castor oil pack

Castor Oil Pack: Benefits, Uses & Side Effects Of This Old-School Remedy

Ever felt like you’re on a never-ending quest for that magic elixir to soothe your aches, boost your health, and make your skin glow? Well, let me introduce you to something Grandma probably used: castor oil packs.

Think of it as your all-in-one, feel-good, look-amazing secret weapon. Whether it’s that time-of-the-month cramps, the aftermath of a weekend warrior workout, or your skin needing some love, castor oil packs are like a big, warm hug for your body.

In this article, you’ll get the lowdown on how this goopy goodness can be a game-changer for everything from liver support to kicking those skin issues to the curb. And the best part? It’s as easy to do as making a cup of tea.

So, if you’re ready to give your body some TLC, let’s unwrap the mystery of castor oil packs together.

Trust me, it’s one throwback remedy that’s totally worth the hype.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure for more information.

What Is A Castor Oil Pack?

A castor oil pack is simply a piece of cloth that’s been soaked in cold-pressed castor oil and put on the skin, usually used with a source of heat such as a hot water bottle or heating pad.

It’s most commonly made with a material that holds a large amount of liquid, such as cotton or wool flannel.

These health-supporting packs are often used for….

  • improving liver function
  • relief from painful periods (along with ovarian cysts and uterine fibroids)
  • reducing joint pain
  • improving skin conditions
  • aiding digestive issues

and that’s just to name a few!

castor oil pack supplies

Feel like this might sound too good to be true?

Turns out there is some research to support the claims.

Castor oil packs are a natural remedy with anti-inflammatory properties that have been found in studies to:

No wonder this traditional medicine practice has been used for thousands of years in many cultures.

The practice of using a cloth soaked in organic castor oil and laid on a particular part of the body is still popular today and is commonly suggested by natural practitioners due to the long list of benefits and the ease of using them.

Health Benefits Of Castor Oil Packs

Because the castor bean is made up of fatty acids, particularly ricinoleic acid, it can improve health and wellness in a variety of ways.

The fatty acids in a castor plant have anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antibacterial, and all-around healing effects which make it an amazing multi-purpose natural remedy.

With the many health benefits of castor oil packs, it’s worth trying out this legendary natural remedy!

castor oil and beans

Let’s go over a few of the benefits in more detail.

1. Promotes Circulation And Lymphatic Function

One of the most significant benefits of this ancient practice is that it can help increase circulation throughout the body, particularly in the lymphatic system.

The triglyceride of fatty acids within the castor oil aid the lymphatic circulation and helps lymph fluid flow throughout the body and people often see success in reducing swollen lymph nodes.

To encourage lymphatic circulation and lymph node drainage, you’ll want to place the castor oil pack on the lymph glands which are near the upper back and neck, shoulders, and groin.

You can also apply it to the abdomen, liver, kidneys, the upper portion of the rib cage, and the upper side of the hipbone for even more exposure.

Good circulation and lymphatic drainage are super important for a healthy functioning body, so assisting in proper function can be a great addition to a healthy routine.

2. Aids Liver Function

One of the greatest castor oil pack benefits is aiding liver function which can help gently cleanse and detox the body.

If you are struggling with adrenal fatigue, thyroid issues, digestive troubles, or any health issue, really- you may need to show your liver a little love and aid in gentle liver detox.

A nice warm pack on the right side of the body over the liver is a great way to do it.

3. Reduces Bloat And Constipation

Using castor oil packs may ease the discomfort of bloating and abdominal pain due to constipation, and may make it easier to have a bowel movement.

In addition to this soothing tonic- a healthy diet, proper hydration, and appropriate exercise or movement are also necessary components of managing or treating severe constipation.

So don’t forget to eliminate junk food, eat plenty of healthy foods, add hydrating drinks, and move your body!

4. Eases Joint Pain And Reduces Inflammation

Those with joint issues such as arthritis (including rheumatoid arthritis) or carpal tunnel syndrome may see a reduction in swelling and pain when using a warm castor oil pack, thanks to the oil’s ability to encourage fluid to drain and bring down inflammation.

To ease joint pain and reduce inflammation, place the castor oil pack on the affected area such as the wrists or knees add warm heat, and enjoy!

Don’t forget to put an old towel underneath or lay on old sheets because the oil will stain.

5. Encourages Tissue Healing

Using a castor oil pack promotes the healing of tissues and organs within the body due to its fatty makeup within the castor oil itself.

The fatty acids get absorbed into the skin and are then used by the body to heal and rejuvenate tissues and cells.

