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Wellness Wednesday: Castor oil packs

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Wellness Wednesday: Castor oil packs

I love to give you guys ideas for little ways to boost your metabolism and flush toxins. Castor oil packs are a great little-known way to do that.

Using castor oil to reduce inflammation and swelling, and improve lymphatic drainage, isn’t new. It’s actually an old folk remedy.

Castor oil, which comes from the caster seed that’s native to India, has some special properties. Like other oils, it’s a triglyceride, but unlike other oils, castor oil consists of 90% rincinoleic acid — where castor oil’s health benefits are believed to originate.

Castor oil, applied topically, can help reduce swelling and inflammation, and has been used as a balm for skin conditions like eczema and rashes.

The best known use for castor oil is as a castor oil pack — a way to apply castor oil topically, with the application of heat.

When applied over the liver, castor oil packs are said to improve lymphatic drainage, helping to flush toxins from the body.

How to: Castor oil packs

You’ll need three pieces of clean cotton flannel, preferably free of dyes. Each piece of flannel should be large enough to cover your abdomen and lower rib cage (your liver is located mid-chest, under your lungs and above your stomach) – about 12″ by 12″

You’ll need:

  • High quality cold-pressed castor oil from a health food store (a 32-oz bottle costs about $8)
  • Your three pieces of flannel
  • A big piece of plastic, or a cut-open trash bag, or plastic kitchen wrap
  • A heating pad
  • An old towel or two

Assemble and apply the pack:

You’ll want to wear old pajamas or an old robe for this — it can get messy.

  • Stack your three pieces of flannel and soak with castor oil
  • Lie on your back (put a cushion under your knees or feet for comfort). You might want to lie on top of an old towel. You want to be comfy, since you’ll be in this position for about an hour.
  • Place the castor oil-soaked flannel on your abdominal skin.
  • Cover the flannel with the plastic
  • Plug in the heating pad and place in on top of the plastic.
  • Cover with your other towel to keep the heat next to your body.
  • Leave the pack on for about 45 minutes.

When finished, carefully remove the castor oil pack and place the soaked flannel in a zipper storage bag — you can keep reusing it, adding more oil as needed. (When the oil starts to change to a darker color, it’s time to make a new pack.)

Shower or bath normally. If castor oil got on your towels or clothing, wash them separately.

For best results, apply the caster oil pack once per day for four consecutive days per week, for about a month.