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Why You Should Add Castor Oil Packs Into Your Gut Health Routine

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The health benefits of castor oil packs have been proven around the world for many years. Luckily, you can reap the benefits of castor oil by implementing this simple, at-home practice!

castor oil packs

Reading Time: 8 minutes

For thousands of years, castor oil packs have been used worldwide in traditional Chinese medicine, Indian Ayurveda, and Ancient Egyptian and Mediterranean holistic medicine practices. It’s a functional approach to inside-out healing. Castor oil is non-invasive and has many benefits to improve your health, including hormones, gut, immunity, and more. The health benefits of castor oil packs have been proven around the world for many years. Luckily, you can reap the benefits of castor oil by implementing this simple, at-home practice!


Castor oil is a multipurpose vegetable oil. It is extracted from seeds of the Ricinus communis plant, originally native to India. Castor oil is best known for being rich in ricinoleic acid. In fact, ricinoleic acid makes up 75-85% of castor oil. Ricinoleic acid, an omega-9 fatty acid, offers impressive anti-inflammatory benefits and is likely the reason castor oil has made a name for itself in ancient medicine. 

Another unique (and impressive) fact about castor oil is that it can permeate through the lower layer of the epidermis, allowing it to travel deep within the skin, where blood and lymphatic vessels are located. This allows castor oil to be absorbed into the bloodstream and work its magic throughout the body!


Castor oil packs are one of the oldest non-invasive healing remedies in the world and is the most common way to reap the health benefits of castor oil. You can create a castor oil pack by soaking an organic cotton flannel in castor oil and applying it directly to the skin. Since castor oil can permeate deep throughout the skin, it is easily absorbed by the body, resulting in inside-out healing and balance. 

what are castor oil packs

There are endless uses for castor oil packs and they can safely be used for children, adults, and even the elderly. 

For centuries, castor oil packs have been used for:

  • Body, mind and soul wellness and health optimization
  • Hormonal imbalances (PCOS, menopause, estrogen dominance, etc.)
  • Constipation, diarrhea, bloating, indigestion, IBS, colitis, Crohn’s disease
  • Insomnia and other sleep problems
  • Stress reduction, anxiety, depression, ADHD
  • Period regulation, endometriosis, TTC, ovarian cysts, uterine fibroids, fibrocystic breasts
  • Cancer, tumors 
  • Thyroid issues (hypothyroid, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, nodules, etc.)
  • Liver cleansing and detox, fatty liver
  • Inflammation, arthritis, joint pain
castor oil pack uses

By permeating the skin, castor oil packs have been shown to decrease inflammation, improve circulation, boost detoxification, and more. Read on to see how castor oil packs can specifically improve your health and bring balance to your body. 

A simple way to remember how castor oil can improve your health is to think of the acronym FAITH:

F – Function of Digestion, Absorption and Elimination

A – Antioxidant Status

I  – Inflammation Regulation

T – Tension And Stress Reduction

H – Host Microbial Balance

Let’s go even deeper into each one of these specific benefits. Read on to see 7 ways castor oil packs can specifically improve your health and bring balance to your body. 

benefits of castor oil

The main component of castor oil, ricinoleic acid, has a structure similar to prostaglandins. These compounds naturally reduce inflammation in the body. It also removes excess iron from the body, which lowers inflammation levels.  And, castor oil is also known for reducing P8, a chemical messenger that triggers sensation of pain. For this reason, castor oil provides a holistic approach to pain relief and is commonly used to reduce joint pain.


Castor oil increases the production of glutathione in the body. Glutathione is one of the most potent antioxidants that supports detoxification of heavy metals. Regular exposure to chemicals and pesticides (via air, food, and water) depletes glutathione stores. Unfortunately, most Americans are already deficient in this vital antioxidant. 

Unfortunately, low levels of glutathione have been correlated with increased risk of leaky gut and imbalanced gut microbiomes. Cue: autoimmune disease. This is why castor oil is a great accompaniment to a reset program. A gentle “reset,” as opposed to a harsh detox program, helps avoid common detox symptoms, like headaches, skin irritation, moodiness, joint/muscle aches and pains, while still providing all the results! 

An important component of detoxification is also making sure drainage pathways are open and able to release the toxins that are trying to make its way out of the body. Castor oil packs are a valuable tool to aid in the opening of important pathways such as the bowels, liver, lymph, etc. to help aid in this process. 