To encourage tissue healing throughout the body, apply the castor oil pack on the abdomen, over the liver, on scar tissue, or wherever needed.

6. Eases Menstrual Pain

Many women see a reduction in pain and discomfort from cramps during their menstrual cycle using this old home remedy, especially when used with heat.

However, this practice may possibly increase bleeding so if you’re prone to heavy menstrual cycles or have any medical condition, you’ll want to speak with your health care provider before using.

7. Boosts Immune System

One of the more noteworthy castor oil pack benefits is that it can help boost immune function by increasing T-11 cells, which helps to defend the body from pathogens and toxins.

If you are interested in using this remedy for immune health you can rotate between your lymph glands in the neck, armpits, abdomen, and groin. 

8. Improves Skin Health

Castor oil can help heal skin, thanks to the anti-inflammatory effects and the component ricinoleic acid found in the oil, which has analgesic properties.

Using castor oil packs can be helpful for getting rid of sunburn, bug bites, reactions, and some rashes because of their ability to heal, and reduce redness, and itching.

It’s also great for moisturizing the skin and preventing fine lines and wrinkles since it seals in the skin’s moisture.

castor oil pack benefits

How to Make a Castor Oil Pack

It’s so easy to make your own castor oil pack whenever you need it.

You just need a few ingredients and you’ll be ready to try it out and start enjoying the benefits.

You will need:

  • high-quality castor oil (preferably organic, cold-pressed, hexane-free, and sustainability sourced)
  • A piece of wool or cotton flannel cloth for soaking in castor oil (preferably unbleached and organic)
  • A heating pad, warm rice pack, or hot water bottle for a heat source
  • Plastic wrap or extra dry cloth for a layer between the pack and heat source
  • Glass jar or bowl for soaking
  • Old clothes or fabric to lay on (castor oil can stain so you’ll want to prevent leaks on whatever you’re sitting or laying on)

Making the castor oil pack:

  1. Gather your supplies from above
  2. Cut the piece of cotton flannel or fabric you’ll be using for soaking in the castor oil to fit where you’ll be placing it (for example, on the stomach, lymph nodes, etc.)
  3. Fold the fabric over itself neatly and place the cloth in a jar or bowl
  4. Slowly pour enough castor oil on the cloth so that the fabric is completely soaked but not drenched (room temperature works best)
  5. Allow it to sit for at least a day to become fully saturated (you may want to shake gently or stir the fabric a bit to encourage saturation)
  6. When fully soaked, take out the fabric and proceed with the steps below for using your castor oil pack

How to Use a Castor Oil Pack

Using your castor oil pack is very easy, but can be messy.

You need to make sure you’re well prepared and allow enough time to be able to sit with the pack on for at least 30 minutes for best results.

(If you are very sensitive you may want to start with a shorter amount of time and work up slowly)

  1. Place the oil-soaked organic flannel on the desired place of your body while laying on some old clothes or towels (to prevent unwanted stains).
  2. Lay a plastic bag or extra cloth on top of the castor oil-soaked fabric to prevent the oil from getting on the heating source.
  3. Place the heating pad, rice pack, or warm water bottle on top of the protective barrier
  4. Add another layer of dry cloth to encourage heat retention
  5. Let sit for at least 30 minutes or up to an hour
  6. Enjoy your favorite tv show, podcast, meditation, or do some deep breathing while you relax and let the oil soak in
  7. When finished, remove the castor oil pack and store it in the glass jar or bowl, then wash your skin thoroughly and stay hydrated to ensure proper detoxification
  8. Repeat as desired or as directed by your health care provider
castor oil poured on cotton flannel

What To Expect After Using A Castor Oil Pack

Depending on where you use the oil, you may have softer skin, feel more relaxed, and while it is possible to experience detox symptoms, this does vary from person to person.

It’s unlikely that you will see significant improvement in your health after one or two uses and will probably see faster improvements when used for ailments like inflammation and improving skin issues.

Many people report that they feel rejuvenated, more energized, and overall healthier the day after using a castor oil pack.

But, results ultimately depend on the individual and how often the process is repeated.

Castor Oil Pack Detox Symptoms & Side Effects

While there really aren’t many side effects of using a castor oil pack, there is always a risk with anything you apply to the skin or use for health.

The most common side effect is a rash, which is always a possibility when applying something to the skin.

If this occurs, discontinue use and wash with soap or a small amount of baking soda and water if you’re having trouble removing the oil.

It is important to test the oil on a small spot on your skin first to make sure you don’t have a reaction.

