Castor oil, also known as Ricinus oil, is obtained from the Ricinus communis plant of the Euphorbiaceae family. The pale yellow to transparent vegetable oil is thick and sticky in consistency with a mild, distinctive, and nutty scent.

Castor oil contains significant amounts of ricinoleic acid and omega fatty acids, both of which have numerous health and cosmetic benefits. Some prominent therapeutic actions of Ricinus oil include laxative, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antifungal, emollient, immunomodulator, and hair growth promoter.

For most therapeutic and cosmetic goals, people usually apply castor oil directly onto their skin and scalp. However, certain constituents of castor oil require some sort of heat or warmth to initiate, trigger, or potentiate their particular health benefit. And for that purpose, the use of castor oil packs commenced. Not only this but due to the sticky consistency and messy application of the oil, castor oil packs proved to be the most convenient device. But what are castor oil packs, and how do you make them?

What Are Castor Oil Packs?

Castor oil packs are simply packs made out of soft, absorbent, and warm fabrics. These packs are then soaked with an ample amount of castor oil for an extended external application. Most practitioners recommend using wool flannel because it is a natural and renewable fiber with excellent absorbency. Moreover, wool flannel has an incredible heat-holding capacity to maintain the temperature, and so is the effect during application.

These castor oil packs are so easy to make that instead of buying from the stores, you can make them easily at home. Let’s see how to make them.

How To Make Castor Oil Packs?

You can make castor oil packs at home using cotton or wool flannel. Cotton flannel is also a very soft and breathable fabric. However, cotton flannel remains good in summers, while for winters, you can make castor oil packs out of wool flannel for a more warm and cozy feel.

Supplies You’ll Need

Here are the supplies you’ll need to begin making castor oil packs at home. Remember that the following method is the most basic and convenient.

  • Cotton or wool flannel (It should be unbleached, clean, and sterile)
  • A container or bowl (with a sufficient capacity)
  • Scissors
  • Tongs
  • Plastic sheets/wraps

Quick And Easy Steps

  1. Take a large piece of your preferred fabric and fold it about four times to get a sufficient thickness. Another way is to take a large piece of fabric and cut it using sharp scissors into three to four pieces of about 12*10 inches.
  2. Pour castor oil into a bowl. Soak the flannel pieces into castor oil and place them one by one on a plastic sheet using tongs to avoid dripping the sticky oil everywhere.
  3. Now, take a piece of plastic wrap and place it on a flat surface. Stack the soaked flannels onto each other and wrap them in the transparent wrap. You can remove the wrapping if you apply the pack directly to the affected area.
  4. However, the wrapping protects the fabric from excessive heating and aids in locking the heat provided by a heating pad.

How To Use Use Castor Oil Packs?

  1. Lay down on a towel to avoid dripping the oil on your bed.
  2. Place the castor oil pack on the affected area and cover it with a plasheet sheet.
  3. Then, using a heating pad or hot water bottle, you can apply warmth to potentiate the health effects of the castor oil pack.
  4. Leave it for 45-60 minutes or according to the therapeutic goal.
  5. Remove the wrap and pack and wipe your body surface with a warm washcloth.
  6. Place the used castor oil pack in an airtight container and store it in a refrigerator. You can reapply the pack after half an hour or more.

For acute conditions, apply the pack daily or as recommended. However, for chronic conditions, you can apply the pack for about half an hour for the first time. Then, reapply the pack every second or third day.

Cautions And Care

Castor oil can be allergic to some. Therefore, before applying it directly on the skin, do a skin test at home. For this purpose, apply a drop or two of the Ricinus oil on your wrist and wait 10-15 minutes to see the reaction. If there’s no redness, swelling, or burning sensation, you can safely use castor oil and castor oil packs.

Also, do not apply castor oil packs to your abdominal area, even for treating constipation if you’re pregnant. The reason is castor oil can induce false contractions that can lead to premature delivery. Moreover, do not apply castor oil pack to open wounds and irritated skin.

What Are Castor Oil Packs Good For?

Castor oil packs are an excellent topical remedy to treat the following conditions:

  • Intestinal problems like constipation, impaired digestion, or bloating
  • Fatty liver disease
  • Gallstones
  • Lung congestion
  • Asthma
  • Bronchitis
  • Common Cold and Flu
  • Irregular menstruation
  • Dysmenorrhea
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Endometriosis
  • Uterine or endometrial adhesion
  • Skin conditions like sunburn, bug bites, eczema, aging skin
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Gout
  • Other common Joint inflammation or aches

Though there’s limited clinical evidence to support the castor oil packs for all of the above indications, numerous ancient practitioners recommend using them based on the historical significance of castor oil as a therapeutic agent.

Side Effects Of Using Castor Oil Packs

Apparently, there are no side effects from using castor oil packs. The only care you should do is to avoid using excessive heat that may burn your skin. Nevertheless, castor oil may cause some harm, which you should consider. The cautions of using castor oil are mentioned above.


How Do You Clean Castor Oil Packs?

Clean the castor oil packs occasionally in a soda bath. For this, dissolve  4 ounces of baking soda in two quarts of water. Mix the solution thoroughly and soak the oaks for about 20-30 minutes. Wring the packs and wash them with plain water. You can use warm water for deep cleaning.

How Often Should You Do Castor Oil Packs?

You can do castor oil packs every 3 to 7 days a week for about 20-25 minutes. This frequency depends on the medical condition you are treating.

How Long Do Castor Oil Packs Take To Work?

It takes about several weeks to a month or two to get the maximum and visible effects of using castor oil packs. The results also depend on the frequency of use, how you use it, and the medical condition.

When To Stop Castor Oil Packs For Fertility?

You can use castor oil packs from day 5 of your menstrual cycle every second or third day until ovulation. It is true if you are conceiving. If not, you can use the pack every third of your cycle, beginning from the start to the end. In case you are suffering from ovarian cysts, endometriosis, fibroids, etc., you can use the castor oil pack daily. Nevertheless, it’s best to consult a gynecologist for accurate dosing.



Castor oil packs are wool or cotton flannel fabric soaked in castor oil, stacked, and wrapped together for easy application. These packs are a convenient way to apply such a thick and unpourable oil to the body. Since castor oil has innumerable health and cosmetic benefits, castor oil packs are frequently used by people. These are readily available in stores, but you can quickly make them at home in just a single step. Read the insightful description above and learn all about castor oil packs, how to make them, use them, and what the precautions and care of applying castor oil packs are.

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