What are Castor Oil Packs - how do they work and what do they do?

Written by: Olivia Aurora


Healf Journal

In the sphere of natural remedies, castor oil packs have long held a place of high regard for their many healing properties. Derived from the seeds of the castor oil plant. Its uses date back to Ancient Egypt when Cleopatra is said to have used them to brighten the whites of her eyes. These packs have been utilised for centuries to address a multitude of conditions and promote overall well-being. 

Castor oil packs involve infusing a piece of cloth with castor oil and applying it to the skin, typically over the liver. The pack is then covered with a warm compress and left in place for a specified period, usually ranging from an hour to ideally overnight to get the most benefits. This facilitates the absorption through the skin, allowing it to wield its healing effects on the body.

How do Castor Oil Packs work?

Castor oil contains Ricinoleic acid, which is responsible for its therapeutic properties. Ricinoleic acid exhibits anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antimicrobial properties, making it a powerful tool in combating various health issues. When applied topically with a castor oil pack, ricinoleic acid penetrates the skin initiating a cascade of physiological responses.

What are the benefit of Castor Oil Packs?

Castor oil packs offer a simple yet effective way to apply the healing power of nature for various health concerns. Whether you're seeking relief from pain, support for your digestive system, balance your hormones or a natural way to promote detoxification, castor oil packs may be worth exploring as a complementary therapy.

Castor Oil Packs Benefits:

Pain Relief : One of the primary benefits of castor oil packs is their ability to alleviate pain and discomfort. Ricinoleic acid acts as a natural analgesic, soothing sore muscles and reducing inflammation. This makes castor oil packs particularly beneficial for individuals suffering from conditions such as arthritis, menstrual cramps, or muscle strains. 

Detoxification : Castor oil packs can support the body's detoxification process by stimulating the liver to detox, activate lymphatic drainage and enhance circulation. By applying the pack over the liver toxins and metabolic waste products are drawn out and eliminated more efficiently. 

Digestive Health : Castor oil packs are beneficial in promoting digestive wellness. By applying the pack over the abdomen, it may help stimulate bowel movements and relieve constipation. Additionally, the anti-inflammatory properties of castor oil may soothe gastrointestinal inflammation and leaky gut syndrome as well as support overall digestive function. 

Similarly, the liver plays a huge role in the secretion of digestive juices and enzymes that are essential in keeping digestion running and operating smoothly.

Skin Care : The moisturising and antimicrobial properties of castor oil make it a popular ingredient in skincare products. When applied topically via a castor oil pack, it can help hydrate the skin, reduce inflammation, and combat acne or other skin issues.

Stress Reduction and Deep Sleep : Applying a castor oil pack on your liver or as an eye compress can have tremendous stress-relieving benefits. The soothing properties of castor oil coupled with the warmth and gentle pressure of the pack, create a calming cortisol reducing effect that in exchange raise melatonin levels thus promoting relaxation and deep sleep.

How to make a Castor Oil Pack

You will need: 

  • A piece of pure cotton fabric, large enough so that when it is folded 2-3 times it measures about 30cm square.
  • A pint of castor oil, preferably organic and cold pressed

  • 2 towels

  • Some plastic wrap such as cling film

  • A small heat pad or hot water bottle

  • 1 litre of water

  • 2 tbsp of baking soda


  • Fold the fabric so it is several thicknesses and the desired size

  • Pour some castor oil into a shallow pan and soak the fabric in it

  • Gently wring out the fabric so it is well saturated with castor oil but not dripping

  • Place a towel on the bed to protect your bedding

  • Place the castor oil saturated pad over your abdomen and liver area

    so the oiled fabric is against your skin.

  • Wrap your abdomen in cling film to hold the pack in place

  • Lie down and place a towel over your abdomen

  • Apply the heat pad or hot water bottle to your liver and abdominal area. If the hot

    water bottle cools then refill with hot water to ensure maximum benefit

  • Keep in place for a minimum of 1 hour, preferably 2

  • When finished, remove the pad and place in a large jar until the next use. Close the

    lid tightly

  • To remove the castor oil, wash your abdomen with a mixture of 1 Litre of water and

    2 tbsp of baking soda to remove residue.

You can also purchase incredible castor oil packs that you can wrap around the target area of the body to avoid the sticky situation that can be caused and instead wear the castor oil pack whilst on the go around the house.


This article is for informational purposes only, even if and regardless of whether it features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. The views expressed in this article are the views of the expert and do not necessarily represent the views of Healf