Liver Cleansing with Castor Oil Packs: My Experience

Liver Cleansing with Castor Oil Packs: My Experience

Last week I began using castor oil packs for liver congestion, and I really can’t believe how well they work.

Since we began the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol a couple of weeks ago, I’ve seen my energy bounce back, my skin start to clear up again, and I finally feel back on track with healing.

I had been in survival mode since July – the highly-stressful midterm weekend – and our eating habits were atrocious. Milk, wheat, and chocolates were all weekly indulgences again. It wasn’t pretty.

With the addition of castor oil packs over the last week, my symptoms are almost gone again.

Symptoms like —

  • skin rashes
  • under eye circles
  • under eye puffiness
  • water retention
  • pronounced fatigue
  • irritability
  • joint pain
  • lower back pain
  • sleep disruption
  • food cravings

Castor Oil Packs for Liver Congestion

I have read about castor oil packs for years here and there in obscure articles and publications but never thought much of it.

Because the bulk of my research and experience is outside of herbal medicine, I don’t use too many herbal remedies. Most people I work with are also sensitive to many plants so I tend to steer clear.

Over the years, I’ve learned to use instincts to guide me. I recently read about using castor oil packs for clearing toxins from the liver and had an Aha! moment. Hmm, maybe I should give it a try.

After naturally detoxing through a diet change and detox baths over the last few years and following a nutritional therapy protocol in recent months, I felt like I could safely try a castor oil treatment while supporting my detox pathways.

First Treatment

I made the castor oil pack and used a heating pad to keep it warm while I relaxed and watched TV for about an hour before bed. I didn’t feel anything during the treatment but a bit thirsty and ravenously hungry by the time I was done (I think the heat and rest helped me digest).

Feeling sleepy much earlier than usual, I went with it and went to bed early. That was the first night I didn’t spend an hour wide awake in the middle of the night.

Liver congestion = sleep disturbances between 2-3 am.

Often in the form of staring at the ceiling with crazy thoughts and endless to-do lists when you should be sleeping.

The next morning, the rashes were starting to fade and the darkened skin around my eyes had lightened.

I started to see the light.

Second Treatment

By evening, I was craving another castor oil treatment. I shut down the computer early and put my phone into airplane mode, so I could tune out. Not an easy thing to do when you’re a blogger.

I spent another hour on the sofa and had a repeat experience of day one. Hungry. Thirsty. Sleepy.

Subsequent Treatments

I have only taken 2 days off in the last week, and I am loving the gentle assistance my liver gets when I do a treatment. There has been no detox reactions, side effects, or negative purging.

My eyes are bright and clear. I have no under eye circles or puffiness. The joint pain disappeared quickly once I added them to my routine, and I have lost a lot of the water retention that the diet changes weren’t clearing up so quickly.

Find my how-to post HERE.

Have you ever used castor oil packs? I’d love to hear your experience and where you heard about them.


Jennifer Nervo is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Reiki Master Practitioner & teacher, and Aromatherapist. Her focus is on digestive, nervous, and immune system dysfunction and the fields of functional nutrition & psychoneuroimmunology. She works with all conditions and diseases including environmental and food allergies, autoimmune diseases, multiple chemical sensitivity, diabetes, eczema, anxiety, weight loss as a symptom of dis-ease, and gut-brain disorders like autism.

When she’s not herding her small troupe of monkeys or seeing clients, her free time is packed with researching and perfecting new wellness techniques (her not-so-secret passion). Jennifer is currently a group leader for the newest class of Nutritional Therapy Practitioners out of Ann Arbor, MI, studying for the national board exam in holistic nutrition, and running a combined distance and brick and mortar practice in metro Detroit. She’s also a homeschooling suburbanite, foodie, and mama to two littles and a schnoodle.

70 thoughts on “Liver Cleansing with Castor Oil Packs: My Experience”

  • Is it safe to do when breast feeding? When pregnant? I was doing coffee enemas for detoxing my liver for a couple weeks before finding out I was pregnant. I would love to find a way to support my liver while pregnant.

  • My naturopath started me on castor oil packs 5 years ago when I was gravely I’ll with Lyme disease. I recently started to do them again more frequently to help with my recently started methylation protocol. I use a gallon ziplock bag with a large oval “window” cut out of one side, and just insert a folded up (several thicknesses) piece of cotton flannel. (My first one was wool flannel, but it made me itch.). I use a good quality castor oil from the health food store, dribble it all over the flannel and place it over my liver. I wrap a wide ace bandage around my midsection to keep it in place, then get in bed with my warm rice pack. I take a large glass of filtered water with me and read for an hour, trying to stay awake! I rub in what’s left on my skin when I’m done, and go to sleep like a baby.
    I know I need one when I start waking up at 3 or 4 in the morning.
    A practitioner told me you can rub castor oil directly on areas that hurt, I often rub it over my kidneys, adrenals, and wake up to no more pain.
    Such an amazing, simple treatment. I’ve even grown to enjoy the fragrance of the oil.

