All women experience period pain in their lives. For many, it is a manageable and tolerable pain, while for some, the cramps are highly debilitating, preventing them from carrying out their daily tasks. But why do you get it? Period pain occurs when your uterus contracts to shed its lining as a normal part of the menstrual cycle.

Nevertheless, in some women, due to higher production of prostaglandins, the cramps become more severe and worse. This condition is called primary dysmenorrhea, which is often accompanied by menorrhagia (heavy menstruation) since more contraction leads to heavy bleeding.

Naturopaths recommend several natural ways to reduce period pain. Among these, castor oil and castor oil packs are popular owing to their magical healing benefits. What is Castor Oil? Castor oil is botanically known as Ricinus oil and is also popular by the names ‘Palma Christi’ and ‘The Hand of Christ.’ It is a vegetable oil extracted from the castor beans of the Ricinus communis plant. The thick elixir is pale-yellow-hued with a mild, distinctive, nutty scent and taste.

Moreover, castor oil is used for several external and internal applications, but its only FDA-approved use is against constipation. When the oil is added to a pack, it is known as a castor oil pack, which is applied topically on the skin, and the oil's benefits are accelerated by applying heat through a pad or a warm compress. However, there is a lot of confusion regarding the use of castor oil packs during menstruation.

Some practitioners suggest using castor oil packs during periods since they can increase blood and lymph flow, provide tissues with enough nutrients and oxygen, regulate normal hormonal balance, relieve congestion, and manage the symptoms of endometriosis. (See in detail in the second section). In contrast, others say you shouldn't do castor oil packs during periods, and they have other reasons to support their claim. Jump onto the next section to learn in detail “Why Can't You Use Castor Oil Packs During Menstruation?”

Why No Castor Oil Packs During Menstruation?

Castor oil packs are an ancient holistic remedy to cure several health problems and aesthetic concerns. However, some practitioners suggest avoiding these packs during heavy menstruation, particularly if you have dysmenorrhea or menorrhagia. To support their claim, they have some logical reasons, which are described below.

Uterine Contractions

A castor oil pack contains castor oil, which is rich in ricinoleic acid, about 89-92%. Ricinoleic acid is an ‘unsaturated omega-9 fatty acid and a hydroxy acid’- a potent anti-inflammatory and analgesic. This acid stimulates the synthesis of prostaglandins (E2) in the uterus and activates the prostaglandin receptors on the uterus wall.

The ricinoleic acid-induced prostaglandin E2 binds to the activated receptors, leading to an intracellular increase in calcium levels. This influx of calcium ions triggers a cascade of events, including myometrial contraction (contraction of uterine muscles), which manifests as period pain.  So, in light of this mechanism of action (concluded from limited clinical research), you shouldn't use castor oil packs during menstruation since they may increase cramping.

Vasodilation and Increased Blood Flow

Castor oil is believed to increase blood flow, and so is the heat to cause vasodilation. Enhanced blood circulation may transport more prostaglandins or prostaglandin-like compounds to the uterus. Also, this flow may interfere with the menstrual flow due to changes in normal hormonal levels in the blood. Though there is no solid clinical evidence for this idea, many practitioners refrain from using castor oil packs during heavy bleeding because of this reasoning.

Disruption of the Normal Cycle

Do you know that ovaries signal the brain via blood to regulate normal hormonal levels? Yes, this is how the feedback mechanism regulates the rhythm of the menstrual cycle. So, many naturopaths believe that if you use castor oil packs more often, you'll circulate more blood to your reproductive system, disrupting your menstrual cycle and hormonal levels.

Individual Sensitivity

Each individual responds differently to castor oil packs. Some people are highly allergic to ricinoleic acid-the principal constituent of castor oil. They may develop a rash or get a bloated stomach. Therefore, castor oil packs may aggravate the symptoms if you have bloating issues in your periods.

Are There Any Alleged Benefits of Castor Oil Packs During Periods?

Breaking the Rule: You can use castor oil packs only with Light Bleeding!

So, if they suggest not to use castor oil packs during heavy periods, they say you can use them in days of light bleeding. The reason is castor oil packs can increase blood flow to the uterus, nourishing it with more nutrients and oxygen—healthy uterus contracts easily without giving too much pain. Also, these packs enhance lymph flow and relieve lymphatic congestion, which is essential because the lymphatic system aids in fighting infections, and castor oil is believed to increase T cell production.

Castor oil packs also aid in liver detoxification. As the liver maintains estrogen levels in the blood, cleansing the liver improves this function. Moreover, these packs aid in moving adhesions or scar tissues in the uterus that may develop as a result of some trauma. Removing these adhesions reduces the thickness of the uterus and helps it easily contract during periods to get rid of its worn-out lining.

Why Can't You Use Castor Oil Packs During Menstruation

So, if you are lucky enough to have painless periods or those with tolerable cramping, you can safely use castor oil packs. Instead of buying them, try making them at home.

How do you make castor oil packs for periods?

  • Take a large fabric (cotton or wool flannel).

  • Fold it in multiple layers to get the required thickness and assist in maximum oil absorption.

  • Secure the edges for easy handling.

  • Your DIY castor oil pack is ready. Now, soak it in The Goodbye Company extra virgin castor oil and apply.

How do you use castor oil packs for periods?

  • Lie on a couch or bed and spread an old sheet on your furniture to avoid stains from oil drippings.

