How to Make a Castor Oil Pack

Castor oil has a long history of traditional medical use dating back to ancient Egypt. Derived from the castor bean (Ricinus communis), the oil was once used internally as a laxative but is now primarily used externally due to its potential toxicity.

How it Works

A castor oil pack is placed on the skin to increase circulation and to promote elimination and healing of the tissues and organs underneath the skin. It is used to stimulate the liver, relieve pain, increase lymphatic circulation, reduce inflammation, and improve digestion.

How itís Made

Castor oil packs are made by soaking a piece of flannel in castor oil and placing it on the skin. The flannel is covered with a sheet of plastic, and then a hot water bottle is placed over the plastic to heat the pack. A castor oil pack can be placed on the following body regions:
  • The right side of the abdomen to stimulate the liver
  • Inflamed and swollen joints, bursitis, and muscle strains
  • The abdomen to relieve constipation and other digestive disorders
  • The lower abdomen in cases of menstrual irregularities and uterine and ovarian cysts

Safety Precautions

Castor oil should not be taken internally. It should not be applied to broken skin, or used during pregnancy, breastfeeding, or during menstrual flow.


  • Three layers of undyed wool or cotton flannel large enough to cover the affected area
  • Castor oil
  • Electric Heating Pad
  • Container with lid
  • Old clothes and sheets. Castor oil will stain clothing and bedding


  • Place the flannel in the container. Soak it in castor oil so that it is saturated, but not dripping
  • Place the pack over the affected body part
  • Place heating pad in a plastic trash bag
  • Place heating pad over the pack. Leave it on for 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Rest while the pack is in place
  • After removing the pack, cleanse the area with a dilute solution of water and baking soda
  • Store the pack in the covered container in the refrigerator. Each pack may be reused up to 25-30 times

Frequency of Use

It is generally recommended that a castor oil pack be used for 3 to 7 days in a week to treat a health condition. Adapted from an article by Cathy Wong ND for