  • Thank you so much for this. I look forward to trying this as I am awake at hose times most nights. I didn’t realize that it could be my liver. I thought it was my hormones. This is really helpful.

    • It can easily be a combination of hormones and liver. The liver breaks down hormones for waste and recycling, so, if you have hormonal imbalances and liver congestion, the combination will definitely cause some disruption. Hormonal acne is a classic sign of that.

  • Started using castor oil packs 8 yrs ago as recommended by acupuncturist. I have disruptive gut issues every night from 1-3. Have been neglectful to do regularly since moving. Going back to it! Love them!! Thanks for your post.

  • Thank you, and looking forward to the next post on “how to”! Can you also include nutritional advice on how to best cleanse the liver along with the packs?

  • Thank you so much for your post. I have been reading about the benefits of Castor oil packs but YOU have really inspored me to do it. I will start tonight.

    Claudia, I have Lyme’s disease but never thought that this will help ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you so much for sharing your story ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I’m so glad Rosanna! I hope it’s helping to provide a gentle enough detox and doesn’t cause your Lyme symptoms to flare. Patty at has a lot of info on chronic Lyme if you haven’t been over there yet.

      • Dear Jennifer…you are amazing!! Thank you for sharing Patty’s Website. I have not been over there yet. I will surely check it out today.
        Just finished 3 days of the castor oil packs! I absolutely love it!!! My skin looks wonderful. How often should we do this? I’m looking forward to my next treatment. Taking 4 days off.


  • Oh, Jennifer, you are making me so nervous! I am starting my NTP program in February and wondering if I will be able to handle it with my 50 year old brain. I am really excited, though, and if you have any helpful advice, I am willing to take it! Thank you for your wonderful site!

    • It’s a wonderful, wonderful program Bethany! My best advice is to not worry too much. They are wonderfully supportive and work very hard to make sure that each and every one of their students is supported through the program. It’s definitely a lot of work – being an accelerated class – but it’s worth every minute. It’s just much easier when you don’t have a small person at home with you, and 2 businesses that keep you hopping from sun up to sun down. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • I don’t recommend it, but I do have great results smoothing a thin layer of oil over my 5-year-old daughter’s liver before bed and rubbing it in until the oil is absorbed. If it takes longer than 20 seconds of light rubbing, then wipe off the excess. I do it after she’s lotioned for the night, and made sure that she had no topical sensitivity to it.

      • Hi Jennifer, what benefits do you see in your daughter when you put the thin layer of oil over her liver before bed? Can it help with constipation?

  • Although my liver checks out fine whenever tested, I require a low but steady dose of medication for chronic pain, and that’s bad for the liver, so I try to live as cleanly as possible (I juice, I don’t drink or smoke, etc). Is there a particular brand of castor oil for detoxing? I have some Jamaican black castor oil at home, will this do?

    • I don’t have a particular brand to recommend, I would just try to make sure the workers are treated humanely. The plants are poisonous to work with and require care picking the beans.

      The black castor oil is reported to be more effective because of the increased ash content, so I would feel comfortable using it.

  • Hello Jennifer, please i need help. I have my 12 years old son. He has dark marks under his eyes and I know his liver is not functioning properly. Is there any daily juice, any recommendation what to do besides trying to stop all fatty products? He go to school and buy pizza and sugar stuff i and notice because his friends tell me. Please help me.

    • I would suggest starting with my healing digestion series. You can find it HERE. Fat is very important to our diets, so it would be better to give him digestive support to thin the bile and digest those fats rather than restrict them. That’s part of the reason he reaches out for junk food.

      If you need a multi-directional approach with behavior modification, diet, and supplements to help with liver function and cleansing, I would have to work with him privately as a client.

  • Thanks so much for this info! I want to try this for insomnia & dark circles. I searched for your follow-up post but couldn’t find it. Is it published yet? Thanks again.

  • Great post!! Thank you! Wondering if you know if castor oil packs are safe for toddlers (age 2)? Our little guy is on GAPS Stage 2 and has been for an extended time. Think his liver is pretty congested since he is having trouble progressing with ferments. Looking for a safe way to get things moving along and toxins out (besides detox baths, mag oil – already doing those). I’d like to look into homeopathy soon too for some detox support. Thanks Jennifer!!

