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Castor Packing…a simple way to cleanse without going on hunger strike

Aug 06, 2015


Many people schedule a regular cleanse at the Equinox or Solstice to enjoy the benefits of greater energy, improved digestion, clearer skin, weight loss and improved mood. Indeed, many naturopaths consider that the Equinox is the optimum time for a cleansing detoxification.

A quarterly cleanse can help with the elimination of toxins and tonify the kidneys, liver, lymphatic system and bowel. When these areas of the body are not functioning at their optimum, poor skin, hair, nails, bad breath and lack of energy can result. It is considered in certain spiritual circles that fasting or cleansing during the Equinox and Solstice, which occur around March 20th and September 23rd of each year, is more effective than at other times in the planetary calendar. 


Cleansing does not have to be seasonal however it is thought that cleansing during theses times is more affective than at other times in the planetary calendar. According to Naturopath Debra Allan: “It is believed that the Equinox affects the thickness of the blood and when the blood is thinner, albeit only slightly thinner, it is a good time to cleanse. The blood moves faster and therefore speeds the elimination of toxins.”

Having said that, the frequency of detoxification depends on dietary habits, alcohol consumption, exposure to environmental pollutants (e.g city or rural living) and the state of overall health and vitality. You may feel that your body needs some help sooner. If this is you, why not consider doing a gentle mid-seasonal cleanse to re-invigorate your body then plan to do a deeper cleanse during the Autumn Equinox (watch this space).


By gently encouraging the removal of waste compounds, the body is able to carry out normal processes efficiently which can improve all-round vitality: brighter, healthier skin, energy, improved digestion, weight management, libido and mood.   

When NOT to detox!

Avoid detoxification during acute illness unless under supervision of a qualified practitioner. Avoid a strict cleansing programme if you have an existing medical condition or are on prescription medication, unless under the guidance of your general practitioner. Not recommended for use during pregnancy and lactation.



If you haven’t heard of castor oil packing before this is may sound pretty crazy! But don’t mock it until you have tried it…if anything it is a great excuse to catch up on some of your favourite movies, so read on. 


A castor oil pack is a piece of cloth saturated with castor oil. Castor oil is made from the castor bean (Oleum ricini) and is known for its healing properties and as a cathartic (strong laxative). When placed on the right side of the abdomen, directly above the liver, with heat applied on top, the oil is absorbed into the lymphatic circulation to provide a soothing, cleansing and nutritive treatment.


Packs can be used for general cleansing or more specific ailments such as fibroids, ovarian cysts, headaches, liver disorders, constipation, intestinal disorders, gallbladder inflammation or stones and even inflamed joints. It is not to be used with pregnancy, bleeding or during menstruation.


  • Organic Castor oil (we like Pukka, organic, cold-pressed castor oil)
  • Large plastic bag 
  • A sheet of plastic (or you can split a bin bag to make a sheet)
  • 36" X 18" piece cotton or flannel (I used a flannel tea towel)
  • A hot water bottle
  • A comfy place to lie
  • A bowl or washed out ice-cream tub
  • Baking soda
  • Old clothes (staining may occur)
  • 2 old towels (staining may occur)



Make sure the flannel covers your abdomen when it is folded into quarters

Drizzle the flannel with castor oil

Fold into quarters again, ensuring that the flannel is saturated with the oil. Add extra if nessecary.

Place the flannel into the plastic bag and set aside.

Fill the hot water bottle with boiling water

Optional: Cover a flat surface (sofa/bed/somewhere comfy in front of a TV) with the split bin bag and place the old towel on top to protect the surface beneath

Wearing some clothes that you don't mind getting stained, lie on your back and place the oil-soaked flannel directly over your abdomen. You may want to put a small sheet of plastic over the top to stop the castor oil from leaking from the flannel.

Place the hot water bottle on top of the flannel and cover with a towel.

Leave the pack on for 45-60 minutes. Ensure you remain relaxed throughout. Some people feel the best way to do this is to lie back an focus on breathing in deeply, allowing your entire body to relax. Alternatively, you may want to quietly relax and watch a nice film or prepare the pack befor you go to bed, allowing yourself to fall asleep with the pack on. 

Once you have finished, make a solution to remove the oil by combining 2 tbsp baking soday in 1 litre water of warm water. Soak a cloth in the solution and wipe the oil off.

Store the castor pack in the fridge in a large sealable bag, adding more oil as required. Replace the pack when it begins to change colour.

Apply the pack for at least 3 consecutive days to see the real benefits from the pack. 

Note: during the 3 days of using the pack, you may feel less energetic than normal or you may find you need to use the bathroom more often than you usually do. Do not try to fight this but instead use the time to relax or do more gentle exercise such as yoga, walking or light swimming. It will be worth it as after 3 days you will start to feel happier, healthier and lighter. 


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