The Edgar Cayce Health Care readings inform us that Castor Oil Packs may to be used to improve assimilation, elimination and circulation; especially of the lymphatic system.
Cayce also mentioned physiological effects on the body such as: Stimulation to the Liver, dissolve and remove Lesions & Adhesions, relieve Pain, reduce incoordination in the Nervous System, stimulate the Gall Bladder, increase Lymphatic circulation, enhance Gastrointestinal assimilation, balance Elimination, reduce Inflammation, increase Relaxation, reduce Flatulence, dissolve and remove Lacteal duct adhesions, relieve Nausea, dissolve Gallstones, stimulate Lacteal duct circulation, reduce Swelling, improve Liver-kidney coordination, stimulate Organs and glands, draw Acids, relieve Headaches, stimulate Peristalsis, improve Perspiration, Respiration and Coordination, improve Skin circulation (blood and lymph), reduce Cysts.
Though it might not be quite accurate to describe Castor oil as “medicinal,” many of us may recall a family member – usually elderly – strongly enticing us to swallow some castor oil to maintain regularity; that is, as a remedy for constipation: a very important “medicine” indeed! We also have the wholehearted and enthusiastic endorsement of Dr. William McGarey (see the 75th Anniversary Feature), who has written and spoken extensively on Castor oil’s therapeutic benefits, introducing numerous patients of his as well as the public to its positive effects. While it is still used today medically as a cathartic, the Edgar Cayce readings also recommended external applications, for massage and most frequently as a pack, in over 500 cases.
What exactly is Castor oil? It is a slightly yellowish oil that is extracted from the Castor bean or seed of the Ricinus communis, a tall tropical plant with large palmate leaves, also known as Palma Christi (palm of Christ). The Castor oil plant is native to India, where it has been used extensively to treat all types of gastrointestinal disorders, bladder and vaginal infections, and asthma. In Russia it is used as a lubricant in industrial equipment because of its consistent viscosity; it won’t freeze even in Russia’s severe winters. It is also used there medicinally to restore hair and to treat constipation, irritations, and skin ulcers.
Chemically Castor oil is a triglyceride of fatty acids, nearly ninety percent of which is an unsaturated fatty acid called ricinoleic acid. (Triglycerides play an important role in metabolism as energy sources.) It is thought that the high concentration of this ingredient gives the oil its remarkable healing qualities. Ricinoleic acid has been shown to be effective in preventing the growth of various species of bacteria, yeast, molds, and viruses (Novak, A.F., et al, Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society, 1961, No. 37, pp. 323-325). Perhaps this quality accounts for its high success rate in topical applications and antimicrobial activity.
In line with the Cayce readings’ approach, quite a variety of remedial uses was mentioned for this mysterious, seemingly miraculous oil. Yet the most common one, taking it orally as a laxative, was recommended only a few times in the readings, usually with the caution to refrain from overuse since one’s body could easily become dependent upon it for evacuation. One reading states: “Castor Oil taken internally, and such eliminants are only purgatives. Hence the Castor Oil absorbed from the Packs will be better than taking same internally.” (1433-6)
Castor oil packs are a well-known item in the Cayce pharmacopeia. Most people even slightly familiar with A.R.E. are quickly introduced to this remedy. Harvey Grady’s article, “Castor Oil Packs: Scientific Tests Verify Therapeutic Value,” in the July/August 1988 issue of Venture Inward, lists thirty physiological effects of Castor Oil Packs as described in the readings, the most common being to increase eliminations, stimulate the liver, dissolve and remove adhesions and lesions, relieve pain and inflammation, increase lymph circulation, and release colon impaction. Dr. Harold Reilly in The Edgar Cayce Handbook for Health Through Drugless Therapy (A.R.E. Press, Virginia Beach, Va., 2004, rev. ed., p. 226) notes that this therapy was recommended for over fifty different ailments from aphonia to uremia.
In addition to its external use in a pack, the oil was also recommended by itself for massage on stiff fingers or hands (533-19), along the spine (1385- 1), for abrasions on cheek and lip (757-5), in a full-body massage (3302- 1, 5300-1), for a wen (a sebaceous cyst) on the eye (3149-1), on warts (759-19), and moles (573-1). Due to its variety of applications and successful healing results the frequent advice here at A.R.E. is “When in doubt, use Castor oil!”
