Castor oil has been used in a variety of ways since ancient times, but the castor oil pack is a folk remedy that apparently dates only from the past century. Poultices and packs are common to folk medicine and all sorts of herbs, foods, oils, and mineral substances have been used externally on the human body to relieve pain and aid bodily functions. Castor oil is one such substance which many people value more when used as a pack than when swallowed in the usual fashion.
The castor oil pack is chiefly recommended to stimulate:
3) Lymphatic circulation
4) Immune function
5) Coordination of organs, glands and systems
Researchers believe that castor oil packs "enable an expansion of the various circulatory vessels of the lymphatic system" and assist the intestinal lymphatics (lacteals) to "take values from the food and to prepare these values in such a manner that they can be used to revitalize ... all the tissues - the entire system." The lymphatic tissues of the intestinal tract have important functions in the absorption of proteins and fats and in the production of lymphocytes (white blood cells) which are necessary for body defenses and healing mechanisms.
Harvey Grady, former Director of Research at the A.R.E. Clinic in Phoenix, AZ, suggests "The castor oil pack is a $10-a-year immune system booster. It has great potential for persons throughout the world who cannot afford expensive modern health care, as well as for those who can."
Preparation and application of the castor oil pack is quite simple. Gather two or three thicknesses of cotton or wool flannel measuring about 10 X 12 inches, castor oil, a bath towel, and a heating pad.
Apply a generous amount of castor oil to both the cloth pack and the abdomen of the patient. The cloth should be saturated, but not runny. Place the oiled cloth on the abdomen, cover with a heating pad (low setting), and then add the bath towel to protect bedding. The pack is applied for an hour or two at a time or as long as comfortable and is generally used in series, as three consecutive days per week, usually at bedtime.
The castor oil pack commonly creates an outer restful calm, while producing longlasting physiologic effects. This is one remedy which is hard to overdo.