Castor oil has been used for many years for various medicinal and therapeutic applications. It’s roots go back to Ancient Egypt and India. Today, it is used for simple bruising, digestive and uterine health and even achy joints. Castor oil is pale yellow in colour and notoriously sticky. It is an astringent which helps to draw out impurities and has anti-inflammatory properties to help ease pain.
I have been feeling like my wrists could use a little TLC, to which I remembered learning about castor oil in Ayurveda. It is said that this is one of the only oils which could penetrate the seven layers of tissue, helping to soothe inflamed nerves and nourish marrow. Not just for wrists, I have used it when my knee was swollen and when my neck was making popping sounds. I bet you could find a few uses for yourself.
First, where to find it? The best price for castor oil is found in local health food stores rather than the small overpriced bottles at the drug store. Either way, it is easy to find.
How to make a compress:
You’ll need these supplies:
- Old shirt/flannel/bandana/whatever you can find. Cut or fold into whatever size of fabric for the surface you are wanting to cover and a little more to avoid drips. It’s okay if the fabric is a bit thick.
- Plastic wrap to cover the oily fabric and to protect clothing/furniture/your loved one. This stuff is very messy and doesn’t really come off. I repurpose plastic bags instead of buying plastic wrap.
- Towel to clean up and to cover your-plastic-wrapped self.
- Metal bowl or pot to heat oil on the stove.
- Hot water bottle or heating blanket/pad if you have one.
- A good book/movie/cuppa tea to hang out for a while.
- Heat about 1/2 cup of oil on the stove on the LOWEST setting possible. We don’t want to burn ourselves here. Once it is warm to the touch, turn off the stove and remove. Let it sit a few minutes while you get ready.
- Grab your book/cuppa tea/movie and set up the area where you will be hanging out. If you are worried about damaging any furniture or clothing, get changed and cover the seat.
- Fill up the hot water bottle and get that ready at your hang out spot.
- Back at the now not-too-hot oil, place fabric of choice into the oil, let it soak up! Squeeze a bit off and apply to the area you are wanting to heal.
- Wrap that knee/shoulder/wrist up in plastic.
- At the rest station, place the hot water bottle on the area and cover with a towel to keep warm.
- Hang out and enjoy your 20 mins to 1 hr. Ideally, you want to go as long as you can.
- Wash off with soap and a bit of baking soda.
- Heating the castor oil is optional. You could simply massage it onto the area and wrap up with plastic and towel.
- The compress can be wrapped up in a plastic bag and re-used several times. You’ll need to throw it out when your done with it. There is no way to get that stuff out.
- You can repeat this every day until you reach your desired results. If the pain is more constant, aim for 4+ days a week to start.
Some great online resources for further reading:
Youtube video explaining how to make a pack: http://youtu.be/sVaCT80TzlY
Certified Nutritional Practitioner & Yoga Teacher
Lindsay is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner, with a passion for whole body/mind care. She believes that supporting wellness through nutrition is more than following a diet. Lindsay's years as a yoga teacher and mindfulness practitioner lead to a compassionate multi-dimensional approach to your health and wellness.