You know the saying, “there’s plenty of time to sleep when I’m dead”? I used to use this as an excuse to justify my erratic sleeping habits. When I was in naturopathic college I would stay up all hours of the night studying, or working late hours as a waitress to pay the bills. Coffee was literally my lifeline – if I couldn’t have it, I couldn’t make it through the day. Period. Does this sound familiar?
I would be foggy and groggy in the mornings, trudging around like a zombie until I had my cup of Joe. Then in the evenings, it seemed as soon as the sun went down I had a miraculous bout of energy that wouldn’t allow me to fall asleep. So I’d toss and turn, becoming tangled up in my sheets worse than an old telephone cord! I came to dread those long, desperate hours, feeling so exhausted but unable to drift off into Dreamland.
That’s when I learned about the simplest of sleep practices that totally changed the game for me. Gracias a Dios!
Eye Masks for Better Sleep
I learned that wearing an eye mask to bed helps us get a deeper, more restful sleep. The eye mask blocks out all light and promotes melatonin production1 in the body; our sleep regulating hormone!
The soft compression of the eye mask over the face also supports hormones that makes us feel all warm and fuzzy and relaxed, like oxytocin2 and dopamine3.
I was absolutely blown away by how much this simple practice helped me sleep.
Castor Oil for Beauty Sleep
Around this time was when I began falling in love with castor oil and castor oil packs. Through research, I quickly learned that castor oil was a beauty staple in Egyptian and Greek cultures, and that Cleopatra herself used it to enhance her eyes. I found that castor oil was commonly used as a treatment to help eyelashes and eyebrows grow, and found it in the ingredient list of dozens of lash growth serums.
This makes total sense! Castor oil improves circulation to where it is applied via nitric oxide stimulation4, so when applied to the lashes and brows it ensures that the hair follicle is getting a good blood supply. Castor oil is also anti-inflammatory5 and provides nourishment for the skin and hair follicle like vitamin E, polyphenols and omegas6. It’s antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal and antioxidant.
These properties also make it the perfect anti-wrinkle eye cream. The oil is exceptionally emollient and nourishing for the delicate skin around the eyes and can help with dark circles, puffiness, redness and fine lines.
Watch this video below of my friend Kitty Martone and I talking about our Nightly Castor Oil Routine, including how to do a castor oil face wash.
Is Castor Oil Safe Near the Eyes?
There is a wealth of research supporting the use of castor oil in the eye as a treatment for dry eyes789 and prevention of cataracts10. In a study done on rat lenses, castor oil was shown to preserve levels of glutathione exceptionally well11 (glutathione is one of our most powerful antioxidants!).
So castor oil is 100% safe and even beneficial to use in/around the eyes. This made me adore it even more because we have to be so careful with the products we use around our eyes – always read ingredients carefully!
Pair It With Your Castor Oil Pack
The most important part of my nightly castor oil sleep routine is putting on my castor oil pack. It immediately relaxes the nervous system1213, getting it ready for a deep night’s sleep.
Quality of Castor Oil
I just want to quickly note that not all castor oil is created equally. You want to use the best quality, especially when using it near the eyes. Castor oil should be certified organic, cold-pressed, 100% pure, hexane-free, extra virgin and ALWAYS packaged in a glass bottle. If you have castor oil in a plastic bottle, throw it away! Castor oil can absorb toxins and there are many compounds in plastic such as nonylphenol14 and benzophenones15 that can mess with our hormones, immune and nervous systems.
Sweet Dreams, Sleeping Beauty!
So this became my bedtime routine. I dab a little bit of castor oil in the palm of my hand and apply it to my lashes and brows with an applicator brush. Then I dab the excess oil around my eyes, put on my organic cotton eye mask and crawl into bed, easily drifting and dancing off into Dreamland.
I’ve never slept better in my life, and I’m always being complimented on my bright, beautiful eyes!
Get your Castor Oil Pack and Beauty Sleep Eye Kit together in a bundle that I like to call The Original Cleanse with special bonuses. Click the links below!
13 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.
14 Kim H1, Oh S1, Gye MC1, Shin I1,2. Comparative toxicological evaluation of nonylphenol and nonylphenol polyethoxylates using human keratinocytes. Drug Chem Toxicol. 2018 Oct;41(4):486-491. doi: 10.1080/01480545.2017.1391829. Epub 2017 Nov 10
15 Amar SK1, Goyal S2, Srivastav AK3, Chopra D3, Ray RS2. Combined effect of Benzophenone-2 and ultraviolet radiation promote photogenotoxicity and photocytotoxicity in human keratinocytes.Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2018 Jun;95:298-306. doi: 10.1016/j.yrtph.2018.04.003. Epub 2018 Apr 4.