    • I would not recommend any methods of forced detox for infants or young children. Small amounts of freshly-pressed organic vegetable juices, a clean diet, detox baths, and daily massage should be more than enough to help with liver congestion. A child that young is more likely dealing with a slight liver dysfunction issue over major congestion. Beet kvass and beets are great for thinning bile and increasing the output of the gall bladder. That’s an issue that often needs to be addressed with any toxin build up or liver issues.

  • When I use my castor oil pack I have weird dreams that night. Why is that? I haven’t used it much but try a couple times a week.

  • Castor oil is commonly extracted using hexane (extremely toxic), so in my opinion it is essential to use cold-pressed castor oil (cold-pressed organic castor oil would be even better). But I’ve used the cold-pressed non-organic for years…as castor oil packs (over the liver and every/anywhere there’s pain, congestion or inflammation).

    Here is likely the best book ever written on castor oil (by an MD, with clinical work at Edgar Cayce’s clinic)

    And an ah-mazing article overviewing the myriad of benefits of castor oil:

  • My husband has liver problems and has really bad liver pain. What can we do to help him ease his pain? He’s been diagnosed with hep c and we need to find something organic and natural then the pain prescriptions that they have tried to prescribe him.

    • It would greatly depend on the source of the pain, the medications he is already on, and his health status. I’m sorry but I can’t make recommendations for pain relievers as a nutritionist. With compromised liver function, adding gentle measures that relieve the burden on his liver like detox baths, juicing with fresh vegetables, and eating a whole foods diet free of processed foods will be a very important start.

      Seeing a holistic practitioner skilled with his condition would also be helpful. You can check out The Gerson Protocol also, and see if there is an application for Hep C.

  • Castor oil is great for hair I recommend anyone to try it. You have nothing to lose, its safe and effective. It also works wonders for feet. Generously rub feet with castor oil before bedtime and put socks on before you sleep. I’m going to try the oil pack using Jamaican black castor oil. Thank you for the article. If anyone is looking for Jamaican black castor oil, you can find it here

  • Hi Jennifer! Thank you so much for the info. I am using Liver Rescue…is it ok to use the castor oil pack along with that?

    • The herbs in Liver Rescue increase detoxification, so I would be careful when adding additional layers unless you are sure that your body can handle the additional ‘push’. If you do try it, speak to your holistic practitioner about your unique needs and symptoms, take it slow, be sure to rest, drink enough water, consider alternating liver cleansing methods instead of doing multiple on the same day, and add an extra detox bath or two in the following 24 hours to help alleviate some of the burden on your liver.

  • In the past I had rubbed castor oil over my lower stomache before bed to address constipation. It worked well to get things moving. I was considering castor oil packs on my liver after reading about it, but was concerned about moving toxins from my liver to somewhere else. So . . . I drank a glass of water with a heaping tsp. of activated charcoal in it before bed and then did the castor oil liver pack. I usually have peristent insomnia in the 2 – 4 a.m. range. I slept much better with the castor oil packs. When I briefly awoke at 2:30 I took a bit of honey (keep a honey bear dispenser in my bedroom), and was able to get back to sleep. Slept 4 more hours which is amazing for me. Feeling fantastic, no anxiety at all – enhanced wellbeing today. Don’t know whether to do this nightly or take a break – but what an amazing tool.

    • That was a smart addition, Vicki! I use activated charcoal with all of my family when we have a build up of toxins that aren’t easily released. Having enough insoluble fiber in your diet will also help by allowing the bile and toxins released through the gall bladder (from the liver) to adhere to the fiber and be removed from the intestinal tract.

      If you are dealing with leaky gut, charcoal and detox baths are a great addition to make sure that everything is being removed.

      If you continue to feel better and see improvement, you can do them regularly. I would stick with every other day with a few days off once a month or so. You can alternate them with detox baths and lymph massage to help assist the body in removing waste.

      Thanks for sharing your experience. I love to hear how well it worked for you. You wake up in the classic ‘liver renewal’ time and, if honey helps you sleep, then your liver does not produce glycogen properly to help your body fuel itself through the night. Work on digestive healing and be sure to eat enough calories, protein, and fat during the day.

      I hope that helps!

  • Thank you for the info. I have had elevated liver enzymes almost 20 years. They go up and down. I am also allergic to gluten. The last test, ALT, AST 3 times normal. I had an ultra sound and also have fatty liver. I was eating low carb and organic salad for lunch. Do we know anyone who helped liver with these packs? Also what is the harm if the toxins are released in the body? Do you take charcoal as you to the castor oil packs?

