My Favorite Self-Care Technique: Castor Oil Packs
One of my favorite self-care techniques which can help women positively impact their own reproductive health, is castor oil packs. This technique can be incredibly powerful for both improving many different menstrual cycle complaints and boosting fertility. And, it’s incredibly cheap and easy to do at home!
Marianne was a 37-year old woman who came to me for help in preparing her body for her next IVF cycle. She had already been through three IUI’s and multiple failed IVF cycles. Part of the issue was that her endometrial lining was very thin (she had also had a history of extremely light periods which is many times a red flag that there could be issues with growing a sufficient endometrial lining for implantation), and her reproductive endocrinologist had even canceled an IVF cycle due to this. When she came to see me, she had one frozen embryo left and planned to do a transfer with it the following month.
With only about a month available to help prepare Marianne’s body and help build up her endometrial lining, it was not an ideal situation. However, Marianne was willing to do all that she could to help. We started her on a couple supplements and lifestyle changes, and in addition to this I also had her begin to use castor oil packs daily over her lower abdomen. She did this diligently every day and by the time she was ready for her transfer, her endometrial lining was 8mm. Before this, her lining had never reached a height over 6mm! Pretty phenomenal, and I attribute this mostly to the daily castor oil packs she did. She then went on to conceive with this last embryo and have a healthy baby boy. Whoop whoop!
What Is Castor Oil?
Castor oil has been used as a medicinal treatment for hundreds of years. The oil is made from the seeds of the Castor Oil bush. The healing properties are attributed to the high content of richoleic acid in the seed. When ingested internally, it is mildly toxic and acts as a strong laxative. However, it is with its external use where it is very useful in healing women’s reproductive complaints.
External use of castor oil is a very safe technique to use. It is useful in promoting blood flow to the pelvic cavity and internal organs. With this blood flow, increased nutrients are brought to the tissues and metabolic waste from the cells is more efficiently gotten rid of. This can promote healing, scar tissue repair and breakdown of adhesions.
Here are some of the many women’s health conditions which external castor oil packs can be beneficial in using:
Assists Liver Detoxification
The best way to use castor oil externally is to make a castor oil pack. To make a castor oil pack, you’ll need the following:
Organic castor oil
Cotton flannel piece (to soak in the oil) - you can also use an old t-shirt, bedding, or cotton towel. The castor oil will stain the material so make sure it is not a piece of material you would like to reuse. Cut down to fit over size of area you will be applying it over, ie, abdominal cavity.
Hot water bottle
Plastic wrap piece (to put between the soaked flannel piece and the hot water bottle) (optional)
Glass container (such as a glass pyrex) with a lid - you can put castor oil soaked material in this container and store in the fridge and re-use several times.
These items can be purchased separately, or there are kits you can purchase on Amazon where all of the items can be found together in one place.
How To Use
*Before your first time using castor oil packs, rub a small amount of castor oil onto your skin and wait for an hour to make sure you do not have an reaction to the oil. If no type of adverse skin reaction is experienced, you can proceed to using the full castor oil packs.
Note: When using the castor oil packs, note that the oil can stain, so use with caution on around your clothes and furniture.
First, rub some castor oil over your abdominal cavity, from your lower abdomen up to the upper abdominal area below your ribcage.
Slowly saturate your flannel material with castor oil, rubbing it into the material as you go.
After the material is saturated, place it over your abdominal area (material should cover most of the abdominal cavity area).
Cover the material with plastic wrap. (optional)
Place hot water bottle over the area.
Cover with a towel to keep heat inside abdominal/pelvic area.
Lay down with the castor oil pack in place for 30-60 minutes.
After your time is up, remove towel and hot water bottle. Discard the plastic if using. Then, place saturated material in your fridge to be used another few times.
When To Use
If you are using for general reproductive health, it is safe to use castor oil packs every day throughout your cycle except during menstruation.
If you are actively trying to conceive, only use castor oil packs in the follicular phase of your cycle, after menses and before ovulation.
For light periods and for light or short periods with dark purple or brown spotting, use castor oil packs from the first days of spotting throughout your period. You may find that your bleeding may become heavier and that is a good sign that more circulation is helping to get rid of the old blood. If the amount of blood becomes excessive, just discontinue use of castor oil packs until menses is done.
Avoid use of castor oil packs in pregnancy or if using an IUD. Also, avoid use with reproductive cancers.
Are you a woman trying to naturally get pregnant and looking for help? Book a FREE Fertility Breakthrough call with Dr. Terzo here. I’d love to help you get started!