And as mentioned before, there are some who report castor oil pack detox symptoms such as headache, fatigue, and nausea so if you are sensitive or have a health condition be sure to start slow, increase use time slowly, and drink extra water.

If you get a rash, have a health problem, or experience any concerning reactions, be sure to seek medical advice.

woman with a hot water bottle on her stomach


1. Should You Use Heat With A Castor Oil Pack?

Heat isn’t required but it does help the skin absorb the oil better, relieve pain, and promote relaxation so it may be a more pleasant experience all around.

You can use a heating pad, warm packs like a rice pack, or a hot water bottle.

I have personally found that a nice warm water bottle is my favorite to use.

You don’t have to worry about possible EMFs like when using a heating pad, and they are easy to refill and clean after use.

2. Who should not use a castor oil pack?

Those who are breastfeeding, are pregnant, have open wounds, infections, or have significant health or skin concerns should not use castor oil packs.

If you want to experience the benefits but don’t know if you should use a pack, it’s best to ask your doctor or health care provider.

3. Should you use a castor oil pack every day?

Some people use them often but every day could be too much.

It really depends on why you’re using it and how long you leave the pack on each time.

Remember, start slow and work up a few minutes at a time.

4. Does it matter where I get my castor oil? How do I know my castor oil is pure?

Unfortunately, many castor oil products are full of additives and toxins.

Castor seeds can be sprayed with pesticides, which ruins the purity of the oil.

Some products are made with added fragrances or ingredients, which also ruin the purity and potency of the oil for health benefits.

When you use a product that isn’t high-quality or properly made, you also increase the chances of an allergic reaction due to the extra ingredients and toxins.

Ideally, your castor oil should be organic, cold-pressed, hexane-free, and sustainability sourced.

The ingredients list should contain only organic castor seed oil.

You may end up spending a little more but it is definitely worth it.

5. Can castor oil packs make you feel sick or tired?

Some people claim that they feel tired and sluggish after using castor oil packs.

This could be from a detoxing effect or simply being relaxed.

Not everyone experiences this though.

6. Are there other uses for castor oil?

You can use castor oil externally for treating things like toenail fungus, as a body oil, treating acne, chapped lips, and athlete’s foot, just to name a few benefits.

7. What should I expect after using a castor oil pack?

Many people report that they feel relaxed, fall asleep faster, and feel more rested after using a castor oil pack.

But it’s important to listen to your body, eat well, and get enough rest.

You will also want to stay hydrated.

This helps your body detox more efficiently and may also reduce symptoms such as nausea and headaches.

8.How Do I Know If A Castor Oil Pack Is Working?

Determining if a castor oil pack is working can be a bit subjective, as individual experiences can vary. However, here are a few signs to look for:

  • Relief from symptoms: One of the primary indicators that a castor oil pack is working is the alleviation of symptoms. For instance, if you’re using it to address constipation, you might notice increased bowel movements or less bloating. Similarly, for menstrual pain, you may experience a decrease in cramping and discomfort during menstruation.
    (*Important note- some women claim that using castor oil packs during their period increases bleeding. To be safe, it may be best to skip castor oil packs during menstruation.)
  • Improved sleep and relaxation: Many users report feeling more relaxed and sleeping better after using castor oil packs. This could be an indirect sign that the pack is providing some benefit.
  • Reduced inflammation: If you’re using the castor oil pack for joint pain or inflammation, you might notice reduced swelling, pain, or redness in the affected area.

It’s important to note that results may vary from person to person, and it may take a few sessions to notice improvements.

9. What else should I know?

You should not consume castor oil as it has many side effects when taken internally, especially for pregnant women.

Castor oil packs should not be microwaved either, as it has the potential to smoke and actually catch on fire.

It’s also important to not use castor oil packs on open injuries or wounds that are still healing and at risk of infection.

A Few Last Thoughts…..

As you can see, there are so many benefits to adding a castor oil pack to your self-care regimen.

This interesting ancient practice can help support your liver, encourage your lymphatic system to circulate and drain more easily, help with menstrual cramps, arthritis, reduce pain and swelling, improve digestion, and generally promote healing.

There are few known side effects to using castor oil packs, but it should be used with caution because, though rare, allergic reactions are possible (like any product related to your health and wellness).

Pregnant women should not use castor oil either internally or externally and women who are breastfeeding or have menstrual problems should consult their healthcare provider beforehand.

The same applies if you have specific health conditions.