Like many of the Cayce remedies, Castor oil packs were generally used in conjunction with other therapies; for example, prior to osteopathic adjustments. While the length of time to apply the packs plus the frequency of use varied with the individual, the following descriptive extract is a representative example:
“We would begin applying Castor Oil Packs for an hour each day, for three days in succession; not so hot as to cause too great a discomfort, but so that the area will receive – as it were – a baptism of oil as will be absorbed in the activity of the area about the liver and gall duct. Use at least three thicknesses of flannel thoroughly saturated with the Castor Oil, applied over the liver and gall duct area. Use oil cloth over same to protect the linens, and then an electric pad to keep same warm for at least an hour, at low heat.”
“When removing the Pack, sponge off the area with a weak soda water solution.”
“On the evening of the third day, following the taking of the third Castor Oil Pack, take internally two [tablespoonfuls] of Olive Oil.” (3196-1)
Usually after the series comes a rest period, often for the remainder of the week, and then then the sequence is repeated perhaps two more times. If the original problem is still present, a rest period of one week elapses before the successive packs are reapplied. Since four readings specifically state that no packs should be administered during one’s menstrual period, the one-week rest can be taken during this time.
Each time the pack is removed, the area is sponged off with a weak solution of baking soda and warm water (“soda water”) “to remove the oil or the excess accumulations produced by the heat.” (2920-1) Several readings mention the acidity of Castor oil, so the baking soda “is needed to produce a reaction of an alkaline nature in the body” (3367-1) Amounts in the recipe varied slightly. A weak solution, for example, would be about a teaspoon of baking soda to a pint of warm water.
After one finishes the final pack in the series, olive oil is to be consumed; recommendations ranged from a few teaspoons to half a teacup. This helps with assimilation and acts “as a food as well as an eliminant for the alimentary canal.” (1553-7) It also increases bile flow from both liver and gall bladder; thus, according to Dr. Reilly, if one has gall bladder or liver problems, it should be taken sparingly, consuming only the minimum amount.
The Castor oil is to be heated beforehand. Why? One reading explained: “…this heating breaks the atomic forces in the oil so that it is more penetrating to the body when applied to same.” (4299-2)In a note attached to reading 623-3, Gladys Davis, Cayce’s secretary, wrote: “Dip the flannel in hot Castor oil and apply as hot as may be stood; keep them hot during the whole three-hour period each treatment. This is so the pores of the skin are opened and as much oil as possible is allowed to soak in.” [Note: See current recommended procedure in next paragraph.]
The material recommended for the pack is wool flannel, folded two to four thicknesses and large enough to adequately cover the area of application. One way to heat this flannel cloth is to place it on a piece of plastic wrap, pour Castor oil on it, then set both pieces on an electric heating pad turned on low. The plastic wrap protects the pad. After it has warmed up, lie down on another piece of plastic or some covering to protect your bed sheets. Place the wool flannel directly on the skin of the abdomen, usually over the liver/gall duct area (right side), followed by the plastic coating, the heating pad, then a large bath towel, folded lengthwise, covering all the layers and tucked in around the sides of the body. Switch the pad to a medium or high setting. Now spend the next hour or so in quiet prayer, meditation, or inspirational reading. It’s easy to doze off, so you might want to set an alarm to awaken at the appropriate time. Then remove the pack, sponge off the area with the baking soda solution, and, if this pack is the last of the series, take your dose of olive oil.
When not in use, store the pack in a glass jar or heavy plastic container and keep it in a cool place. The oil is fairly stable, not turning rancid quickly, allowing the pack to be reused even up to several years. Add a small fresh layer of Castor oil, though, onto the pack before each reuse. Of course, if the oil has turned rancid or the pack has become soiled, discontinue use.
Can the packs be applied to other body areas? At least three individuals – , , and  – were encouraged to use the packs elsewhere: Neck, shoulders, across the back, hips, arms, lower limbs, calf of leg, wherever an aching or hardening occurred. (Interestingly these three were all suffering from scleroderma, a disease characterized by a hardening and thickening of the skin, degenerative changes in joints, and abnormalities in blood vessels.) The Oil That Heals: A Physician’s Successes with Castor Oil Treatments (A.R.E. Press, Virginia Beach, VA, 1993) by Dr. William McGarey also details the wider use of Castor oil packs on his patients and offers a thorough analysis of the oil’s healing history. Quoted in the book is this excellent summary statement from a country doctor: “Castor oil will leave the body in better condition than it found it.”
True Health, August 2006
This article is not intended to medically prescribe or promote the sale of any product, nor is it intended to replace qualified medical care.
