THERAPIES: CASTOR OIL PACKS
An instructional video on how to make a castor oil pack based on the health readings given for the pack by the "father of holistic medicine" Edgar Cayce.
Castor Oil was recommended by Edgar Cayce for treating many ailments that resist traditional therapies. It can be applied as a balm for skin problems, a soothing tonic for alleviating allergies, and as a "castor oil pack." Known to conventional medicine only as a strong laxative, this extract of the castor bean is a safe, gentle, easy-to-use remedy for virtually any illness-when it is used externally.
What Is a Castor Oil Pack?
A castor oil pack is an external application of castor oil to the body. A piece of wool (or cotton) flannel is saturated with castor oil and applied to a specified area with, or without, heat. The Cayce readings recommend castor oil packs in general to improve assimilations, eliminations, and circulation (especially of the lymphatic system) and in particular to breakup adhesions of the lacteal glands. Although this therapy may seem unusual, it is one of the best documented. It was recommended, as part of a holistic approach, for epilepsy, gallstones, scleroderma, constipation (and other intestinal conditions)—just to name a few.
How to Make the Pack
Materials needed: castor oil (preferably cold pressed/processed), unbleached wool or cotton flannel (3-4 pieces or layers about 12" x 14" each), a 13-gallon trash bag (cut along the edges that seal it thus giving you two identical rectangular pieces), a standard or extra-large electric heating pad or hot water bottle, a large plastic sheet (such as an inexpensive shower curtain liner), an old sheet, paper towels, baking soda, and a wash cloth or sponge.
The readings say that it is important to heat the pack1 before placing it on the body. The easiest way to do this is to put the flannel on top of the heating pad (the heating pad is first covered by one of the pieces of the 13-gallon trash bag) and turn the heat on. Saturate the flannel with castor oil (the first time the flannel is used, it will require a large amount of castor oil to saturate it.) This will warm up in about 15 minutes. Additional amounts of castor oil will need to be added to the pack before each use. Note, Heat is not recommended with active infections, bleeding, excessive gas or a recent injury (less than 48 hours old). Please do not heat the pack in a microwave oven.
Note: This method is one of the most efficient ways of making a pack. The easier and neater it is, the more likely it will be used. Saturate the flannel, but not to dripping.
Where to Place the Pack
The pack's placement depends on the issue being addressed. For general use (and in epilepsy), it should be placed over the liver on the right side of the body, extending, top to bottom, from about the sternum (breastbone) to about 4 inches below the navel or to the groin or pubic bone. From left to right, it extends at least from the navel, around the body as far as it will go, covering as much of the right side as possible. A larger pack, consisting of a king-size heating pad (12" x 24") and matching sized flannel, will cover the liver and abdominal area more easily and is highly recommended.
Using the Pack
If possible, use the pack in the evening, when you are best able to rest. This is an ideal time to pray, meditate, read spiritually uplifting material, or listen to relaxing music. Decide where in your home you will be doing the pack. Set it up so you will be comfortable, with a pillow under your head and another under your knees. Oil always drips from the pack so it is important to protect bedding, cushions, or pillows (some people prefer to use the pack undressed in order to avoid soiling their clothes).
Here are the steps for a mess-free pack:
- Place the large piece of plastic over the area where you will be laying.
- Place an old sheet over the plastic.
- Take the second piece of the 13-gallon trash bag and position it across the sheet, under your lower back and beneath the area of your abdomen.
- Lie down on your back on the plastic bag.
- Place the saturated pack on your abdomen, with the oiled flannel against your skin and the plastic-covered heating pad on top.
- Adjust the heating pad control to the warmest setting you can tolerate comfortably. It should be very warm ("as hot as the body can stand"), but not so hot it burns you.
And please note that it's easy to fall asleep with the pack in place so if you find that happening, be doubly careful of the temperature setting on your heating pad and lower it if necessary. With a sleeping child, you might want to shut it off completely and allow body heat to keep it warm.
Keep the pack on for at least 1 to 1½ hours; this is one treatment where more may be better. It can even be used overnight. Abdominal binders/supports (available from a medical supply store) or a wide bodybuilder's midriff support with Velcro fasteners are useful in holding a pack in place if you wish to sleep with the pack. A large bath towel, folded lengthwise, placed around the entire torso and fastened with safety pins, can also be used.
When You Are Finished
Turn off the heating pad and put it aside. Take-off the pack with the trash bag and fold it in on itself and store it in a leak-proof container. Wipe off excess oil (keep paper towels near). Cleanse the skin with a solution containing a pint of warm water and a teaspoon of baking soda. Now is the best time for an abdominal and spinal massage if you are using the packs as a remedy for epilepsy.
Persistence and consistency are called for with many chronic conditions. Use the pack for 3 days in a row. Then take a break for 4 days, and then repeat. This is a typical series of castor oil packs but other variations were given, too (4 days on with 3 days off, or 5 days on with 2 days off, every other day, etc.).
The flannel pack can be used repeatedly and be kept in the refrigerator between usages, although this is usually not necessary as castor oil is very resistant to spoilage even at room temperature. Replace the pack only if it smells rancid or discolors from toxins being released from the body.
If despite all precautions, oil gets on the bedding or clothing, launder with an extra amount of your usual detergent and a couple of cups of baking soda.
After a Series of Packs
On the evening of the final day, Mr. Cayce would generally suggest taking olive oil (not castor oil!) by mouth-typically up to two tablespoons. This was recommended especially for conditions of the gall bladder, liver, and colon. A good time to have a colonic is after a series of packs.
For more information:
A.R.E. Press books available at ARECatalog.com:
- The Oil That Heals by William A. McGarey, M.D.
- The Edgar Cayce Handbook for Health Through Drugless Therapy by Harold Reilly and Ruth Hagy Brod
- The Miracle Oil: Secrets of Edgar Cayce's Palma Christi Revealed by David E. Kukor
Circulating File on Castor Oil (Members can download a copy from the online Member-Only section)
Downloadable Castor Oil pack instructions.
Note: The above information is not intended for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. Please consult a qualified health care professional for assistance in applying the information contained in the Cayce Health Database.
The perfect resource for the holistic home! J.P. Amonte and Renée Branch, are both therapists at the A.R.E. Health Center & Spa and instructors at the Cayce/Reilly® School of Massage. Together, they’ll use their expertise to teach you how to create the home remedies that Edgar Cayce most commonly recommended, empowering you to explore holistic tips in your own home.
Castor Oil applied externally in the form of “packs” is a very popular recommendation from the Edgar Cayce readings. Castor oil pack supplies can be found at Baar Products, the official supplier of Cayce Care.