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Castor Oil: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Fertility, Pregnancy, and Postpartum

Updated: May 29, 2023



Have you ever heard of Castor Oil? If you have and are wondering if it is something that could benefit you this blog post will outline a basic profile of what castor oil is, how it works, and when to use it.


(disclaimer: I am not a medical provider. The information included below is just a resource, not a recommendation or prescription.)



Castor Oil: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Fertility, Pregnancy, and Postpartum

What is Castor Oil?


Castor Oil is a seed-based oil derived from the Ricinus communis plant, also known as the “Palm of Christ”. It has been a traditional healing and beauty source used for thousands of years by different ancient civilizations including China, India, Egypt, and throughout the Mediterranean.


Currently, castor oil is making a comeback in beauty products and as a holistic healing tool. The most common uses of castor oil include: as an ingredient in creams and hair products, castor oil packs, and midwives’ inductions.


What is a Castor Oil Pack?


The term “castor oil pack” describes the process of using castor oil by applying it to a specific area because of its detoxifying and healing properties. This process usually includes the following:

  1. Warm the oil.

  2. Massaging it into the chosen area( i.e., liver, uterus, or ovaries)

  3. Placing a piece of (unbleached and/or organic) cotton or wool flannel over the massaged area

  4. Layering a piece of plastic over the cloth to protect bedding (castor oil stains and can be messy!)

  5. Adding heat via a heating pad or hot water bottle

  6. Rest, relax, and enjoy for up to an hour


This can be repeated daily until desired results are attained.



Castor Oil for Fertility, Pregnancy, and Postpartum?


Fertility

When optimizing your fertility adding castor oil packs to your evening routine could be helpful for the following reasons:


  • Relaxation and a better night of sleep.

  • Reducing pain and inflammation while also promoting detoxification.

  • For an immune system boost.

  • Supporting liver detoxification for hormone balance.

  • As a way to heal fibroids, cysts, endometriosis, and painful periods.


It is important to note that castor oil should not be used after ovulation if you are attempting to conceive or during your bleed.


Labor Induction:

Castor oil should not be used during pregnancy but might be used by your medical provider at the end of pregnancy for induction. This is not a method I have seen used by in-hospital providers but it is something I have seen used regularly by midwives, for clients nearing 42 weeks of pregnancy. During a midwives’ induction castor oil is used to stimulate labor, in addition to pumping, tinctures, homeopathy, and a Cook balloon or Foley bulb. The most important thing to remember about using castor oil for induction is that it is a laxative. It will give you diarrhea. It should only be used with the oversight of a medical provider. As a doula I encourage my clients to HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE, if they are using castor oil to induce.


Postpartum:


There are three main uses for castor oil packs during postpartum:


  1. To warm a postpartum womb and/or abdomen. Warming the womb after birth is a holistic healing practice and can be used as a marker of self-care during postpartum.

  2. For clogged ducts or mastitis.

  3. C-section scar remediation, after the scar has totally healed.



If you’re interested in learning more about castor oil uses I recommend checking out the following sites I used when writing this blog post:



If you’re looking to purchase Castor Oil I bought mine, as well as unbleached wool flannel, at the Heritage Store. You can purchase directly from them or via Amazon.




I hope you found this post useful and informative!


–Katya


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