The Many Benefits of Castor Oil Packs

Castor oil packs have been used since the beginning of time. Traditionally, castor oil packs have been used for skin issues, digestive concerns, and improving blood circulation. We now know castor oil has a significant impact on inflammation in the body and can specifically support the digestive process and even positively impact our gut bacteria. Let’s go through the benefits, how it works in the body, and how you can start doing your castor oil packs at home. 

Benefits of Castor Oil

Castor oil has been shown to:

  • Reduce inflammation–since castor oil helps remove excess iron from the body, this greatly reduces oxidative stress and inflammation in the body. 
  • Reduce stress and support relaxation–castor oil has been shown to induce a relaxed state and help reduce feelings of stress. 
  • Support digestion and help get rid of constipation–castor oil has been shown to get rid of constipation and avoid the need for laxatives. 
  • Support liver function and reduce inflammation in the liver–castor oil helps preserve and increase glutathione, a powerful detox antioxidant. 
  • Balance out gut bacteria–castor oil has been using as a cleaner for many different types of bacteria–it can remove biofilms and help eradicate. 

Overall, this makes castor oil a great addition to a hormone healing journey! 

How Castor Oil Packs Work 

Castor oil is made from castor beans and is primarily made up of monounsaturated fatty acids. Because of these types of fats, it’s essential to get cold-pressed castor oil that is stored in a dark glass bottle. Otherwise, these fats can breakdown when exposed to too much light. Castor oil gets placed on a flannel or pack and then gets absorbed into the skin–this absorption takes about 20 minutes. 

The main component of castor oil is ricinoleic acid, a type of fatty acid that possesses anti-inflammatory properties. Ricinoleic acid is what castor oil is most known for and this is the main compound studied for the anti-inflammatory and gut health benefits. There is another beneficial nutrient found in castor oil–quercetin. Quercetin is one of the most natural flavonoids (powerful phytochemicals) found in foods including fruits, teas, and vegetables. It has many benefits, but one that is primarily helpful for hormone health is how it impacts iron. Quercetin protects our bodies again free radicals that can cause oxidative damage, AKA inflammation. It also helps to remove iron safely from the body. It does all of this without having any negative impacts on the rest of our vitamins and minerals in our bodies. 

Castor oil also naturally contains vitamin E, which, if you’ve been part of my community for a while, you know I love. 

What You Need For A Pack

All you need for a castor oil pack is two things:

  1. A flannel or castor oil pack compress
    1. You can use an old flannel or you can get this compress that ties around your waist. It’s easy to wear to bed and doesn’t move. If using a flannel–the castor oil will eventually go to the edges and saturate all of the fabric. 
  2. High quality castor oil
    1. This means cold-pressed and hexane-free. You also want the oil to be in a dark, glass bottle to protect it from oxidization. 

I use Queen of the Thrones Castor Oil Pack Kit and love it! You can easily tie around your waist and it comes with everything you need. Use the code AMANDA for a discount. 

How To Complete A Castor Oil Pack

  1. Grab your flannel/pack and castor oil. 
  2. Place 2 tbsp of castor oil on the flannel/pack.
  3. Wrap the flannel/pack around your waist (make sure your right abdomen is covered) and relax/go to bed! You can also use castor oil on any areas of the body that have pain, are healing, or inflamed. 

If you struggle with fibroids, cysts, endometriosis, or really painful periods, you can also put the castor oil pack over your uterus. If you have breast pain, you can put it over your breasts. 


Q: Do I need to use a heat source when doing a castor oil pack?

  • If you are tying the flannel around your waist and securing it tightly OR using the pack that ties around your waist, then no. 
  • If the flannel is loose, you lose heat. When it is secure, it traps heat inside. You can still use a topical heat source if you want, but you don’t have to. 

Q: Can I do castor oil packs while breastfeeding?

  • This is a very personal decision. You may find that you feel worse with castor oil packs because your body is detoxing so much. In this case, I would avoid them. If you are dealing with constipation and poor digestion, I do think they are helpful. 

Q: What should I expect when doing a castor oil pack?

  • Everyone responds differently. If you have a long health history of issues, I would only start with 20-30 minutes a couple times a week and slowly build your self up to an hour. Then eventually you can try wearing them overnight. 
  • Most people feel great and notice improved digestion and less bloating. Other times, it helps to support the liver so much that people get detox symptoms (fatigue, headaches, acne–signs their bodies are purging). For these cases, I would consider using a binder when you do a castor oil pack. You can use activated charcoal, which can be found at most health food stores. 

When To Do A Castor Oil Pack

Ideally, you keep the castor oil pack on for 1 hour. I recommend putting it on before bed and wearing it to sleep once you are used to them. That gives you plenty of time, and since you’re under the covers and warm, you don’t need a source of heat. 

If you’re struggling with constipation or digestive issues, I recommend doing them daily to start. Then after a week, you can try doing them less and see how your digestion is. If you’re struggling with lots of PMS and painful periods, you ideally do them 2-3 times a week and then more often leading up to your period. Otherwise, you can do castor oil packs daily or a few times a week. They are the most effective when you do them regularly. 

You want to avoid castor oil packs when you have your period (although I have some clients that do use them on their period and have no issues) and when pregnant. 

I hope this information is helpful! I use castor oil packs with many of my clients and enjoy doing them regularly myself. Not only do they support your liver and digestion, but they are also relaxing and a great addition to a self-care/bedtime routine.

Amanda Montalvo

Amanda Montalvo is a women's health dietitian who helps women find the root cause of hormone imbalances and regain healthy menstrual cycles.

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