Healthy, regular bowel movements are a key part of our detoxification system. Wearing a castor oil liver pack moves you into the parasympathetic ‘rest and digest’ state. If we are constantly stuck in the sympathetic “fight or flight” state (the state of stress), that just adds to problems going to the bathroom. 

Castor oil serves as a natural, safe laxative substitute. It stimulates smooth muscle contractions in the bowels through prostaglandin EP3 receptors. This approach is effective and gentle in supporting a healthy digestive system and detoxification system. And, it can aid in the relief of occasional constipation.


Oftentimes, the gut contains pathogenic bacteria wrapped in biofilm. Biofilm is the gross, slimy protective layer bad bacteria can produce. Harmful bacteria produce biofilm to protect themselves from being eliminated or destroyed, making it hard to achieve balance in the microbiome. 

However, castor oil can break down the biofilm barrier, allowing harmful bacteria to be eradicated from the gut and beneficial bacteria to survive. Since 70% of the immune system is housed in the gut, a balanced gut microbiome is key to a healthy, regulated immune system. This makes gut health the most important factor in healing and reversing autoimmunity.

In addition, castor oil packs can improve digestion. The gallbladder is responsible for a lot of digestion and if we don’t have a gallbladder or if it is working overtime, the liver will need to compensate for that and will work harder. By helping the gallbladder (or liver if the gallbladder is removed or compromised, this can lead to improved digestion of macronutrients resulting in decreased bloating and indigestion. 


Castor oil packs help increase nitric oxide in the body. This is an antioxidant that opens and aids in vasodilation of blood vessels which improves energy, circulation, and the natural aging process. 

Nitric oxide is also very helpful in getting rid of Candida and yeast in the body. Therefore adding in castor oil packs when doing a candida elimination makes a great addition for microbiome health and when you are trying to get rid of infections in the gut. 


The compression of a castor oil pack on your skin stimulates the release of feel-good hormones like dopamine and oxytocin (A.K.A. the love molecule). This promotes deeper sleep, relaxation and feelings of satisfaction. 

In addition, oxytocin naturally decreases our stress hormone, cortisol, and when cortisol is low, our levels of progesterone are naturally higher giving us more energy. Progesterone is needed for hormonal balance, fertility, and a healthy menstrual cycle. This is one of the reasons why castor oil packs have are excellent period support during that time of the month. They can help speed up the elimination of the uterine lining which leads to a shorter duration of bleeding

Castor oil packs also support estrogen dominance. They improve our glutathione levels, a powerful antioxidant that gets rid of excess estrogens, toxins, and byproducts of plastics, like BPA. They also regulate bowel movements and provide relief from constipation so excess hormones can leave the body. 


Castor oil packs applied directly to the body stimulates sensory receptors in the skin and causes a relaxation response via somatic-visceral reflexes. This process promotes a relaxed state and reduces feelings of stress. Stress is the antithesis of health and has lasting, damaging effects on the gut. Hence, stress management is a key part of any gut healing program. Introducing castor oil packs is one way to physiological combat stress in the body.

In addition, castor oil packs can stimulate the limbic area of the brain that is responsible for emotion. When it becomes flooded with dopamine, this can help concentration, motivation, and help you feel happier. 

This process also stimulates the sensory receptors in the human skin and sends a message via the somatic-visceral reflexes to induce a relaxed state while reducing feelings of stress. As we know, stress management is key for optimal gut and autoimmune health! 


Other well known and specific common uses of castor oil packs include: 

  • Cleanse symptom support (secret to cleansing symptom free!) 
  • Chronic fatigue 
  • Indulgence or hangover “helper”
  • Insomnia
  • Ovarian cysts or fibroids 
  • Weight loss
  • Skin health 

To reap these health benefits and more, you can create your own castor oil packs at home. It’s a simple and easy way to improve your overall health. Follow these instructions to make and use your own castor oil pack:

how to use castor oil packs

What you need:

  • A piece of organic cotton flannel
  • Organic, cold-pressed, hexane-free castor oil (ideally in a dark, glass bottle to protect from oxidation)– I like the Queen of Thrones brand.
  • A glass container, bowl, or ziplock bag
  • Saran wrap (optional)

What to do:

  1. Soak a piece of organic cotton flannel in 1-2 tbsp castor oil. I recommend using a glass container/bowl for this. Or, you can use a ziplock bag.
  1. Apply the castor oil-saturated flannel directly on your skin. The most common placement is on the right side of the body right below the ribcage (where your liver is) to support detoxification. You can place seran wrap or a thick towel on top of the flannel to avoid getting castor oil on anything else. Note: castor oil does stain so wear a dark shirt! 
  1. Wear the castor oil pack for a minimum of 1 hour each day or you can wear it overnight while sleeping for best results.. 

