Q & A Library
Why Bother with Castor Oil Packs?
My naturopath recommended using castor oil packs for liver detoxification and for uterine fibroids. Are they worthwhile?
Answer (Published 1/22/2003)
Castor oil packs are a home remedy popularized by psychic healer Edgar Cayce who died in 1945. They are made by saturating a flannel cloth with castor oil and placing it on your body over the lower abdomen. You cover the pack with plastic, put a heating pad or hot water bottle on top and then you lie down for an hour.
During his lifetime, Cayce made pronouncements on thousands of subjects including health. He saw castor oil packs as remedies for inflammation, congestion, constipation, liver, kidney, and pelvic disorders, including uterine fibroids. While many people swear by them, I know of no scientific studies demonstrating that they have the detoxifying effect that Cayce claimed.
Instead of castor oil packs, I suggest you try these approaches to managing your fibroids:
For symptoms severe enough to warrant surgery, you can choose an alternative to hysterectomy. Fibroids can be removed via a myomectomy, an operation that can preserve your uterus and fertility. You don't mention the liver problem for which you are considering castor oil packs. For liver disorders, I recommend taking extracts of the seeds of milk thistle (Silybum marianum), a non-toxic herbal remedy. European research shows that it stimulates regeneration of liver cells and protects them from toxic injury. In addition, I suggest decreasing protein to 10 percent or less of daily caloric intake; limiting dietary fat to 25 percent of daily caloric intake; eating lots of starches, vegetables, and fruits; avoiding alcohol and tobacco and other substances toxic to the liver, such as volatile solvents. Drink plenty of water and take steam baths or saunas regularly.
Castor oil packs can't hurt you, but I've seen no evidence yet that demonstrates that they can help you any more than a regular hot pack.
Andrew Weil, M.D.
Dosage Update, October, 2004
Visit www.are-cayce.com for more information on Edgar Cayce.
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