    • Iโ€™m sorry for the delay in my reply! I was on maternity leave. All of the clients in my practice do castor oil packs once they are on a protocol, and they have been beneficial in helping the liver to return to proper function. It sounds like you have some additional health concerns happening and possibly need to further tweak your diet and lifestyle to lighten the burden on the liver and allow the body to heal.

      The toxins getting released into the body can make you feel sick and are recirculated into the blood where they affect other glands and organs. The substances and amount released will determine the effects.

      Charcoal begins to work in the GI tract as soon as the capsule dissolves in the stomach. You can either take it before, during, or just after doing the pack.

  • Hi Jennifer, what benefits do you see in your daughter when you put the thin layer of oil over her liver before bed? Can it help with constipation?

    • The most obvious signs are that she has a more restful sleep and her under eye circles are lessened by morning (sign of liver dysfunction/congestion). Castor oil pack over the abdomen are often used for constipation. I would recommend it with abdominal massage specifically designed for constipation followed by a warm bath that covers the entire abdomen.

  • so its not safe to do castor for liver if not taking charcoal beforehand?

    so we have to do something first to help eleminate the toxins after castor pack?

    • Charcoal beforehand is not required. It’s an additional step to ensure that detoxification is supported for those who have compromised detoxification pathways. If waste products are immobilized in the body and are not able to be filtered and eliminated, then they can make us feel sick and do not help the body to optimally function. Charcoal and detox baths are both wonderful steps to help support the body’s detoxification process once a castor oil pack has been performed.

    • The benefits of Jamaican black castor oil and clear castor oil should be the same since only the processing is different, but I’m not sure I would want the black ash covering my torso. It may be a difficult clean up. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I have been doing Castor oil packs for about 3 years…it is now part of my weekly routine.
    I do 5 days on 2 off. I heard about the packs thru the Edgar Cayce reading decades ago but never tried them until I had a run in with Lupus, Read all the reading where Edgar prescribed them for every health issue you can think of… they have saved my life no joke!!
    Whatever health challenge you are encountering I would suggest a CO Pack!

  • Read Edgar Cayce for more info on this! I used it for mononucleosis, which attacked my liver and created hepatitis. Also used b vitamins, thysilyn, terrinaturally glutathione ( melt in your mouth), vitamin c. They all helped, but castor oil packs were critical to feeling better and detox. Placed it right over my liver. Used heritage house hexane free brand.

  • I did castor oil packs the last 2 days and felt a lot of nausea, exhaustion, and dizziness.. Is that only from the detoxing? I have Hashimotoโ€™s and am trying this to help with my inflammation and liver function

    • That’s my experience. When we work to thin the bile, it can be a very noticeable reaction like that too. The liver is not technically supposed to hold onto toxins, but empirical evidence suggests otherwise. It releases those toxins into bile, so that they can be released into the digestive system and excreted. The small intestine senses the concentrated toxins released within the bile and sends out warning signals when it detects something harmful to the body. When that happens, I reach for 1-2 capsules of activated charcoal, increase my water intake, and take a detox bath or two. I also make sure that clients are working on a gut healing protocol to be sure that the gut barrier isn’t permeable (leaky gut). The toxins moved through the GI tract will resorb in through the intestines if the gut lining is compromised. In those instances, binders like activated charcoal, fiber, and food-grade clays can be helpful when constipation isn’t an issue.

      Best of luck, Liz! Chronic inflammation can be a very manageable condition during deeper healing.

  • I absolutely use them every night on my lower abdomen, bladder, and vagina. I add Frankensence EO and a heating pad to the mix and am good to go. Can sleep for hours like that. I crave them. I can’t explain it. I look forward to making up my pack and just lying there in bliss. I have noticed that I am super hungry while doing it but so relaxed that I don’t dare get up!
    It is the most lovely natural treatment I have experienced. I am a beginner. I’ve heard that castor oil can fight infection as well.
    I would love to do the liver detox, because I really need it, but activated charcoal constipates me. I’ve heard that magnesium chelate can also bind toxins. Wondering if that’s true.

    • Per Edgar Cayce remedies: cold pressed, cold processed castor oil. Someone asked is Jamaican Black okay – well, is it cold-pressed and cold-processed castor oil? If not, then don’t bother. As for pregnant women – one story goes that the soon to be mother was experiencing light bleeding. She used the castor oil packs. When baby was born, it was found to have a “healed” cleft palate, healed in the womb by the mother’s use of castor oil packs.

      These blogs are okay for general information, but to really understand what is happening and what to expect – MIRACLES!!!!! Castor oil is known as PALMA CHRISTI – the hand of Christ. For this reason use it judiciously and be grateful.

      You can visit the A R E website any time, ask your questions and research the files for your answers. You will not be disappointed.

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