By: Marisol Teijeiro, N.D., B.A.
In my mid 20s, I was having super irregular periods, trouble sleeping, alternating constipation and diarrhea, embarrassing hair growth on my chin and upper lip, and hot flashes (power surges, as I like to call them) that convinced me I was in the Sahara desert. I was given the diagnosis of IBS and PCOS, and my doctor told me that I likely wouldn’t be able to have babies. I’d never thought very hard about having babies before this; but having the option taken away from me so suddenly was the wake-up-call, snap-back-to-reality moment that I needed to get my health in check.
You see, the symphony of hormones in my body sounded less like a composition of Beethoven and more like a heavy metal concert with a violent mosh pit. My symptoms were basically menopausal, at the ripe young age of 25.
As heart-wrenching and stressful as this time in my life was, it was also my saving grace. It was what propelled me to try a health practice that I’d heard about for years but never actually did, simply because it sounded‘too difficult, too messy, too time-consuming’… Believe me, I came up with every excuse in the book!
The health practice I’m talking about is castor oil packs, and I’m so thankful I finally tried them and designed a pack that addressed all of the excuses I had for avoiding them in the first place. Learn more about the Queen of the Thrones™ castor oil packhere.
The History of Castor Oil Packs
Castor oil has been used for health as early as 4000 BC and was loved by the fathers of modern medicine including Hippocrates and Galen. Egyptian Queen Cleopatra was also an advocate for the oil for its powerful beauty benefits.
A castor oil pack is the practice of placing a compress with castor oil onto the body to support healing and balance. It has been implemented in both naturopathic and conventional medical practices as a supportive therapy for digestive issues, injuries, cancer and much more.
There are 6 main ways that castor oil packs support hormone balance and graceful aging in the body.
- Regulation of Bowel Movements
What goes in, must come out! Our stools are the vehicle for food waste, bacteria, toxins and hormones to exit the body. It’s how we expel and release that which no longer serves us, so we need to be eliminating daily.
Estrogen dominance is a very common issue for women and can cause constipation1. Sufficient progesterone levels are required for smooth-moving bowels, and progesterone is high when stress levels (cortisol hormone) are low.
The castor oil pack practice has been shown to gently relieve constipation2 and regulate the bowels via improvement of smooth muscle function of the intestines3.
- Activation of the Relaxed State
As soon as you put the pack on your body, it activates the relaxed, ‘parasympathetic’ state4 - in my opinion this is one of the most important parts of the therapy. All of our lives we’re working on our ‘to-do lists’ but as we get older and come into our golden years, being able to relax and reflect gives us more time to focus on our ‘to-be list’.
Another amazing aspect of the castor oil pack is that it stimulates our feel-good hormones, dopamine5 and oxytocin6. Oxytocin is known as our love and connection hormone (it’s released during orgasm!) and when you wear your castor oil pack at the same time as your partner it can increase your bond with each other. Oxytocin also helps with weight loss7, lowers cortisol (stress hormone) and balances blood pressure8, leading to healthy levels of progesterone for great bowel movements! The relaxation effect of the castor oil pack also helps to improve sleep.
- Balancing the Microbiome
Castor oil is one of the only natural substances with the ability to break down biofilm9 10 11, a sticky plaque-like protective material created by bad bacteria. A healthy balance of gut bacteria is key for absorbing and digesting nutrients from our food that are needed to manufacture hormones.
Castor oil packs can help with the balance of the microbiome in the gut, and oil pulling with castor oil can also help with a healthy smile by supporting the microbial balance in the mouth.
- Cleansing & Detox Support
Castor oil MOVES things - wherever things are stuck, inflamed, stagnated or blocked, castor oil packs help to restore FLOW to the area it is worn. This is why castor oil packs are typically worn over the liver, as the liver is responsible for over 300 vital functions of the body and it’s where all of the regulatory systems of the body converge (digestive, hormonal, immune and nervous systems).
The liver is one of the biggest conductors and processors of hormones in the body so it must be functioning well for our hormones to be in concert with each other. Castor oil also preserves glutathione12, a powerhouse antioxidant that is required for phase I and II of detoxification in the liver.
- Inflammation Reduction
Ricinoleic acid is an active component of castor oil that is super anti-inflammatory13. It also has a molecular weight below 500 Daltons, which gives it the unique ability to pass through the first layer of skin (the epidermis), into the 2nd layer of skin (the dermis), where the circulatory and lymphatic vessels lie. This makes it an excellent vehicle for carrying therapeutic substances into the body14 such as essential oils.
Conventional beauty products are often full of toxic chemicals and hormone-disrupting substances. As we age, we tend to gravitate toward products with the promise of reducing fine lines and wrinkles, fading age spots and building collagen in the skin. If you look at the ingredient lists of many of these beauty products, you’ll probably see castor oil.
This is because castor oil is the BEST oil for beauty as it’s jam packed with skin-loving antioxidants including vitamin E, omegas15 and nitric oxide16. It’s anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, emollient and nourishing. It’s used to help improve thickness and length of hair as well as eyelashes and eyebrows.
In menopause, often insulin can become imbalanced and this often shows up as darkening of the skin. Castor oil is used to fade age spots and balance hyperpigmentation.