  • You can wear an old T-shirt, bathrobe, or towel before applying a castor oil pack.

  • Apply a castor oil pack on your lower abdominal region (over the uterus).

  • Wrap it with a plastic sheet or a cling film.

  • Provide heat with a heating pad or warm compress.

How long do you leave castor oil packs on?

You can leave your castor oil pack for about 20-60 minutes. However, this duration will depend on the heating temperature you can tolerate and how your body responds to this therapy. Use them 3-4 times a week, but skip the ovulation, luteal phase, and heavy menstruation days.

Other Ways to Reduce Period Pain

So, if you are experiencing dysmenorrhea or menorrhagia, try other ways to reduce period pain because castor oil may cause uterine contractions and aggravate the symptoms.

Heat Packs

Applying heat can help muscles relax. Therefore, you can use heating pads, warm compresses, hot water bottles, or heat patches to alleviate cramping and stomach pain during periods. Hot baths also work well.

Pain Killers

Period pain might be highly debilitating for some women, so it is fine to take OTC medications such as NSAIDs to get rid of the cramps. These Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs work the best since they inhibit prostaglandin production responsible for uterine contractions. Commonly used NSAIDs are ibuprofen, diclofenac, and naproxen.

You can also take Acetaminophen (Paracetamol, Tylenol) to alleviate the period pain. However, this drug will not reduce the inflammation responsible for the pain. Other specific medications, such as Midol, are also recommended for period pain but do always consult your gynecologist before taking such prescription medications. It is because they contain active ingredients other than NSAIDs, which all have their specific actions in the body.

Yoga and Exercise

Yoga, meditation, and exercise can help reduce stress and maintain a good hormonal balance. These also help stimulate endorphin production, which somewhat blocks pain perception. So you do not feel grumpy during periods.

Healthy Diet

Some research says thiamine (vitamin B1) and magnesium help mitigate period cramps. Therefore, you can have meals rich in these nutrients during your periods. Nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains, and leafy vegetables are rich sources of this vitamin and mineral.

What Do Castor Oil Packs Do For Stomach Pain?

Castor oil contains ricinoleic acid, a potent anti-inflammatory and analgesic agent. When used in combination with heat, it reduces inflammation of the digestive organs and alleviates stomach pain. Also, castor oil packs increase blood circulation and lymph flow, reducing tension and relaxing abdomen muscles. Enhanced blood circulation to the liver also aids it in better cleansing and detoxification, helping the body get rid of toxins and waste material, such as gases that may cause stomach pain.

What Are Some Side Effects Associated With The Use Of Castor Oil Packs?

The following side effects of castor oil packs do not appear in all users. Some individuals may get them regardless of their sensitivity and incorrect application.

  • Some people are allergic to castor oil, and they develop a rash. To know if you are allergic, try a patch test before application.

  • Castor oil can induce false labor due to its action of ‘uterine contraction’; therefore, do not use it if you are pregnant, or it will cause premature delivery.

  • Castor oil packs on breasts can harm your breastfeeding baby. Despite limited clinical data about this side effect, care is better than cure. So, do not use it if you are a lactating women.

  • Castor oil packs may interfere with certain topical medications you may be using for acne, psoriasis, or fungal infections.

  • Do not use these packs on open wounds, cuts, and burns; you may interfere with the normal healing process or cause severe irritation.


Why Shouldn't You Use Castor Oil Packs During Menstruation?

Some practitioners prohibit using castor oil packs because they claim the oil can increase blood flow, which may disrupt the normal menstrual cycle and enhance period flow. Also, they say that the oil's effect of inducing uterine contractions can aggravate cramping, leading to heavy periods.

Okay, Google, How Do Castor Oil Packs Aid In Menstruation?

Castor oil packs increase blood flow to the uterus, which helps each cell get enough oxygen and nutrients, boosting immunity. Increased blood circulation aids in better signaling from ovaries to the brain for regulating normal hormonal levels, thereby regulating the menstrual cycle and facilitating easy menses.

Moreover, these packs help reduce inflammation and lymph congestion in the abdominal area, making it easier for the uterus to contract smoothly and shed its inner layer. In this way, these packs also assist in mitigating the symptoms of endometriosis and dysmenorrhea.

Where To Purchase Castor Oil Packs?

You can purchase castor oil packs from pharmacies, drugstores, retail shops, online stores, and companies such as The Goodbye Company, which sells them online and offline. However, you can also make them at home (See above).

When Should You Not Use Castor Oil Packs?

You should not use castor oil packs when bleeding heavily since these packs may aggravate cramping. Also, you should not do them if you are pregnant (to avoid miscarriage or premature birth due to the labor-inducing effect of castor oil) or breastfeeding (may affect the child; insufficient clinical data regarding this precaution). Moreover, you can't use castor oil packs if you are allergic to this bean oil or have skin conditions like active acne, psoriasis, burns, or open wounds.


Since castor oil packs can induce uterine contractions that may enhance period cramps, it is advised not to use them in your heavy bleeding days. It's particularly true for women who have menorrhagia or dysmenorrhea. Nevertheless, you can use them in light bleeding days to help uterine muscles relax (when heat is applied) and nourish your uterus with plenty of oxygen and nutrients. Scroll above to learn ‘Why Can't You Use Castor Oil Packs During Menstruation?’ and the alleged benefits of castor oil packs in light bleeding days.

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