This is a favourite treat for a belly that needs extra love.
It’s a weekly self-care practice of mine. It is beautifully paired with Deep Belly Breathing to move into parasympathetic (rest and digest) mode.
You might want to try add it to your routine or evening for any one of these great reasons:
- calming the gut/improving digestion, (ie if there is bloating/stomach upset/or even irregular bowel movements)
- soothing the liver* (say there has been some hmm overindulgence, or to simply to enhance cleansing/detoxification,
- supporting uterine/ menstrual health (the liver metabolizes our hormones!)
- enhancing the immune system (yes, seriously- read below!) **
Hot Tip (literally): I enjoy doing this every single time I have a hot bath (see my cheater method (a) below.) And then I follow it with a quick cold shower rinse to come as close to a cold plunge for enhancing circulation!
The castor bean (Oleum ricini), also known as Palma Christi, due to its shape and healing properties, is known principally as a cathartic (strong laxative) when taking internally – which I do not recommend. A gentler use is when placed over the abdomen, usually with heat applied. The oil is absorbed into the lymphatic circulation to provide a soothing, cleansing, and nutritive treatment.
- Castor Oil (purchase at health food store or pharmacy)
- Hot Water Bottle or Heating Pad (for method b)
- Old T-shirt (for method b)
Best to do in evening before bed, or as part of a rest period if during day.
1. Rub castor oil over abdomen, especially over right side (liver).*
2. Use method a or b for the treatment:
a) Immerse yourself in a warm-hot bath for at least 20 mins. (You can add baking soda and Epsom salts with lavender or other essential oil).
b) Wear an old t-shirt and rest a hot pack on top of stomach (e.g., hot water bottle, heating pad or cloth bag of beans/grains warmed in oven, etc.) for 15 mins.
During this treatment, you can read in bed, listen to music or do any relaxing activity that you enjoy, then go to sleep. In morning when you rise, your stomach will not be greasy as oil will absorb but may be a bit sticky—you can rinse off area with a soapy washcloth or your regular shower. You can also take this time to do a healing visualization or deep belly breathing exercises as listed below.
The goal is immunomodulation: increase lymph flow, increase T11 cells (see below), it also improves digestion and supports liver detoxification by improving elimination, assimilation.
Castor Oil pack immune system benefits:
Castor Oil pack therapy produces an increase in the number of T11 cells within a 24 hour period. T cell lymphocytes originate in the bone marrow and thymus gland as small lymphocytes that identify and kill viruses, fungi, bacteria, and cancer cells thus supplying a fundamental antibody capability to keep the specific defence system strong.
Immunomodulation Through Castor Oil Packs : Original Research Paper
Vol 7: No. 1 Journal of Naturopathic Medicine