Castor oil is a kind of vegetable oil, extracted from the beans or seeds of the castor plant. It is found in the form of a pale yellow liquid that has a mild odor, but is tasteless. Castor oil packs are prepared to be applied on various parts of body in order to treat different types of ailments. Its importance in medicine is due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.
What Exactly Is It?
A castor oil pack mainly consists of pieces of flannel soaked in castor oil, and then laid on the body. A flannel is chosen for this purpose, as it has a high absorption capacity, and can hold a large amount of oil in a relatively small patch of cloth. The size of the flannel should be at least 12X12 inches.
Making and Using It
Firstly, the flannel should be folded into three layers. Then, it should be soaked in a manner such that all three layers fully absorb the oil. Take out the pad from the container after some time, ensuring that the oil does not flow out of the pad.
The pack should then be placed over the affected area, and covered with a sheet of plastic. In case you are using a ready-made disposable pack, then pour some oil at the middle of the absorbent side of the pack, and wait for five to ten minutes so that it absorbs it, and then place it over the affected part. Now, keep a bottle of hot water on the pack and allow it to stay there for an hour or two. Then, the pack should be removed, and the applied area should be cleaned with a mixture of water and baking soda. The oil pack can be stored in a covered container in a refrigerator, and can be reused at least 25 times.
Castor oil provides a natural remedy to several health-related problems. It is helpful in bringing about an improvement in the blood circulation within the body. On application of an oil pack on the abdomen, digestion can be improved, and normal functioning of liver can be restored. Due to its anti-inflammation properties, acute pain caused as a result of arthritis can be relieved. It is an effective way for treating fungal infections such as ringworm, athletes foot, chronic itching, etc., and skin problems like sunburn, age spots, boils, and stretch marks. In such cases, the skin should be disinfected before applying the pack. This will ensure quick recovery from the skin problem.
Castor oil packs do not have any noted side effects. However, it is advisable to use them under the supervision of health professionals. Especially, pregnant women and lactating mothers should take the advise of the doctor before applying the pack. People who have inflammatory intestinal problems or appendicitis should avoid them.