‘C’ is for castor oil packs - an old fashioned remedy made popular by Edgar Cayce in the 1930’s. It was used therapeutically in ancient India, China, Persia, Egypt, Greece, Africa, Italy and Europe. In that time it was so effective that it was known as “the hand of Christ” or “the Palma Christi.”
Castor oil packs are used for many conditions. These include liver and gallbladder problems, kidney problems, constipation, headaches, appendicitis, arthritis, menopause, PMS, neuritis, eczema, psoriasis, toxemia and more.
A castor oil pack is made by saturating 3 layers of cotton flannel with castor oil. The layers are placed one on top of the other directly on the skin, covered with a plastic sheet and then a heating pad. Packs are typically left in place an hour or more.
There is not much scientific evidence on how these packs actually work. They appear to work by increasing blood circulation to the area where it is applied, drawing toxins out of deep tissues that are otherwise hard to reach.
The effectiveness of castor oil is assumed to be due to its unusual chemical composition. Castor oil is a triglyceride with a remarkably high content of ricinoleic acid – almost 90 percent. Research has shown that ricinoleic acid is effective in preventing the growth of viruses, bacteria, yeasts and molds.
In the 1930’s, Edgar Cayce liberally recommended castor oil packs for many types of health conditions. The most popular recommendation was for abdominal packs with results so astounding that castor oil packs are still very popular today.
Cayce recommended castor oil packs to improve the body’s eliminations, lymphatic circulation, and assimilation of nutrients. Castor oil packs do increase the flow of lymph throughout the body. This helps speed the removal of toxins in the lymphatic fluid and also reduces swollen lymph nodes. The end result is a pronounced systemic improvement in organ function with a general lessening of fatigue and depression.
Recent research has shown an improvement in immune function in those using castor oil packs. Castor oil packs significantly increase the production of lymphocytes as compared to placebo packs. There are modern medical doctors who report that castor oil packs are a key complimentary therapy that helps patients overcome a variety of different health problems in a short period of time.
Castor oil used topically has treated a variety of health conditions, with a high degree of success in clearing stubborn skin ailments such as ringworm, keratoses, and skin inflammation. In Russia, castor oil is added to health products to restore hair growth and luster and to help resolve constipation.
In addition to packs, castor oil can be made into a paste by combining a few drops with a pinch of baking soda. This paste can be used on calluses, warts, moles, ingrown toenails and other skin problems.
Margaret Durst is a naturopathic doctor who owns The Green House, a vitamin, herb and health food store in Mason, Texas.