Healing Castor Oil Packs

By Jill Edwards, ND, LM

Castor oil is absorbed through the skin and is an essential part of removing toxins and regulating inflammation. This treatment can improve the function of your liver and gallbladder, promotes digestion by improving gut motility, all while helping with relaxation and stress management.  As with any new treatment, please check with your doctor to make sure this treatment is appropriate for you.  Castor oil packs should be done for at least 20-40 minutes, four to seven times a week.


  • Pour castor oil onto flannel until it is well moistened but not dripping.
  • Place the flannel over your entire abdomen.
  • Cover with plastic wrap to prevent staining of clothes or bedding. Castor oil does not easily wash out.
  • Apply a hot water bottle or warmed flax seed bag over the treatment area.
  • Apply for 20-40 minutes. A good time to do this treatment is in bed at night accompanied with a healing visualization and deep breathing exercises. Whatever your preference, find a way to work it into your daily routine.
  • Store the flannel pack and plastic wrap in a glass container or Ziploc bag at room temperature. When the flannel begins to feel dry, apply more oil. This flannel and oil may be used for a few months. When the oil smells rancid or off, the pack should be replaced.
  • To remove castor oil, wash skin or towel in a solution of 3 tablespoons baking soda/quart of water.

Alternatives to the Castor Oil Pack

The method above is the most effective method for getting the most out of your castor oil experience. However, there are alternatives if this method is not working into your routine. The most important thing is to have castor oil on your skin regularly.

Rub a small amount of castor oil directly on to your abdomen, then take a hot bath or go to bed and allow the castor oil to soak in overnight. You will want to wear an old t-shirt to bed if you use this method as castor oil does stain. You can still cuddle up with a hot water bottle as you fall asleep to improve the action of the castor oil.