Castor Oil Packs and Women’s Health
For years Ayurvedic medicine and Chinese medicine has used castor oil to support women’s health.
The main constituent of castor oil is ricinoleic acid, an omega-9 which has been found to improve local blood flow and provide anti-inflammatory pain relief.
From a TCM understanding, castor oil encourages blood movement, moves body fluids and is an effective treatment for pain in the body.
It has the potential to strengthen the immune system, improve lymphatic drainage function, improve digestion, bring on labour and alleviate constipation.
It is often recommended by natural health practitioners to support gynecological conditions such as cysts, scar tissue, endometriosis, and blockages in the fallopian tubes.
Research is limited. There’s not a lot of money to be made in castor oil so limited motivation to ask more questions!
Many women report improvement in period pain with the consistent use of a castor oil pack.
I recommend them for any women who experience painful periods, diagnosed with endometriosis, post laparoscopy, PCOS, recurrent cysts and pelvic inflammatory disease.
I don’t advise using them during a stimulated or frozen IVF cycle, but would suggest using them in the three cycles prior and after egg collection if doing a freeze all cycle.
Castor oil packs are not recommended to use after ovulation if you’re trying to fall pregnant and not to be used while bleeding.
Instructions for use:
You will need:
- Castor Oil – Organic and Cold Pressed
- Flannel Cloth (cotton or wool, washed and dried, 50-100cm square)
- Plastic wrap (clear kitchen plastic wrap or plastic bag without printing) or waterproof cover
- Glass dish (Pyrex or similar dish large enough to warm the flannel castor oil pack prior to use)
- Old bath towel
- Heat pack, hot water bottle or hot gel pack
- Fold the washed and dried flannel cloth so that it is 2-3 layers thick and fits over most of your abdomen.
- Soak the flannel cloth in castor oil. Strip or loosely wring out the excess oil. There will be excess oil for the first few applications, after that the castor oil pack should not drip excess oil.
- Put the castor oil pack in a heat-safe glass dish and place in microwave to heat to a comfortable temperature.
- Lay down in a comfortable position. You may want to place an old towel or plastic under you during the initial applications to avoid oil stains from getting on your bedding, upholstery or carpeting. If performing scar massage, gently massage castor oil into body area to be treated. If you are working on an external scar, find the 3 firmer or less mobile areas and work your fingertip/s over each one separately in a clockwise direction.Then place the castor oil pack directly on your abdomen.
- Cover the pack with a sheet of plastic, again to avoid staining.
- Wrap an old towel around your abdomen to hold the castor oil pack in place, and secure. Place a hot water bottle or gel pack over the towel. You can wrap yourself in a warm blanket
- Leave the castor oil pack on for 45-60 minutes.
- When you are done, store the pack in the glass pyonex container. The pack can be used repeatedly, adding more castor oil as needed. The castor oil pack can be used for several months.
Disclaimer: this advice is intended as general only. For individual advice, please talk to your health practitioner. Potential risks of overuse of castor oil packs could result in rashes, itching and swelling if found allergic, bring on premature labour if used in pregnancy and physical discomfort associated with changes to blood flow and lymphatic drainage. Castor oil packs may interact with some medications and if used as a laxative, may cause dehydration and low potassium levels. I would never recommend ingesting castor oil.