Updated: Sep 15
Mentioning "castor oil" usually conjures up memories, or at least images, of a very unpleasant home remedy once used to aggressively purge the intestines. However, external use of high quality and properly processed castor oil had been used in traditional cultures for centuries to treat numerous ailments. So revered was the oil of the castor bean in medieval Europe that it was referred to as the "Palma Christi."
More recently (in the last 60-70 years) the use of high quality castor oil used as an external pack over the area of the liver and gall bladder has proven to be one of the most effective adjunctive therapies in a liver and gall bladder cleanse program, thanks largely to Edgar Cayce. Personally, I would never embark on a cleansing regime without the packs.
The packs warm the liver and gall bladder and help to melt the congealed bile and other congested wastes. This old material can then begin to flow and flush out. I like the image of a frozen river melting and flowing with the return of warm weather in the spring.
Dr. Williams’ Castor Oil Packs – Easy Directions
Pour organic castor oil on a wool or flannel cloth. You don’t need much—just 1 to 2 silver dollar’s worth (2 to 6 Tablespoons or so)—that is, just enough to moisten the middle of the cloth (do not saturate the cloth—this is not necessary and too messy!). (You can cut the big wool flannel cloth in 4 pieces so you don’t have to wash them so often …)
Next place the cloth over the organs you are treating (e.g., liver and gut). Note: It is best to begin with treating both the liver and the gut at the same time—therefore, 2 flannel cloths are needed, 1 on each organ. illustration. Put a towel over these 2 cloths. I don’t find that adding a hot water bottle over the pack is appropriate; the body’s natural heat is sufficient. Then watch tv or read for 30 to 40 minutes (or even 20 minutes when recuperating from illness/surgery, etc.). This shorter pack treatment time prevents the reabsorption of toxins that can get stimulated through the action of the castor oil. After use, wash the cloth with towels or sheets (not clothes—the oil can stain) for the next treatment.
Most individuals begin with a castor oil pack on the designated organ 1 to 2 evenings a week; however, with acute pain or dysfunction these packs can be applied 2 times a day or more. Continue utilizing these packs for weeks or months, depending on your symptoms.
New Findings on the Use of Castor Oil Packs
I have been prescribing castor oil packs for years in my practice. But only in the last 3 years did I start questioning the standard directions for the use of these packs. I then began testing these protocols more specifically both clinically on myself and my patients, as well as energetically using my Matrix Reflex Testing (MRT) method. Here is what I have found:
The Time Period Is Too Long
Classically the recommended time for castor oil packs is 1 to 2 hours or more. In my experience this is way too long, and may actually allow reabsorption of the toxins just released from the organ. This re-uptake of newly released metabolic by-products of chronic inflammation can backfire and actually re-congest the organ being treated, thus defeating the original purpose of detoxification. Further, this re-uptake of released toxins from long castor oil packs in the evening probably accounts for most of the malaise, headaches, and fatigue that sensitive patients can experience the next day.
The Pack Does Not Need to Be Saturated
Pouring out onto the flannel a small amount of castor oil (or castor oil PhytoPacks)— about the size of 1 or 2 silver dollars’ worth—is sufficient for an effective pack. Saturating the pack with a lot of oil can not only cause too strong of a healing reaction but is also messy— and sticky hands and stained clothes and couches can definitely turn people off to doing this important healing pack. In actuality, a smaller amount of oil poured on the center of the cloth, placed over the organ, and then covered with a towel is more than adequate, and results in no sticky fingers and a fresh application of oil used for each treatment.
The Castor Oil Can Become Rancid When Stored
It has been recommended that the castor oil packs (the saturated flannel cloth) be stored in a glass jar or plastic container in the refrigerator for up to several years. I have found this is not a good idea for 2 reasons. One, castor oil is actually not that stable, and once the bottle is open only tests optimally for approximately 3 to 4 months. Secondly, and even more important, the flow of information from these packs is a 2-way street. That is, the castor oil stimulates increased metabolic functioning of the treated organ or tissue, which results in detoxification of that particular organ or tissue. This results in the release of a small but significant amount of toxic metabolic by-products passing back through the skin into the overlying flannel. Thus, in my clinical experience it is always best to wash the soaked flannel after each use. Additionally, the castor oil itself can become rancid after 6 to 8 months so please discard and buy a new one.
Additional Heat Is Too Strong
Classically, it is recommended that castor oil is either heated, or a hot water bottle or heating pad be laid over the pack. In my experience, this vegetable oil does not test well with the addition of external heat. Further, the use of heat results in too strong a treatment for many sensitive patients. In contrast, I have found that the body heat generated from the wool flannel covered by a towel laid over the organ or tissue being treated is more than adequate, and actually tests superiorly. And, of course, a heating pad induces too much EMF stress into the body that is counterproductive to healing and relaxation.
Always Include the Liver
Interestingly, I have additionally found that 2 packs are better than 1, if one of those packs includes the liver. For example, doing a pack over the gut (small and large intestines) should always include a pack over the liver at the same time. The same is true for the lungs, or the kidneys, or a pack over any other organ or tissue. The reason for this is that the liver is the master purifying organ in the body, performing over 400 different detoxification and metabolic functions. When it is included it therefore helps detoxify more efficiently the waste and toxic metabolites produced from a castor oil pack of another organ or tissue, as well as it’s own. Of course, if you are just treating the liver it can be treated alone, but all other organs and tissues receiving a castor oil pack should always include a liver pack at the same time.
The Route Less Traveled
Since the body can get overloaded with all the oral supplements people generally take nowadays, it’s good to utilize an alternative route such as the skin for healing. This dermal absorption process involves different pathways than the oral/gut route, and therefore accesses less “crowded,” less “busy,” and thus less damaged immune system and metabolic pathways, providing a more novel and effective way of healing dysfunctioning organs and tissues. I have additionally found that after the evening of the castor oil pack the body processes (gentle processing, not too strong) this treatment for 1 to 2 days, indicating that these packs positively affect the body and last longer than oral supplementation.