One of my favorite treatments is the castor oil pack. When I first tell my patients about them I often get some side glances, as well as some apprehension in their questions and their desire to do the packs. But when they do take the time to do them they see the benefits.

Castor oil is the oil extracted from the castor bean plant. The use of castor oil is found in medical references dating back to ancient civilizations. Most of our present information about the therapeutic use of topical applications of castor oil comes from the files of Edgar Cayce. Cayce suggests the use of castor oil for more than fifty different conditions of illness in the human body. Among the documented cases where castor oil packs were used successfully were conditions of abscess, bursitis, constipation, appendicitis, whip lash, muscle sprains, low back pain, abrasions and lacerations, infected puncture wounds, and fibroid tumors.

While it is not known exactly how castor oil works, research has shown that castor oil has a profound influence upon the lymphatic system and the autonomic nervous system along with being anti-inflammatory.

As castor oil is absorbed through the skin it moves through the lymphatic channels stimulating the natural healing ability of the body to break up any inflammation present. Since the pain and swelling from injury is due mainly to the interruption of lymph drainage in the affected area resulting in an accumulation of fluid, the action of castor oil on the lymphatic is what makes it a valuable therapeutic tool.

First aid uses for castor oil - Sprains, Strains, Fractures, Bruises:
Castor oil, applied topically will greatly reduce the pain, swelling, and discoloration from soft tissue injury. Apply castor oil directly to the affected area or use a castor oil fomentation. Continue treatment for up to 48 hours applying more oil as it is absorbed by the body.

Castor Oil Pack

Supplies for Castor Oil Pack
• Flannel or wool cloth
• Heating pad/hot water bottle
• Plastic wrap
• Castor oil

Preparation of Castor Oil Pack
1. Fold the flannel or wool cloth into 2-4 layers, or a suitable size to cover recommended body area.
2. Soak the cloth in castor oil making the pack.
3. Apply pack to area of body you wish to treat.
4. Place sheet of plastic over pack. This is to prevent oil from ruining your clothes and linen.
5. Place heating pad/hot water bottle on top of plastic, and turn heating pad on to medium, or to high if tolerable. 
6. Treatment should continue for one hour. Longer treatments are not harmful, though it is not advisable to fall asleep with the heating pad on.
7. To complete treatment remove the castor oil pack, and cleanse your skin with a solution of baking soda. (1 teaspoon baking soda to 1 pint of water.)
8. The pack can be stored in the refrigerator in a container. It can be reused 20-25 times, after which it should be washed.

Usage of Castor Oil Pack - Dr. Larrow will recommend the frequency of use.

Contraindications: Do not use heat with uterine growths, bleeding, pregnancy, ulcers or while menstruating. Do not fall asleep while using the electric heating pad.