Friday, February 22, 2013

The Wonders of Castor Oil: The Oil That Soothes the Pain

The Wonders of Castor Oil: the oil that soothes the pain
By Dionetta Hudzinski, RN, MN
Nurse Consultant: Pain and Palliative Care
Health and Wellness Coach

First of all most of you are thinking yew…doesn’t it smell awful?  Well, you are probably confusing it with Cod Liver Oil which has a fishy smell/odor. Castor Oil has a pretty neutral odor.  It is a thick, clear, light amber colored oil made from the Castor Bean. Castor Beans are poisonous if ingested. But surprisingly expeller pressed/ cold pressed Castor oil is NOT poisonous.  Castor oil has been used for centuries as a home remedy for constipation and other illnesses. It also has properties that are VERY useful for the relief of pain.  It is analgesic; which means it has pain relieving qualities.  It is anti-inflammatory: which means it decreases inflammation. Lastly it is anti-pruritic; which means it decreases itching from a variety of causes.  It is also a detoxifier.

My advice to my clients is “don’t drink it, apply it!”  Castor oil can be applied like any other over the counter (OTC) analgesic (pain relieving) cream.  It can be used as massage oil.  It can also be used as a pack.  I use it in all three ways.  Castor oil packs make it not so messy to use.  Once made and stored in sealable baggies in the freezer they are ready for use at any time; and they last for months so they are economical as well. Castor oil is relatively inexpensive.  You can purchase an 8 oz bottle for under $8 and a 16 oz bottle for under $15.  It takes approximately 3-4 oz of castor oil to make one pack the size of a wash cloth or small hand towel.

My first experience with Castor oil and pain was back in 1999 when I was attending the Academy of the Healing Arts here in Yakima WA.  We were taught about the properties of castor oil, its history and use as a pain relieving measure.  We were given the instructions on how to make the Castor oil packs, instructed on how to use these packs and we were given an assessment sheet that we needed to document before and after findings.  So I dutifully went home and made my 2 castor oil packs. Placed them in sealable baggies and placed them in the Freezer and there is where they stayed for 2 months.  One night I came home from work, my hands were aching and my wrists were sore.  By bedtime they were throbbing from finger tips to my shoulders.  I tried gentle range of motion exercises, took some ibuprofen, even took a half of a vicodin I had left over from some dental work months before. The pain just continued and I did not know how I was going to sleep. Then it came to me “the castor oil packs and my homework assignment” So I dug out the castor oil packs. Wrapped one around each wrist, covered each with another hand towel to protect my bedding and PJ’s from the oil.  And there I was in bed thinking this was pretty silly to be doing, but homework was homework so here I was, waiting to see what would happen if anything.  Then the improbable happened, 20 minutes after applying the castor oil wrap I realized that my arms were not throbbing and the pain had receded to almost zero.  AMAZING I thought as I rolled over and went to sleep without another thought.  In the morning, I awoke and found that the pain was gone.  I took the wraps off and returned them to their baggies and replaced them in the freezer.  Since then I have been using them for a variety of different pains and teaching others about the wonders of castor oil.I want to share one other story that proved to me that this was in fact a wonderful remedy that was a hidden treasure.  I went out to see a new client.  She was Hispanic and monolingual Spanish.  I had with me my sidekick apprentice Nurse who also was my interpreter.  After 15 minutes of trying to get an evaluation and assessment done, I suddenly stopped and asked the interpreter to ask the client why she was so restless and why she kept getting up and pacing. At that point the client picked up her gown and showed us the giant plaques of her psoriatic lesions.  They were thick, beefy red and bleeding in some areas.  They covered her thighs, abdomen, lower back, neck, and into her hair and also on her arms. She said they itched so bad they hurt.  She had not had a good night sleep in months and neither had her poor family.  She was beside herself.  She could not sit or lay down for long and she spent most of the day and night just pacing and scratching.  She had a shoe box full of empty orpartially used tubes of prescribed medications.  She said nothing worked and if it did there was not enough in one tube to treat all the lesions and besides the cost was prohibitive. So she stayed home and suffered in silence.

I told her I had something to help her if she was willing to try it.  She said she would try anything. So I went out to the car and returned with a 16 oz bottle of castor oil.  I told her how to use it.  Just apply it like a lotion to any area that itched or was painful.  We arranged for another appointment one week later.  When we arrived at her next appointment she met us at the door grinning from ear to ear and asked if we had any more of “that oil” as she held up her almost empty bottle of castor oil.  She said that after applying the oil the itching subsided in about 15 minutes and she would apply it again when it started to bother her again.  This was the first time she had any significant relief, and she slept a full night for the first time and her family was very appreciative as well because now they too could sleep through the night without waking up to her pacing and moaning. Three months later her psoriatic lesions had completely healed leaving only pink new skin and she was a new woman.