Castor Oil Pack Application
Castor Oil Packs to Reduce Inflammation
Therapeutic Implications for Abdominal Epilepsy
Castor Oil Packs for Alcoholism
Castor Oil for Healing Skin
Castor Oil for Poison Ivy
“Then begin with the applications of the Castor Oil Packs over the caecum and the liver area, PRINCIPALLY over the caecum and the gall duct area; the heavy Castor Oil Packs, applied three to four hours each day for three to four days. This will tend to reduce the inflammation and make for the system’s producing within self sufficient activities to RELIEVE the distresses.” (Cayce)Castor Oil Pack application as mentioned in Cayce reading.
“I’ve had two good experiences. One was when my husband had kidney stones and we did not have health insurance, and another was when my sister developed a mysterious lump on her spine. “My husband was suffering from a stone that was trying to pass, and a hernia that had reappeared. I heated the oil and put it in flannel, and he sat in this for about an hour. It seemed like the hernia had gone down a bit. That evening, we put the flannel pack back on with the heating pad for about 3-4 hours, and the stone is no more and the hernia went right back in and they are gone! “When we found the lump on my sister’s spine, I massaged her with Castor oil and the Egyptian healing rods, and when I was done, the lump got smaller. The next time she went to her own therapist, he announced it was gone. Castor oil is great.” – J.A., FL, 2/1/11
Several basic adjunct therapies are recommended to normalize abdominal functioning and assist the nervous systems to coordinate with each other. These modalities are relatively inexpensive and non-intrusive… included in them is the use of Castor Oil Packs.
“Hot Castor Oil Packs applied to the abdomen are also recommended. These packs are intended to increase circulation in the abdomen. A typical session lasts approximately one hour per day with three sessions per week.”
– From the Cayce Health Database, “A Traditional Osteopathic Approach to Abdominal Epilepsy.”
An alcoholic for more than 20 years is the description one of our correspondents gave herself in a research report which she submitted recently. But she used Castor Oil Packs on her abdomen for an entirely different reason four years ago. It seemed that she had developed a severe abdominal pain. She did not consult her doctor, so her own diagnosis of “probably an intestinal disorder” will have to suffice, no matter how inadequate. She reports that her pain lessened a little each day, as she applied the packs on a twice daily routine. An apparent constipation was thoroughly corrected on the second day, but she continued the packs for a period of two weeks.
The most remarkable result of her own little adventure in consciousness, however, is the real point of this story. She adds as a postscript to her report that “Since the day I first used oil packs, I have not touched a drop of liquor – nor have I had the desire to do so. I was an alcoholic for more than 20 years. I used to drink myself to sleep every single night.”
[Written by William McGarey, M. D.; excerpted from The A.R.E. Journal, November, 1975, Volume 10, No. 6, page 276, Copyright© 1975 by the Edgar Cayce Foundation, Virginia Beach, VA.]
“I would like to tell you about one experience with Castor oil. About 30 years ago, I had skin taken out of my eyelids as it was effecting my eyesight. I wasn’t given anything to put on the incisions so everyday for one hour I put some bandage soaked in Castor oil on the eyelid. I had no bruising or swelling at all and when I went to get the stitches out the next week, the surgeon though he must have cancelled the operation and asked me why I was there. When I told him “to get the stitches out” he couldn’t believe it. Said it was amazing. I have told various people who had injured fingers and also a little boy who had been bit on his lip by a dog. His family were neighbors so I told them about the Castor oil and they had the same results. I am glad you are still producing the remedies. God Bless.” – M.S., Ontario, Canada
“I had a puffy mole on my cheek. Every night I massaged Castor oil into it, and the mole started to flake off! It was a natural way of removing it, and I didn’t have to go to a surgeon or anything to remove it. It’s gone completely now and no scar.” – K.F., Williamsburg, VA
“The Roll-on Castor Oil is great for so many things. In fact, a number of years ago, I had poison ivy… again. Only this time I tried Castor oil. It worked better than any calamine lotion, and took my itch level down to 1, from a 9! Then it cleared up much more rapidly, too. I always share my story with people who have it, and recommend your site, for excellent Castor oil.” – J.R., Fitchburg, MA
Please refer to the Case Reports for more information on Castor Oil and its applications.
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Elaine Hruska is a therapist at the A.R.E. Houston Spa and former teacher at the Cayce/Reilly* School of Massotherapy. This article is reprinted with permission by Venture Inward Newsletter, Virginia Beach, VA.