which can contribute to a body burden of toxins.
M.D. William McGary sought the use of castor oil as he called it a “Remarkable Substance” and was fascinated by its use as an aid for elimination and healing.
How to Make a Castor Oil Packs
Castor oil packs are a great way to give yourself some self-care and self-loving plus it’s so easy to do. As we mentioned earlier it’s best to avoid using castor oil if you are pregnant. Once you have made your Castor Oil Pack, simply place it on the body (see below for more details). I have laid out two different Castor Oil Packs to try.
Double D-Tox Oil Pack (Bentonite Clay and Castor Oil Together)
In this example we’re going to mix Grasses of Life Calcium Bentonite Clay with Organic Castor Oil make a Detox Body Wrap or Detox Face Mask!
What you’ll need:
- A cup of Grasses of Life Calcium Bentonite Clay
- 2 Cups of filtered water
- 3 Tablespoons of Organic Castor Oil
- A sealable container
Method: We’re going to start by adding water to the Calcium BentoniteClay placing 1 cup of Calcium Bentonite Clay into a plastic container with 2 cups of water then sealing the lid. Next, shake vigorously to mix together and reducing lumpiness.
The next thing to do is add the 3 tablespoons of organic castor oil and stir through thoroughly. Allow the final mix to sit for an hour, it will swell and become deliciously creamy.
Applying to the body: Apply a small amount of the mix to the skin (patch test first), then apply liberally to the abdomen over your liver region. Find a nice place to relax on an old towel and leave in place for around 30minutes. Tip: It’s best applied to warm skin after a shower.
Castor Oil Pack
Essentially we’re infusing cloth with Organic Castor Oil placing it over liver. You’ll find many recipes and videos on how to make Castor Oil Packs, we’ve put together a quick version.
What you’ll need:
- Organic Castor Oil
- Cotton Flannel – this can be reused, so don’t throw it away.
- Hot water bottle or heating pad.
- Glass container with lid
- Small towel
Method: Start by cutting the cotton flannel into the size of the area you wish to cover, next placing the cotton flannel in the container and soak with castor oil.
The cotton flannel should be well soaked and shouldn’t drip. It’s always wise to place a heavy towel or even a plastic sheet under your body to avoid mess.
Find a quiet place to lay down for an hour or two and place the castor-soaked flannel onto the skin (over the liver region or wherever it is needed), now wrap the hot water bottle in the small towel and place it on top of the cotton-soaked flannel. It’s suggested to leave the Castor Oil Pack in place for minimum of 30minutes and a maximum of 2 hours.
Be sure to warm up the hot water bottle for when you need it. When you are done place the cotton flannel in the glass container and seal. You can use it up to 25 times. It always a good idea to use old sheets, towel and clothing as castor oil will stain them.
Watch the video tutorial here.
What to Expect from a Castor Oil Pack?
Researchers suggest that Castor Oil Packs work via the lymphatic system where they aid in the reduction of inflammation. Lymphocytes help protect the body against pathogens and toxins. (A, Warshowsky, Integrative Medicine 4th Edition 2018)
What is apparent is the lack of understanding as to how castor oil work to aid detoxification. In the book, Oils That Heal: A Physicians Success with castor oil Treatments the author states how Edgar Cayce used castor oil to:
- Increase elimination
- Stimulate the liver
- Dissolve and remove adhesions
- Relieve constipation
- Stimulate the gall bladder
The author, M.D. McGarey, William A (1993), would often use Castor Oil Packs for liver and gall bladder conditions.
There has been much written regarding Castor Oil Packs, providing the writer with broader view of its use in detoxification and personal care.