Castor oil pack contradictions: Do not use castor oil packs when pregnant!

quality castor oil packs

In my professional opinion, The Queen of Thrones brand is the very best castor oil that I use myself and recommend to my clients. The Queen of the Thrones Castor Oil was intentionally created by a naturopathic doctor well versed in cleansing, detoxification and environmental medicine, for convenience and as-clean-as-possible self-care. You can purchase a Queen of Thrones castor oil pack kit that contains everything you need to make your own castor oil pack at home. This is my go to recommendation for anyone starting to use castor oil packs because they are hassle and mess free and the best quality I’ve found! 


The ricinoleic acid found in castor oil offers impressive health benefits to support your detoxification system, gut health, immune function, and more. These benefits prove that utilizing castor oil packs is an effective tool in healing the gut and reversing autoimmunity.

If you are looking to support drainage pathways and combine your castor oil pack with a simple and effective cleanse, check out my 7 Day Gut & Autoimmune Reset and Reboot program. The combination of this program (I walk you through everything) along with wearing a castor oil pack during and the month following the reset, is a way to see fast improvements in your energy, digestion, and overall gut and autoimmune health! You can check it out here and learn more! 

castor oil packs
  1. Judith says:

    Hi. Has anyone ever had any success with Vitiligo using the castor oil packs ? My daughter has Vitiligo and I read about it and they say it is an auto immune disease and can be linked to leaky gut.
    Any advice you could offer would be appreciated.
    Thank you-

    • Nikki Yelton says:

      Hi Judith! Castor oil packs are known to help with many inflammatory and/or autoimmune skin conditions since they are so effective at supporting the liver. It is definitely something she can try for a few months to see if it helps. It will take some time, but can be a great addition to her routine! Please let us know how it goes! -Nikki

  2. Jackie says:

    Is it okay/the same effect to just apply the castor oil directly to your skin? Or in your belly button?

  3. Christine Edwards says:

    Recommendations of plscement

    • Nikki Yelton says:

      Hi there! For mostly everything you can’t go wrong with the liver and pack and place on the liver/gallbladder area. If you’re just starting out this is the best option.

      If you have specific hormone related imbalances or goals, you can go with the pelvic/bladder pack.

      If you have Hashimotos or hypothyroidism (or any other thyroid autoimmune condition), rotate between the thyroid pack on thyroid area and the liver pack on the liver/gallbladder area.

      Hope that helps! 🙂

  4. Nikki Yelton says:

    Hi there! For mostly everything you can’t go wrong with the liver and pack and place on the liver/gallbladder area. If you’re just starting out this is the best option.

    If you have specific hormone related imbalances or goals, you can go with the pelvic/bladder pack.

    If you have Hashimotos or hypothyroidism (or any other thyroid autoimmune condition), rotate between the thyroid pack on thyroid area and the liver pack on the liver/gallbladder area.

    Hope that helps! 🙂

  5. Cece Dennsteadt says:

    Does castor oil
    Help with eye sight?

  6. Brooke says:

    Has anyone seen benefits with a plasma cell vulvitis diagnosis? I was told it is a rare autoimmune skin condition. Looking for natural and more options besides steroid creams.

    • Nikki Yelton says:

      I can’t speak to that specific condition, however we can confidently say that castor oil packs support inflammation and daily detoxification, two key factors in improving any autoimmune condition!

  7. Jane Maxwell says:

    Can I ingest the castor oil?

    • Nikki Yelton says:

      You can under very careful consideration and with the help and direction of a qualified health practitioner. Some practitioners will use castor oil taken internally to support constipation. I personally only recommend topical use and would rather look at the root cause of what is going on (if someone wanted to take this specifically for constipation).

  8. Gale Thomas says:

    Hello there, can I put 100% castor oil on my face? If yes, should I use a warm towel to help with absorption and would I have to leave it on the face for an hour as well? Can I mix it with my lotions to help with eczema?

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"When it comes to balancing our body, healing the gut, reversing autoimmunity, and achieving optimal health—we are a lot like a car that won’t run right. In order to fix the problem once and for all instead of relying on jumper cables, we must get underneath the hood, run the diagnostics, and replace the battery so that it runs good as new."

-Nikki Yelton, RD

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