Castor Oil Packs for Fertility and Postpartum Health
Castor oil packs have been used for centuries to cure a myriad of problems from constipation to wound healing to pain relief but has lost some of its luster over the years due to advances in Western Medicine. Fortunately, with the introduction of the internet and our oversaturated prescription medication market, people are starting to seek out alternative, more natural ways to help heal what ails them especially when it comes to Fertility and Postpartum healing.
Castor oil is extracted from the seed of the Castor oil plant, whose botanical name is Ricinus Communis. And while it was Edgar Cayce who made Castor oil well known throughout the U.S. in the 20th century, it has a long history of use as a healing agent around the world. The Journal of Naturopathic Medicine published findings that Castor bean seeds, believed to be 4,000 years old, were found in many Egyptian tombs. Historical documents reveal the medicinal use of Castor oil in India, Africa, Greece, Rome (the Romans called it the Palma Christi - Hand of Christ), Egypt (for eye infections), China (for induction of childbirth and expulsion of the placenta), Persia (for epilepsy), Southern Europe, and the Americas.
Castor Oil Packs for Fertility
A Castor Oil pack is believed to improve reproductive health by increasing circulation in the lower abdomen, boosting the immune system to clear stagnant fluid in the reproductive organs due to excessive scar tissue, promote detoxification of the liver (healthy liver, healthy body), reduces inflammation and pain (due to cysts, fibroids, blocked fallopian tubes, etc.) and supports breast health ( What Your Breast Health Says About Your Fertility). If you are using this to aid in fertility, abdominal massage can be a wonderful addition after removing the castor oil pack. Ask your Massage Therapist if they offer castor oil packs with abdominal massage and add it to your massage session (or schedule one with me!). Other natural methods to aid in fertility are out there for you to try as well (See Fertility Cleansing)
Castor Oil Packs for Postpartum Health
Castor oil packs help reduce inflammation in the uterus, help stimulate the lymphatic system, and can help support your digestive system as well as support hormone regulation. One of the pillars of postpartum care is to keep the new mom warm and castor oil packs will do just that. Castor oil can also help your C-Section scar become more pliable and tug less. Once the incision is healed completely, massaging castor oil on the scar can help soften and create mobility. Castor oil packs have also been known to help blocked milk ducts and mastitis. Simply place a castor oil pack over the breasts and then follow up with gentle breast massage. Be sure to wipe the nipple and surrounding tissue completely before nursing.
Lastly, castor oil packs can offer stress relief. We live chaotic lives and rarely give ourselves a moments rest. I am guilty of this as well. Not allowing our bodies time to rest can cause a multitude of problems, especially with our digestive system (think IBS). Castor oil packs allow us to sit and rest. It is best to allow the castor oil pack to stay on for 60-90 minutes minimum and it is hard to walk around trying to do things with a castor oil pack on your abdomen. This would be the perfect time for meditation, visualizations and positive affirmations.
Castor oil packs can be used 4-5 times a week. Materials needed for your at-home castor oil packs are: cold-pressed, pure castor oil (can be found in health food stores), a flannel, cotton cloth, a towel (that you don't mind being stained; castor oil stains and is sticky!) and a gentle heating source (hot water bottle, heating pad etc.). Saturate the flannel cloth in castor oil and place over the liver (liver should be done first. Other areas include lower abdomen and breast). Place the towel (you can also you plastic or saran wrap to cover the castor oil pack to keep it from getting all over) over the pack and then place your heat source over the towel. Then REST! When you are removing the pack, be sure to clean off your abdomen. Keep your flannel soaked castor oil pack in a ziploc bag. It can be used more than once!
Castor oil can be an effective tool in helping you heal from C-sections and to balance and help regulate the liver and other digestive organs as well as assist in balancing your hormones. This can also, along with a massage, be very relaxing to you and Relaxed Mama = Relaxed Baby!