• Herbal Farmwife

Castor Oil Packs For Muscle Inflammation, Aches & Pains

(….and even Osteoarthritis & Plantar Fasciitis)

I remember hearing my mother tell me that as child she had to drink castor oil to relieve constipation. It was not an experience she would forget; nor would she repeat with her own children. She wasn’t the only child in America to experience this and I somewhat wonder if Castor Oil got a bad reputation because of it.

In our folklore, Castor Seeds and its oil resulting from it has been used orally not only as a laxative but also for birth control, leprosy, and syphilis. I never thought I would hear those three conditions in the same sentence. I’m not a huge fan of digesting Castor Oil. Maybe it was because of my mother’s own stories of her childhood. Or, maybe because Castor Seeds are used to make natural paints, varnishes, and lubricating oils.

I am a big fan of using Castor Oil topically. Topically, the seeds have been made into a paste or oil that can be used for abscesses, boils, detox, inflammation, liver, skin problems, and even headaches. Used for centuries, Castor Oil has even been used to dissolve bunions, corns, cysts, growths and warts.

Although we call it a “pack,” Castor Oil packs are typically considered a poultice. It is where mushy, pulpy, or a thick substance is applied to a cloth capable of absorbing hot liquid; which then can be put on the skin’s surface. Since the liquid cools quickly, another form of heat needs to be constantly applied for the liquid to soak into the skin. You apply, sit, and wait.

Your Poor Inflamed Muscles

Personally, I was told about Castor Oil packs to help detox my liver. It seems like if my liver isn’t happy then the rest of my body struggles. After using Castor Oil for my liver, I stumbled upon the fact that many people use Castor Oil for muscle inflammation; which can cause pain. When ice was not working, I decided to give it a try. After three days of Castor Oil packs on my knees, I felt good as new without pain in my knee caps and I was sold. (Note to self: Do not fall down a laser tag ramp on both knees while chasing my kids.)

As with any natural treatment, there is a whole host of research available on Castor Oil in relation to muscle aches and pains. Years ago, I did run across a study that had evidence that Castor Oil helps break up old scar tissue from a past injury. Of course, I can’t find that research today. So, I can only say that this little bit of information has to be credited to folklore or a really bad memory.

But, this is what I do know based on research of Castor Oil and inflammation. In a 2000 observational research study, Ricinoleic Acid, the main component of Castor Oil, when applied topically to the skin has extraordinary pain relief and anti-inflammatory effects. The study suggested that Castor Oil had an interaction, “on sensory neuropeptide-mediated neurogenic inflammation.” It sounds impressive to me.

In a 2015, Saveetha University conducted a study to assess the effectiveness of Castor Oil with hot application on knee joint pain (aka osteoarthritis) among women between the ages of thirty (30) to sixty (60) years of age. Before the test began, “…28% of the women had severe knee joint pain and 72% of the women had moderate knee joint pain. In the post test after 2 weeks of intervention of castor oil massage with hot water application, 24% of the women had moderate knee joint pain and 76% of the women had mild knee joint pain.” The majority of the women felt some form of reduction in pain relief.

I’m not suggesting that Castor Oil is a “cure all” like Windex is in the “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” movie. But, I also have Planters Fasciitis that did not heal properly from a running injury. Knowing that my body wouldn’t accept a steroid shot very well, I was desperate to try anything. Castor Oil pack to the rescue and my pain subsided. When my Plantar Fasciitis flares about once a year, I reapply the Castor Oil pack for several treatments and my foot is feeling great again for another year or so.

Items You Will Need For Castor Oil Pack

  • Castor oil (cold pressed and solvent free)

  • Mason or Ball jar with lid

  • Wool or cotton print free cloth (unbleached)

  • Plastic wrap

  • Old Towel

  • Heat pad

How to Use a Castor Oil Pack

  1. Pour Castor Oil into a Mason or Ball jar about half full.

  2. Insert the fabric inside the glass to soak.

  3. Place the lid on the jar tightly. Shake. Soak.

  4. Undress the area you would like to apply the cloth and place a towel underneath. (Castor Oil is quite messy and can stain.)

  5. Plug in the heat pad and warm it up.

  6. Pull out the plastic wrap to the size of twice the body area.

  7. Remove the fabric from the Castor Oil and carefully apply the fabric to your skin.

  8. Quickly apply the plastic wrap to keep the excess Castor Oil from dripping.

  9. Apply the heat pad over the plastic wrap.

  10. Sit with this on your skin for about thirty minutes. Check your heat pad often to ensure it has not turned off.

  11. After thirty minutes, turn off the heat pad, throw away the plastic wrap, and place the Castor Oil cloth back into the jar for future use. I recommend placing the jar in your refrigerator.

  12. Take a shower and use soap to the area. If you would like to remove any the Castor Oil on your skin, you can use baking soda.

Please Note These Precautions:

When used in moderation, Castor Oil is relatively safe to consume orally. When castor oil is used orally in high doses exceeding one (1) Tablespoon to five (5) Tablespoons per day for extended periods greater than a week, Castor Oil can cause fluid and electrolyte disturbances. You should never chew a Castor Seed by itself because chewing as few as one (1) to six (6) whole seeds can be lethal in an adult. Unlike the seeds, Castor Oil does not contain the deadly poison ricin and is relatively safe to consume at smaller doses.

Although midwives sometimes use Castor Oil to induce labor, please DO NOT use Castor Oil if you are pregnant, wanting to become pregnant, or just had a baby. Again, if you are PREGNANT please DO NOT use Castor Oil. And finally, please be cautious when using Castor Oil orally when taking Diuretic medicine.

I hope you find pain relief, like I have, with Castor Oil.

Blessings, Herbal Farmwife

Please visit for “Do It Yourself” natural remedies using herbs, spices, vitamins, minerals, and healing foods!

DISCLAIMER: This information should not be considered to be healthcare advice, medical diagnosis, or treatment. This information is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other healthcare professionals. Always consult a healthcare professional first before trying any herbs, spices, vitamins, or minerals mentioned in this posting. This information is merely a discussion of “thoughts” among friends. Please note that none of these statements have been evaluated by the USA’s Food and Drug Administration.








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