Castor oil – preferably cold-pressed or expeller-pressed, about 16 – 32 oz.
Flannel cloth – wool flannel is preferred, although cotton (such as an old t-shirt or dish towel, for example), may be substituted in the case of wool allergy.
Castor Oil Pack Holder – or plastic wrap or plastic sheet, plus bath towel or large elastic bandage, and a few safety pins
Electric heating pad – or other heating element, like a hot water bottle
Instructions for Use
1. If you like, you may boil or launder the flannel to remove any impurities which may remain in the fabric. Fold the cloth into three or four thicknesses, creating a pad of a size adequate to cover the area to be treated.
2. Massage castor oil over abdomen from lower right to upper right and continue in a clockwise motion.
If you do not have a Castor Oil Pack Holder, you can improvise with using plastic wrap and a towel (or other binding). If using plastic wrap, cut a somewhat larger piece than the folded flannel. A plastic garbage bag normally works fairly well, but it is best to avoid using plastic grocery bags, as they are usually printed with the store name and that ink usually dissolves and spreads when exposed to castor oil.
3. Place the cloth on top of the Pack Holder or plastic wrap and saturate it with castor oil. The cloth should be wet but not dripping. Lay the saturated cloth directly on the skin with the plastic wrap on top of it. If you are applying the pack to your back, you may find it easier to lay the plastic on the bed, put the flannel on top of it, and roll over onto the flannel in such a way as to position it at the area that needs to be treated.
Alternately, you can massage the castor oil directly onto your abdomen and then cover with the cloth, plastic and heating element.
4. Then, if desired, place a heating pad over top the plastic wrap on either a low or medium setting, or more if it is comfortable. The heat will promote absorption, increase circulation, and help the body to relax. This is generally left in place for approximately 15-60 minutes. For your first application, start with 15 minutes and increase as you feel comfortable. Heat should not be used in conditions where it is normally contraindicated, as in the treatment of appendicitis, diabetic neuropathy, or over the abdomen during pregnancy.
Make sure that your plastic covers the entire exterior of the flannel pack, as castor oil is likely to stain any fabric it touches!
Afterward the skin can be cleansed, if desired, with a solution containing a teaspoon of baking soda per pint of water. The flannel pack may be used repeatedly and may be kept in a plastic container between usages, although this is not usually necessary as castor oil is very resistant to spoilage. The flannel pack should be replaced periodically – especially when it appears soiled, as may happen when the area being treated is particularly toxic.
Castor oil pack treatments should always be gentle and with no real side effects. The most common side effect is a rash that may occur at the site of the pack. This typically only occurs during the first few applications of the pack, and may be relieved by using the baking soda wash. Rashes and other reactions are rare, and if they occur they usually indicate that you must be careful with your elimination systems, and perhaps the pack should be used on alternate days for the first week of use. If you experience flu-like symptoms after doing a pack, decrease the frequency and duration of application.
Cleaning the Pack
If you absolutely must clean the pack, begin by soaking the pack in a solution of baking soda and hot water, using four ounces of soda to two quarts of water. After soaking the pack for at least 20 minutes, wring it out thoroughly and allow it to air dry.