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Castor Oil Packs for Hepatitis C

Nicole Cutler L.Ac. December 31, 2009

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Castor oil packs have been used for centuries to improve liver function. Discover why many people with Hepatitis C are benefiting from this age-old folk treatment.

Recommended by some holistic healthcare practitioners to enhance circulation, promote healing and improve liver function, castor oil packs have a long history of traditional medical use dating back to ancient Egypt. Making and applying a castor oil pack gives those with Hepatitis C a proactive way to reduce their symptoms and help their body better manage this viral infection of the liver.

Holistic Approach

A holistic approach to any illness is recognizing the innate, natural healing potential of the body. For someone with Hepatitis C, this belief means that as the entire body becomes healthier, it is better able to combat this virus and contend with its effects.

Since the liver of someone with Hepatitis C is often consumed with trying to fight and eliminate the virus, it has fewer resources to perform its regular functions – like detoxification and elimination. Thus, a holistic strategy for someone with Hepatitis C may be to support and facilitate detoxification and elimination. Accomplishing these goals contributes to the healthfulness of the entire body so that the virus can be more efficiently targeted.

Circulation Enhancement

Castor oil is derived from the castor bean (Ricinus communis) and was once taken orally as a laxative. However, castor oil is toxic and its modern day use is restricted to topical preparations on unbroken skin. When applied on the skin directly over the liver, warm castor oil packs can be beneficial to those with Hepatitis C because it is a strong circulation stimulant. This is helpful because:

  • Increased circulation will reduce inflammation.
  • Increased circulation will ease pain.
  • Increased circulation will facilitate the detoxification process.
  • Increased circulation will support toxin elimination by improving bile flow.
  • Castor oil’s increase in circulation boosts the production of white blood cells that help fight the Hepatitis C virus.
  • Increased circulation helps with drainage of toxins to the lymph system.

How to Make a Warm Castor Oil Pack

Castor oil packs are made by soaking a piece of flannel or un-dyed wool in castor oil and placing it on the skin. The flannel is covered with a sheet of plastic, and then a hot water bottle or hot pack is placed over the plastic to heat the castor oil-soaked poultice. More specific directions are described below:

  1. Place the flannel or wool in a container and soak it in castor oil so that it is saturated, but not dripping.
  2. Put the saturated cloth over the liver. The liver is located in the upper right portion of the abdomen – partially above the ribs and partially beneath them.
  3. Cover the saturated cloth with plastic wrap. This will reduce some of the messiness and facilitate the oil’s absorption into the skin.
  4. Put a hot water bottle or hot pack over the plastic wrap. Leave it in place for at least 20 minutes (up to an hour) and rest with the castor oil concoction on your abdomen.
  5. Upon removing the pack, cleanse your skin with a dilute solution of water and baking soda.
  6. The pack can be kept in the refrigerator in a covered container and reused many times.
  7. Notorious for being thick, messy and staining, many people use separate, old sheets and clothing when bringing out their castor oil packs.

Castor oil packs can increase the body’s ability to fight infection, relieve hepatic pain and inflammation while aiding in detoxification – at a fraction of the cost of similarly intended holistic health therapies. An effective technique for improving liver function, castor oil packs are a good way for those with Hepatitis C to boost their body’s natural healing potential.

References:

http://altmedicine.about.com/cs/dietarytherapy/a/CastorOilPack.htm, Castor Oil Pack, Cathy Wong, Retrieved December 5, 2009, About.com, 2009.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgar_Cayce, Edgar Cayce, Retrieved December 6, 2009, Wikimedia Foundation, Inc, 2009.

http://www.edgarcayce.org/health/database/health_resources/hepatitis_C.asp, Hepatitis C, Retrieved December 5, 2009, Edgar Cayce’s Association for Research & Enlightenment, 2009.

http://www.ehow.com/way_5660796_natural-pain-relief-cirrhosis-liver.html, Natural Pain Relief for Cirrhosis of the Liver, LeeAnn Mullen, Retrieved December 5, 2009, eHow Inc., 2009.

http://www.liversupport.com/wordpress/2007/10/3-do-it-yourself-ways-to-help-gallbladder-and-liver-pain/, 3 Do-It-Yourself Ways to Help Gallbladder and Liver Pain, Nicole Cutler, L.Ac., Retrieved December 5, 2009, Natural Wellness, 2009.

http://www.thebody.com/content/art2055.html, The Liver and Living with HIV/AIDS: A Naturopathic Perspective, Seattle Treatment Education Project, Retrieved December 5, 2009, The Body, 2009.

Zand, Janet, et al, Smart Medicine for Healthier Living, Avery Publishing Group, Inc., Garden City Park, NY, 1999; 331.

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