A health and beauty secret that I swear by is wearing an eye mask to bed each night after applying castor oil around my eyes. Wearing an eye mask is a natural way to increase melatonin production17- a hormone that regulates sleep and also protects us from hormone-based cancers18. As we age, melatonin decreases and this causes inflammation to increase19, so this simple practice is an excellent preventative.
Quality of Castor Oil
I must emphasize the importance of a good quality castor oil when using it for health and beauty. If using castor oil from a plastic bottle, there’s a possibility of carrying plastic into the body. Women especially need to be careful of this as we age and enter menopause, simply because we’ve been on the planet for a longer period of time and we have a higher accumulation of toxins/plastics than a young person so we don’t want to increase our toxic load at all.
Castor oil should always, always, ALWAYS be in a glass bottle, certified organic, cold-pressed, extra virgin and bottled in glass, like Queen of the Thrones™ castor oil.
Age Gracefully & Happily with Castor Oil
Castor oil packs came into my life in my 20s and have been a foundational mainstay in my personal and clinical health practice since, no exceptions. When you see and feel the difference, I’m sure they will be a mainstay for you too.
These 6 benefits are all foundational pillars of health and wellbeing, especially for women. As we age, our hormonal symphonies will constantly change and evolve throughout all of the beautiful stages of life. Health practices that work to keep the body in balance are our secret weapon for graceful, healthy, happy aging.
Get your heat-less, less-mess Queen of the Thrones™ castor oil pack bundle today.Click here!
1Ji-Eun Oh,Yong-Woon Kim,So-Young Park, andJong-Yeon Kim Estrogen Rather Than Progesterone Cause Constipation in Both Female and Male Mice.Korean J Physiol Pharmacol. 2013 Oct; 17(5): 423–426. Published online 2013 Oct 17. doi:10.4196/kjpp.2013.17.5.423 PMID:24227943
2 Arslan GG, Eşer I. An examination of the effect of castor oil packs on constipation in the elderly. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2011 Feb;17(1):58-62. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2010.04.004. Epub 2010 May 18.PMID: 21168117
3 Sorin Tunaru,a Till F. Althoff,a Rolf M. Nüsing,b Martin Diener,c and Stefan Offermannsa,d,1 Castor oil induces laxation and uterus contraction via ricinoleic acid activating prostaglandin EP3 receptors. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Jun 5; 109(23): 9179–9184. Published online 2012 May 21. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1201627109 PMID: 22615395
4 Rolls ET et all. Representations of pleasant and painful touch in the human orbitofrontal and cingulate cortices. Cereb Cortex. 2003 Mar;13(3):308-17.PMID: 12571120
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10 Badaró MM, Salles MM, Leite VMF, Arruda CNF, Oliveira VC, Nascimento CD, Souza RF, Paranhos HFO, Silva-Lovato CH. Clinical trial for evaluation of Ricinus communis and sodium hypochlorite as denture cleanser.J Appl Oral Sci. 2017 May-Jun; 25(3):324-334.PMID: 28678952
11 Salles MM, Badaró MM, Arruda CN, Leite VM, Silva CH, Watanabe E, Oliveira Vde C, Paranhos Hde F. Antimicrobial activity of complete denture cleanser solutions based on sodium hypochlorite and Ricinus communis – a randomized clinical study.J Appl Oral Sci. 2015 Nov-Dec; 23(6):637-42.PMID: 26814466
12 Holm T, Brøgger-Jensen MR, Johnson L, Kessel L.Glutathione preservation during storage of rat lenses in optisol-GS and castor oil. PLoS One. 2013 Nov 19;8(11):e79620. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0079620. eCollection 2013.PMID: 24260265
13 Vieira C et al. .Effect of ricinoleic acid in acute and subchronic experimental models of inflammation. Mediators Inflamm. 2000;9(5):223-8PMID: 11200362
14 Boddu SH1, Alsaab H2, Umar S3, Bonam SP2, Gupta H2, Ahmed S3. Anti-inflammatory effects of a novel ricinoleic acid poloxamer gel system for transdermal delivery. Int J Pharm. 2015 Feb 1;479(1):207-11. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpharm.2014.12.051. Epub 2014 Dec 24.
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17 Rong-fang Hu, Xiao-ying Jiang, Yi-ming Zeng, Xiao-yang Chen, You-hua Zhang. Effects of earplugs and eye masks on nocturnal sleep, melatonin and cortisol in a simulated intensive care unit environment. Published online 2010 Apr 18. doi: 10.1186/cc8965
18 Ya Li,1 Sha Li,#2 Yue Zhou,1 Xiao Meng,1 Jiao-Jiao Zhang,1 Dong-Ping Xu,1 and Hua-Bin Li#1,3 Melatonin for the prevention and treatment of cancer Oncotarget. 2017 Jun 13; 8(24): 39896–39921. Published online 2017 Mar 18. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.16379 PMID: 28415828
19Hardeland R1.Aging, Melatonin, and the Pro- and Anti-Inflammatory Networks.Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Mar 11;20(5). pii: E1223. doi: 10.3390/ijms20051223. PMID: 30862067 PMCID: PMC6429360 DOI: 10.3390/ijms20051223