I have used the castor oil packs for headaches, toothaches, neck pain, knee pain, hand and wrist pain.  I have applied it to bug bites with great success.  And I have used it as a massage oil on others and myself.
Instructions for Castor Oil Packs

Supplies needed:
•Castor oil (expeller pressed or cold pressed) (4oz bottle)
•Old wash cloth/ small hand towel or flannel ( needs to be soft and absorbent)
•Sealable plastic baggie

Preparation of Packs:
1.Pour castor oil over the cloth and rub it in until evenly distributed and worked into the cloth. Cloth should be saturated but not dripping.
2.Fold cloth and place in plastic bag and close seal
3.Place in the freezer until ready to use (packs will keep for months in the freezer but will turn rancid if left at room temperature)
4.Replenish Castor oil to cloth after 1 week of continuous use.

1.Remove from freezer
2.Remove from baggie (cloth will be stiff but pliable)
3.Wrap castor oil cloth around any painful area
4.Cover the oiled cloth with another hand towel or a plastic wrap to prevent oil getting on clothes or furniture.
5.Leave on the area at least 1 hour and repeat in 3 hours if pain is still present
6.When done refold the cloth and replace in baggie and return to Freezer for the next time you need it.
7.CAUTION:  DO NOT HEAT THE CASTOR OIL PACK IN THE MICROWAVE It might cause a fire.NOR PLACE A HEATING PAD OVER THE PACK.  It may cause a serious burn to the skin.
8.Instead you can heat a rice bag or a damp towel in the microwave for NO MORE THAN 2 minutes. And place this over the castor oil wrap.

Suggested use:
Apply for 1 hour every 3 hours or until pain subsides
Repeat every day for 3 days then stop for 3 days and then repeat the cycle again.

Alternate Application: Use as a massage oil.  Use about a dime sized amount at a time as the oil is very thick.  Massage into any painful or achy area on the body.  Massage in well until it is absorbed into skin so that you can put on your clothes without fear of getting oily residue on your clothes.  You can repeat this as often as needed.  Recommend 3 times per day

Castor oil has analgesic properties as well as anti-inflammatory properties.
It is also useful in pruritus (itching) from a variety of causes including renal failure, dialysis and liver failure and psoriasis.  Also good for insect bites.

Works best on localized pain such as bursitis, arthritis, carpal tunnel, areas of local inflammation.

If you so decide to use the castor oil packs, email me ( )and share your results.  I look forward to hearing about your successes using castor oil.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Irish Artist Guest Blogs

I am a 29 old Irish lady that suffers from Fibromalgia,arthritis and skin problems.In 2003 I went London and trained a a nurse and a dental nurse....But it all changed about 3 years ago.My life seem to fall apart.I started having paian everywhere couldnt sleep then would sleep for days on end.I was going my GP and was been fogged off until one day when I went see my gp there was a new one and she was brillant and I thanks my lucky stars I meet her she told me she thought I had this thing called fibromyalgia and sent to a remotologist who diagnosed I had name to how I was feeling I was overjoyed BUT that was short lived.We moved home to Ireland and the GP there was horrible unsuppotive and said I should just get on with it.......I never ever will forget how she with held my tablets and treated me like I was just LAZY........So after near amonth in bed I went to an out hours gp and she got me a name of another went see him told me the same as last rhemo you have he wrote me up for load tablets.He is lovely Ia m still with him..Iended up changing GP and got the support I really needed.So now I learned to Laugh and I paint at night so here are some things I have wrote hope u enjoy !!

This is something that has been on my mind the last few days its like a flu where i live at the moment depression which is leading to suicide.I really feel depression can be very closely linked to what we all suffer from.Lets be honest our lifes change so much from the clothes wear, to the friend and family who will stick by us.I really feel this page helps us speak as honest as we can about our feelings.Things can get on top us ,no sleep,medication not working always be in pain,I know all about it last June I went on a all time low not monitoring my medication I was taking to pulling myself back from people.It all got too much and I never asked for help and lets say it went too far.It was when my partner stood infront me crying asking me why I didnt ask for help it was then I knew I had t...o help myself.And brick by brick I have rebuild some bit of a normal life.I tell people honestly how I feel,I try not tospend all day in bed even if its just getting up to talk to someone. I m very lucky I have a partner who does his best to help and suppot me BUT there are people who dont understand Ia m pretty sure there is some people on this page feel let down by friends family etc...This is were this page helps......I cant say it enough TALK,TALK,TALK.....there is always someone here that will listen and try and help and I like to think theres a lot laughing done here ........xx Take care and Talk

