How To Do A Castor Oil Pack the Lazy Way

A castor oil pack is something that sounds not-glamorous. Not-glamorous to the same extent as say a mustard plaster, or possibly even an enema (gasp).  I get that. This isn’t a sexy sounding topic, but the thing is, doing a castor oil pack is one of the simplest, gentlest, best life hacks for liver health, gallbladder function and even women’s hormones and breast health. I honestly think if everyone would do these on a regular basis, we’d have world peace. Okay, not quite world peace, but we’d all be a lot healthier.

What is a Castor Oil Pack?

Simply stated, this is a great way to help your body absorb castor oil through your skin to help the local area (meaning the skin in that area but also the underlying organs and structures) and your health in general. Why, you might ask, do you want to absorb castor oil through your skin?  There’s a whole post on it here, but the quick and dirty is that castor oil topically gives you a tremendous immune boost, anti-inflammatory benefit, and also a gentle detoxification.  Hard to get all of those things anywhere else with so little effort.

The Traditional Castor Oil Pack

There is a formal way to do this, popularized by Edgar Cayce and many other practitioners. I don’t usually do it this way, but it’s probably the best way to do it.

Castor oil pack - picture by Pete Markham from Loretto, USA

Castor oil – picture by Pete Markham from Loretto, USA. This bottle is from the light-keepers house at Split Rock Lighthouse in Minnesota.

You Will Need:

  • Organic flannel – about 1/2 yard (or meter) of organic flannel, folded into a square
  • Organic, hexane-free castor oil
  • A Mason Jar or something similar to put the saturated flannel in after
  • Plastic wrap to cover the outside of the castor oil (it’s preferable to use something non-plastic, but it’s also messier.)
  • A hot water bottle or heating pad
  • 90 minutes

Directions for a Castor Oil Pack:

  1. Saturate the folded flannel with the castor oil. The first time you do this it will take a fair bit of oil. You want the flannel to be full of oil, but not dripping everywhere.
  2. Put the flannel square over the area you’d like to treat – usually the right side of your abdomen under your rib cage (for liver/gallbladder), but it could be over your lower pelvis (for menstrual cramps, hormone balance, fibroids, or really any other uterine issue), over your breasts for fibrocystic breasts, or even over a sore joint, skin rash or other inflammatory issue.
  3. Wrap the pack and the area of your body that it’s covering with plastic wrap. This has no therapeutic value, but it helps to keep your house clean because castor oil is heavy oil and will stain.
  4. Put a hot water bottle or hot pack over the castor oil pack
  5. Lie back and rest for 90 minutes (NICE!!) This is potentially the best part of the castor oil pack.

So – this is great. It allows your skin to absorb as much castor oil as it possibly can because the cloth is saturated so it can just keep soaking up the oil for that gorgeous 90 minute rest.  The problem is, who *actually* has time for a 90 minute rest? Therapeutically it’s a great idea, but practically it’s a little difficult – hence Dr. Amy’s Slightly Lazy Castor Oil Pack…

Dr. Amy’s Slightly Lazy Castor Oil Pack – Castor Oil Life Hack

This is probably not quite as perfect as the traditional method, but it’s a whole lot easier, and because it’s easier it’s a lot more likely to get done. This is an awesome castor oil life hack.  It’s quick and easy detox, anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving awesomeness.

You Will Need:

  • Organic castor oil
  • A pair of pyjamas that can be dedicated for the rest of their natural lives to castor oil. They will never be the same again.
  • A hot water bottle of heating pad if you want.

Directions for The Lazy Castor Oil Pack:

  1. Slather a good layer of castor oil over the area you want to treat:
    1. Liver/gallbladder – the right side of your abdomen under your rib cage, including your right side and even the right side of your back. Honestly I pretty much just cover my whole stomach and back and leave it at that.
    2. Uterus – slather your whole lower pelvis
    3. Breasts – just cover the whole area
    4. Joints, rashes and other local inflammation – put a good layer over the whole area
  2. Throw on the chosen pajamas
  3. If you have a hot water bottle or hot pack, go for it.
  4. Go to bed for the night
  5. When you wake up the next morning the oil will be absorbed, your body will be working on the castor oil and enjoying the anti-inflammatory benefits, and you really only spent 5 extra minutes putting on the oil.

This method provides an easy way to work this into a busy lifestyle.  Granted, the 90 minute rest has it’s own therapeutic benefit and if you can do it, I would highly recommend it.  If you can’t work that in (like I often can’t) then by all means do the lazy method. This gives you the opportunity to work castor oil in more frequently – even doing it a few times per week.

After having my daughter I was doing lazy castor oil packs over my abdomen and pelvis 3-4 nights per week just to help my body to deal with the anesthetics, surgical recovery and pain.  I feel like my recovery was far more smooth and easy than it otherwise would have been, simply because I was able to use castor oil so frequently.  If I had to take 90 minutes and do the full castor oil pack experience I wouldn’t have been able to fit it in at all.