Have you tried a castor oil pack? I would love to hear about your experience! Feel free to comment below or send me a message and tell me about it.

castor oil pack

12 thoughts on “Castor Oil Pack: Benefits, Uses & Side Effects Of This Old-School Remedy”

  1. Good day
    I have polycystic liver and I was wondering if CASTER OIL packs was safe and would be beneficial to use or danger!! and how do I use it and should I use it
    Thank you

    1. Hi Gail,
      Thank you for your question, I’m sure others with the same issue have been wondering this as well. Unfortunately, I cannot give medical advice so that would be something you would need to ask your healthcare provider.

  2. Therese Almanza

    I have don’t the caster oil pack for two nights in a row now to detox my liver and help with gallbladder sludge. Can the caster oil pack cause stomach pains and diarrhea? I left the pack on all night for two nights in a row. Might be to much since I am sensitive to all treatments and or medications.

    1. Hi Therese,

      Sorry that you’re experiencing discomfort. I imagine using a castor oil pack for that long could cause stomach pain and diarrhea for some. I usually suggest that people start by rubbing the oil on their abdomen (with no heat) as a test and if no unwanted symptoms occur after a few days, then move on to using the actual castor oil pack (with heat) for about 10 minutes once or twice a week and slowly work up from there. I hope that info helps and you feel better soon!

  3. Just done a castor oil pack on liver for the first time, could it make you sick to stomach and have a lot of mucus? I do usually herx after any detox so wondering if this is what happened. Also sulphur burps?


    1. Hi Kim,
      It’s possible that a castor oil pack could leave you feeling a little off. How long did you use the pack for?
      If you’re sensitive you may need to start low and go very slow. Some people start by just putting a small amount of castor oil on their skin with no heat source for a few days to a week. If you feel fine doing that you could try adding heat for just a few minutes (5 minutes or so). If all is good after that and you feel well, you could slowly work up to using a CO pack for a longer amount of time for a few days per week.
      That is just a suggestion, every person is different so be sure to do what’s best for you and your body.

  4. WomanWitTheIssueofBlood

    I recently started CO packs, massaging it into my belly button and lower stomach, then applying pack plus heating pad. It might be just me, but it seems no one is giving the nitty gritty about what to expect while using it… Another factor that I haven’t heard about, I’m also overweight and I’ve got a pretty round belly… so there’s that… And I’ve suffered for years with ovarian cysts and extremely painful and heavy periods. I even had surgery to remove an a couple and a DNE for a missed miscarriage. Suspect endo but unconfirmed, doctors always gave me the run around… anywho … for years I literally could not even make it from the toilet to the bathtub without needing to remove my bathroom rugs… iykyk… So I started the heated packs about a week before this period, it made it start a few days late then as advised, I took a break from the packs once my flow started. Dont need this thing getting any heavier lol. Now I usually have cramps from the day before to the day after when I’m spotting, about 7 days for over 20 years… fun times… this time, no pain to start. Interesting… Then cramps came, pretty bad, my usual but not as constant. And I also always have clots, deep/dark red ones, huge, sometimes stringy, and occasionally jelly like. With the CO I seemed to have more and once in the shower it was a lot in a quick succession like 6 nice sized ones, I’m giving it all lol. In general it does seems to be a little more clots than usual but I could be tripping lol. But it’s not the same contraction level pain when they’re passing. And they have quickly changed from my normal darker color, to a really bright red. And my flow went from a pretty lighter start than usual than to my norm (I’m talking super overnight pads plus the absorbent period panty things and boy shorts for good measure, yet will still soak through to my pants if I’ve stood after a good sit/walked too long)…. The struggle… So anyway, I recently passed a bright red jellylike, cylindrical shaped one. Kinda like the size of a 5-pack of gum. I have never seen my flow so light colored, it was bright red. It was oddly satisfying and made me very hopeful… So… has anyone else noticed any changes in their clots/ color of flow from the CO? I’m 4 days into my cycle so going to resume CO after my flow but I’m so optimistic. What else should I expect to see for those who have had shrunken or disappearing cysts from the CO treatments? If you’re overweight polease include that insight too, I was initially worried the castor oil might not make it deep enough but clearly something’s going on… Hopefully something good and an end to me wishing I could have gotten a hysterectomy at 14, lol. Let me know your experience

    1. Hello,
      Thanks so much for sharing your experience. It’s great that you feel you could be seeing improvement from using castor oil packs. Please keep us updated!

  5. Thank you for your very complete and interesting tutorial for the use of Castor oil Pack. I would just like to comment that I am 73 years old, with very white hair. About three weeks ago I massaged my face with Oil, and recently I have seen that I have grown a lot of very black hair (my original color). Two days ago I started massaging my scalp and the first application stopped the constant itching on the skin of my head!

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