Do it yourself: Castor Oil Pack

Some fun facts:  

  • Castor Oil comes from the seeds of the plant Ricinus communis had as been used for its healing process since ancient Egypt, and was known by the Greeks as Kiki.
  • The seed casing has a poisonous substance known Ricin, which made a cameo in an episode of Breaking Bad. But don't worry, ricin is not oil soluble therefore the processing of the bean into oil removes this poison. 
  • When taken internally, castor oil functions as a purgative (cleanses the bowels via stimulating diarrhea). Due to this stimulating nature, it can be used internally for stimulating labor, so pregnant women who aren't wanting to go into labor should avoid ingesting the oil. 
  • It is sometimes referred to as the Palma di Christi, because the leaves reportedly resemble the palm of Christ. Jesus was said to heal via laying on of hands, which is quite interesting when you consider the healing properties of this oil when used topically.
  • Castor Oil packs over the abdomen are used to support liver/gallbladder function, to enhance GI health and to address various reproductive system issues in female patients. Castor oil can also be used to reduce pain, inflammation and promote healing of musculoskeletal injury or tightness and skin lesions. 

How to do a Castor Oil Pack

What you will need: (For convenience we have supplies in the office that you can pick up if preferable)

  • Piece of cotton or wool flannel, ideally organic and without dyes, large enough to cover the abdomen. 
  • Cold Pressed Hexane Free Castor Oil. 
  • Heating Pad (hot water bottle or microwaveable heating pad is preferable over electric heating pad)
  • A piece of plastic, can be part of a trash bag or plastic wrap, large enough to cover the flannel
  • Clothes you don't mind getting stained, the castor oil can be messy. 
  • A comfortable place to lay for 30 minutes to an hour. 
  • Diluted Baking Soda solution to clean abdomen afterwards if desired (optional) 


  • Do not use over broken skin or skin irritation
  • Do not apply heat with an active infection such as a urinary tract infection
  • Do not use castor oil packs while pregnant
  • For more detailed safety information and to find out whether castor oil packs are recommended for you, consult a naturopathic physician. 


  • Find a comfortable place to lay, make sure you are wearing clothes that you don't care about, and protect sheets from staining by placing an old towel or sheet between you and the bed. 
  • Soak Flannel in 1-2 ounces of castor oil, or massage a generous amount to the abdomen. Generally you will want to focus on the area over the liver (upper right quadrant of the abdomen below the ribcage), however this can vary depending the desired effect. 
  • Place the flannel on the abdomen, you can fold the flannel or lay it flat depending on the size of the area to be treated. 
  • Cover the flannel with plastic
  • Place the heating pad on top of the plastic and relax for 30 minutes to an hour. If you fall asleep this is ok, however you will not want to do this if you are using an electric heating pad. 
  • If desired, wipe the abdomen with a solution of water and baking soda to remove residue, however there is nothing wrong with leaving the castor oil on if you are not concerned about staining. 
  • Ideally, repeat treatment 3-5 days in a row, take 2 days off, then repeat again. 
  • You can store the flannel in a container in the fridge and reuse many times!


Enjoy! Contact us with any questions or concerns (808) 933-4325. 




"Heal Yourself at Home" Shirley Emmons. <>