14 thoughts on “How To Do A Castor Oil Pack the Lazy Way

  1. NJMom

    Have you heard of this helping at all with the pancreas? I have a bile duct cyst that I’m trying to make go away. And if I use essential oils, should I use them afterwards? I thought it wasn’t good to heat them (I use a heating pad with my lazy castor oil pack.

    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi NJMom,
      Great question and yes! I suggest castor oil packs for clients with chronic pancreatitis or who are recovering from acute pancreatitis. It’s great for that area as well. And yes – I would probably use the essential oils after. I don’t think the heat would be great for them, although essential oils aren’t so much in my area of specialty. I hope this helps and thanks for being here!

  2. Sandra

    The lazy way looks great! Thank you for sharing this!
    I’ve spent decades doing conventional castor oil packs and it really requires all too much work.

    I have a few questions. How on earth to you launder the pajamas? With what type of detergent? When I used to try to wash castor-saturated items the oil got on/in my washer and stained my other stuff. Did that happen to you? How did you prevent it?
    And do you use some kind of sheet-protector? If not how to do you wash the sheets?

    When I was using the packs at night I used to get up and take them off in the middle of the night. Needless to say, I eventually got a light coating of castor oil all over everything within 5 feet of my bed, and all over the sheets and bed itself, and I really could never get it off. Carpet, wall, bedside table, alarm clock, tv table, the works.

    When I moved I stopped doing them, and bought a new, clean bed. And I am suffering accordingly. I would like to get back to the castor oil packs but I am afraid of the oil staining and making everything sticky again.

    I did a traditional pack recently and got a few small castor oil stains on a pair of pants. I could only get the stain off after washing them 5 times with Dawn platinum dishwashing liquid applied directly to the stain! They’re still a little off. I have a friend who swears by Citrasolv. People recommend solvents but I can’t use the toxic chemicals.
    Any tips you had I would really appreciate, on how to deal with the castor oil on other things besides the skin.

    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Sandra,
      Yeah – the sticky mess is an issue!! For the “lazy way” I usually just put enough on my skin to have a layer, but it isn’t really dripping so I can usually keep it contained to the pajamas. I end up tucking in the shirt and looking goofy, but it’s worth it. I have pajamas that are dedicated for this purpose and when I wash them I soak them in water with baking soda first. If there are any actual oil spots I just make a little baking soda paste with water and rub that into the spot really well. After all of that, I wash with my usual detergent as normal. I wouldn’t do it when you have your best sheets on the bed, just because it isn’t a perfect system, but this seems to do okay for me. The baking soda is a wonder – I learned that from my massage therapist, who used to do a treatment involving dripped oil. She swears by it. If you have a sparkling clean bed and mattress, maybe a waterproof mattress protector wouldn’t be a bad idea. I hope this helps! And I *totally* agree – castor oil packs do wonders. They are so worth it.

  3. Katie

    My friend told me about the Castor Oil pack but I was too scared to try it – it sounded so confusing. A few years later I was driving in Virginia Beach and saw the Edward Cayce Center and was so excited. They made me a traditional castor oil pack and I took it home. But after awhile – I got too busy to sit there for the 90 minutes and started doing it your “lazy” way! Lol! I use all sorts of essential oils for my gut health and if I rub a bunch of it on and use heat – it also helps a lot. But the castor oil is like a miracle drug! I forgot all about it lately and am excited to start it up again. But I just had to comment and say that I love that you do it the “lazy” way as well. Thank you for all of your research and your willingness to respond to all of us commenting. MUCH appreciated!

    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Katie,
      Yay! I’m so happy it helps – I never can find the time to do a “real” castor oil pack either, so the lazy way has totally saved me. I can do lazy almost any time. 🙂 Thanks for writing!

  4. kpkendall

    Hi Dr. Neuzil, it sounds like from my understanding, heat is not necessary for castor oil detoxification; is this right? Do you recommend using hexane/ricin-free castor oil for oil pulling?

    Thank you for sharing,

    Kyle P. Kendall

    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Hi Kyle,
      The way I learned it the heat isn’t necessary, but does help your skin to absorb the oil more quickly hence making it all more efficient. The “lazy” method essentially only uses the heat of your body but the oil stays on for a much longer period. Does that make sense? And yes – if you can find the hexane-free castor oil then it’s best. All castor oil on the market should be ricin-free. Otherwise it’s unusable. I hope this helps!

  5. Lisette Callis

    this is a great idea. I’m doing the original as we speak and loving it, but going to dig up a nightie or something and do this also, because it is winter here and i can turn my bed heater on and just lie there and think of england o holland or furnace…drift off..bliss.

    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Perfect! I’d love to know if you have a preference, once you’ve tried both ways or if the experience is substantially different for you. Thanks for taking a look!

    1. amyneuzil Post author

      Thanks Rhianne! Honestly I love doing this. It always feels like a better night sleep. 🙂

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