Right I m back :P I am here in the cottage waiting for the three little piggies to land it beside me....Weather deadlya nd very cold, by the way I have learned to irish dance ........ ....yes I can do an oul jig...I didnt even know was hugh that was telling me at night my legs have taking a mind of there own they do be dancing around the bed the poor dogs are been kicked off the bed....have to laugh hugh said me all he could feel was my legs rubbing him up and down...I say he was thinking he was getting he cuddled up beside me and next thing......he gets my knee in to the groin ....................and on that note restless legs are a passion killer !!

Love Mags x

Sunday, February 3, 2013

England Guest Blogger

Name: Jodie
Age: 21. Nearly 22.
Where I live: England
Conditions: Fibromyalgia, Partially Prolapsed Disc, Depression, Anxiety, Stress, IBS (Bowel and Bladder), Migraine, Sinusitis, Suspected Gastroparesis, Insomnia...need I continue? xD

How they effect my daily life: Constant Pain. Suicidal Ideation. Panic Attacks. Anger. Can't eat properly, sleep properly, relax properly. Makes me prone to aggression. Makes me vomit for hours on end.

My medical care: Intermittent at best. Diabolical at worst.

Do they treat me fairly? Questionable. Up until the last couple of years, I was pretty much written off as a hypochondriac with mental health issues. Had to be suicidal before they put me onto anything stronger than OTC painkillers. I literally asked my own mother, at three in the morning, to crush all my pills into a glass of water and let me drink the lot. That's the point I got to and it STILL took months before any actual progress in my diagnosis was made despite me being with the local Chronic Pain Team since 2008/9. Even with my diagnosis, after a few months I was deemed to be able to cope on my own for the most part without any outside support and I was informed I had made one of the quickest 'acceptances' of my situation they'd ever seen. I'd been suffering for eight long years with no straight answers. Just theories and excuses-the relief to hear the words 'You have Fibromyalgia' was unimaginable.

Any unconventional treatments you use? Wouldn't call them 'treatments' in the traditional sense but Alcohol and Smoking are two of the main 'consistencies' in my 'personal' treatment plan. Judge me all I want but it's the sense of control I get from them. I can decide to have a drink or have a cigarette whereas I don't get to decide on the mind altering agony and distress my conditions cause. I also taught myself to walk again by going out with my friend and her two year old son. At first, I'd have both of my crutches but would pop them on the pushchair and use that to support myself, then I dropped it to one whilst still using the pushchair to support myself, then I'd leave them in the car and only use the pushchair. Then one day, my friend's little boy wanted me to hold his hand as he toddled around the town. Seriously, you can't say no to this little guy's face so I left the pushchair and went to take my stick...he pushed it away and just told me to hold his hand. He'd stop and watch me walking and stopped when it seemed like I needed a break but he'd encourage me to 'toddle' with him, squealing encouragement and babbling away happily.
If it wasn't for him, I'd probably still be struggling to walk without aids. Sure, sometimes I need my crutches or my wheelchair but it's less frequent. To be honest, he was more use to me than the months of physical therapy I'd been through. He had no reason to criticise or make me feel inadequate-I'm just his Aunty JoJo with the funny legs that needs some help sometimes.

What hobbies or activities are you still able to do? Reading, Writing, Studying and Researching. That said, I'm no where near as competent as I once was. I find it difficult to concentrate, fall asleep easily and find it hard to find the drive to do any of them anymore...which is most definitely an issue at college.

Any advice to our readers? Try Cymbalta. It has been a miracle drug for me. Obviously, I know drug treatments are a minefield for Fibromyalgia patients as what works for one won't work for another but what have you got to lose? And Domperidone. I'd still be living off Pickled Onion Monster Munch, Peperamis, Strawberries, Mini Iced Ring Doughnuts and Pepsi without it.

Anything you'd like to add? Try and accept that life isn't going to go back to the way it was but do not for a MOMENT let anyone make you think you're not allowed to grieve for what was and what could have been. You are effectively suffering a bereavement. The loss of your former life for your present life. It's going to be hell, and there are going to be some days when your brain is telling you that enough is enough, but if there is anything-anything at all that can make you think 'You know what? Let's see how tomorrow is' even if it's just a bacon sandwich the next morning or a chat with a friend, try and hold on to it.
If it's still bad in the morning...I understand.