Dr. David Williams
March 29, 2004
The Castor Oil Detox Program
I often remember my dad telling me that when he was growing up, his mother was devoted to castor oil. At the first sign of illness in one child, she would immediately give all the children a quick oral dose of the stuff. There's no doubt it provided a rapid solution for constipation, and it must have had a positive effect on my dad's memory too, because he could vividly describe the taste and effect of the castor oil many years later.
Castor oil is a unique substance with an ancient history. Folk healers the world over have used it to treat a wide variety of conditions. Castor oil's effectiveness is probably due in part to its unusual chemical compositiona triglyceride of fatty acids with almost 90 percent of that fatty acid content consisting of ricinoleic acid. To my knowledge, ricinoleic acid is not found in any other substance, and the high concentration of this unusual, unsaturated fatty acid is thought to be responsible for castor oil's remarkable healing abilities.
acid is effective in preventing the growth of numerous species of viruses,
bacteria, yeasts, and molds. (J Am Oil Chem Soc 61;37:323-325) It's successful as a topical treatment for
ringworm, keratoses, skin inflammation, abrasions,
fungal-infected finger- and toenails, acne, and chronic pruritus
(itching). Generally, for these conditions the affected area is wrapped each
night in a castor oil-soaked cloth. For persistent infections, a 10- to
20-minute pre-soak in Epsom salts will generally speed healing.
Set Your "Cytes" High
While I find internal and topical uses of castor oil helpful, the most beneficial use is in the form of castor oil packs. When used properly, castor oil packs improve the function of the thymus gland and other areas of the immune system. Two separate studies found that patients using abdominal castor oil packs had significant increases in the production of lymphocytes compared to those using placebo packs.
Lymphocytes are the disease-fighting cells produced by your immune system and housed mainly in lymphatic tissueincluding the thymus gland, spleen, and lymph nodes, as well as the lymphatic tissue that lines the small intestine (called Peyer's patches).
Several problems occur when lymph drainage slows and fluid accumulates around cells. First, the individual cells are forced further and further away from the capillaries. Next, the amount of oxygen and nourishment the cells receive is decreased and, under exertion or stress, some cells may die. Additionally, the cells are forced to try to survive in their own waste and toxic byproducts, which can eventually lead to the degeneration and destruction of organs. For example, poor lymphatic drainage of the heart can lead to tissue damage and even heart failure. Similar problems can occur in the liver, kidneys, and other organs.
When castor oil is absorbed through the skin from packs, several extraordinary events take place. The lymphocyte count of the blood increases as a result of the oil's positive influence on the thymus gland, lymphatic tissue, or both. The flow of lymph increases throughout the body, speeding up the removal of toxins surrounding the cells and reducing the size of swollen lymph nodes. The end result is a general overall improvement in organ function with a lessening of fatigue and depression.
Additionally, as toxicity is reduced, the pH of the saliva becomes less acidic, signaling improved health, and the Peyer's patches in the small intestines more efficiently absorb fatty acids, which are essential for the formation of hormones and other components necessary for growth and repair.
The Right Way to Do It
Castor oil packs are an economical and efficient method of absorbing ricinoleic acid and other healing components of castor oil directly into body tissues. To make a castor oil pack you will need: cold-pressed castor oil, a standard heating pad, a plastic garbage bag, two or three 1-foot square pieces of wool or cotton flannel, and a large bath towel.
Start by placing the heating pad on a flat surface and turning the heat to high.
Lay the plastic garbage bag on top of the heating pad to protect the pad.
Saturate the flannel pieces with castor oil (about 1/2 cup) and lay them on top of the garbage bag and heating pad.
The entire pack can now be placed against the body with the oil-soaked flannel against the skin. For general conditions, the pack should be placed on the abdomen. (For lower back problems place the pack on the site of the problem.)
To help hold the pack in place and prevent oil from getting on bedding, wrap the pack and body in a large bath towel.
Keep the pack in place for at least one hour with the heating pad set at the highest temperature tolerable to the patient.
When you remove the pack, massage the remaining oil into the skin or clean it off with a solution of 2 tablespoons of baking soda mixed in 1 quart of warm water.
The flannel can be reused for up to one month if stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Let it warm up before the next use and add 1 or 2 tablespoons of fresh cold-pressed castor oil to the cloth.
There Is No Lymph Drug
Make an effort to improve the function of the lymphatic system in the case of every health problem. The bottom line is that the removal of cellular waste products is essential for the health of the entire body. This applies to heart disease, hemorrhoids, some neurological diseases, AIDS, and many more. There is no drug that can improve lymphatic flow. That job can be handled through the topical application of castor oil with the help of exercise and massage. (For more information about the benefits of castor oil packs, and the diseases they can help, refer to Alternatives, July 1995, Vol. 6, No. 1.)
Any oil you consume or apply to your skin needs to be of the highest quality. Castor oil is no different. Check your local health food store for cold-pressed castor oil.
I think you'll be more than satisfied when you experience the amazing results that can be achieved with the simple oil of the castor bean. Centuries ago, the castor bean plant was referred to as the "Palma Christe," because the shape of the plant's leaves was thought to resemble the palm of Christ. As familiar as I am with the healing power of this plant, the name may be very accurate.