Friday, November 20, 2009

the good ol' castor oil pack

Castor oil, which is made from the castor bean, has been used medicinally for thousands of years. Castor beans have been found in ancient Egyptian tombs, and in ancient Rome, the plant was commonly referred to as the Palma Christi (or "palm of Christ") because of its unique ability to heal whatever it came into contact with.
Today, we use the oil topically in what we call a "castor oil pack" originally introduced by Edgar Cayce in the early 1900's. The pack is generally applied over the liver and/or the majority of the abdomen, often heat is applied either through a heating pack or hot water bottle and left on for about 30 mins.
What does the pack do? Well, it stimulates the flow of your lymph, reduces inflammation, and stimulates blood flow to the application area, all of which aid in you're body's ability to eliminate waste via your liver and GI. It can also be applied topically to areas of inflammation/aches/pains and will significantly aid in the reduction of inflammation and increased healing. The pack is useful to do once a day, a few times a week to really help assist the bodies ability to eliminate efficiently, reduce inflammation, boost immune function, and calm the nervous system. It is a very calming treatment and great to do before bed. Topical castor oil is also a great remedy for babies with colic. A small amount of warm oil can be massaged into their bellies and left to soak in, having a soothing affect.
How does one go about doing a castor oil pack? Good question... first here is how not to do it:

and now, here is how to do it:

Supplies needed:
*cold pressed castor oil (can be found at your local pharmacy)
*flannel cloth (cotton or wool; 20"-40" x 24"-48")
*plastic wrap (optional)
*an old towel or two
*hot water bottle or heating pad
*two safety pins to hold towel in place (optional)
*glass storage container (9x9" pyrex dish or similar container)

1. Fold flannel to fit over abdomen and pour oil onto it until well moistened but not dripping wet
2. Lie down placing flannel directly on skin over treatment area (focus on the area shown in yellow, but don't feel limited to this area)
3. Next cover with plastic wrap and/or an old towel (the plastic is because the oil will stain fabric, but I just have a couple designated castor oil towels)
4. Place your heat source over the treatment area
5. Lay back and relax for 30-60 mins
6. When done, place flannel back in an airtight glass container and it can be reused over and over for a few months, reapplying oil to the flannel as needed
7. To get the oil off your skin after the treatment, hair conditioner works great... just apply and wipe clean or hop in the shower and wash off
(Repeat 1x daily as often as possible)

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