Planes, trains, and automobiles. Why is it that when we travel, our guts go GAGA on us?! Not Lady Gaga, just out of the ordinary, unpredictable. Well, I guess when I put it that way, kind of like Lady Gaga! Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, it’s the same dilemma. This blog is for you if you’ve experienced the following:
You sit on the toilet, hoping to clear out before you enjoy and explore your final destination. But to your dismay, your warming, delicious morning coffee that you hoped would unplug you failed to work. It normally does the job, so what gives?
Getting ready to enjoy an island paradise, business meeting or event, you slip into your bikini or business suit with a belly that feels like your 4 months pregnant, ok well maybe 5… You think to yourself, “Why do I always get so constipated when I travel?”
You know about the lack of abundance of vegetables at the airport, in the airplane and the restaurants. Food is partly to blame. Maybe you’re not drinking enough water too, or you stayed up late and didn’t get a good night’s sleep. You can’t pinpoint the cause, all you know is you’re having problems and you’re not going.
When we’re displaced out of our natural environment and routine, our body temples can go haywire. Our systems need rhythms and routines, and these are dictated by cues in our environment. New environment equals new cues. These new cues are unnatural to you and can derange your day night cycle, known as circadian rhythm. One of the many results of this is constipation.
However, adopting the health practices below will help to balance your sleep, wake (and I’m adding) your POOP cycle. Did you really expect me not to add poop? You will “flow” through your work trip or holidays with a flat belly and be pooping like a champ! So you can have fun and enjoy your trip, feeling great and not feeling like sh*t!
Here you will learn my best tips on how to keep your healthy flow while traveling. You’ll learn how to improve jet lag and keep your rhythms in balance so you’re not suffering before, during or on the return home from your trip.
Changes in Your Environment that Cue your Body Balance
Whenever you go from one place to another, you are exposed to everything new and different. Exposures include new bacteria in the food and air, new foods, new sounds, new smells, new social interactions, the list goes on and on. Your sleep, wake, and poop cycle (it has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?)is cued by what you have in your environment. When it all changes it becomes a literal sh*t show and the functions of your body are thrown out of whack, not only your Number 2s.
Symptoms of Jet Lag – Ways Your Body Gets Thrown Off
My body gets thrown off a lot. I’m human and because I do a lot of travel for both business and pleasure, I know all too well the experience of jet lag. It actually comes in 2 phases for all travelers1. The initial symptoms are really more of a sensation of feeling disorientated with time, foggy brain, memory lapses, task performance isn’t the greatest and you have a strong feeling of fatigue, or what I call heaviness. It is often quite out of proportion to the amount of time traveled. The basic overall sensation is that you feel, well, “off”.
Later is when you start to feel the physical effects of jet lag and travel. Constipation and bowel changes are super common, digestion in general is off, your appetite may increase or decrease, restless nights predominant and insomnia is a theme. Some people may even experience more severe symptoms like headaches, migraines and vision changes. In this late phase you feel really, really “off”.
So What is to Blame for Changing our Rhythm?
The Cues in your Time Zone
External cues that influence what our bodies do are called Zeitgebers. I love this word, a good ‘ole German word. I love, love, love travelling to Germany! It basically describes the cues in our environments and bodies that dictate our functioning.
Zeitgebers include light, food, exercise and anything that stimulates our senses and nervous system. Common foodstuff that we take lightly are actually very strong Zeitgebers. Coffee, tea, chocolate and pop (I know, I sound like I’m from the Midwest!) are all stimulants that strongly dictate what our bodies do. Knowing this, we can use these to our advantage to reset ourselves. Stay tuned for more on this later.
Look, it’s not a surprise to you. Every day you manipulate your time zone by waking up and having a cup of coffee, sitting in your bed, staring at your iPhone, eating and exercising at certain times, social interactions and more. All of these choices are impacting whether or not your body is functioning optimally.
We highly manipulate our natural rhythms in today’s society with our 24/7 lifestyle. All of our technology, handheld, and computer devices that we’re addicted to, shift work, and of course trans-meridian travel really challenge our bodies to keep their balance and circadian rhythms.
It’s said that these cues entrain our bodies into the natural rhythms to maintain balance. Ideally, these natural rhythms are driven by mother nature’s cues. I speak in depth about this in my upcoming book, Oh, Sh*t! which will be released later this year.
These cues are necessary for us to live well and for our digestive and regulatory systems to function. Hormones, immunity and the nervous system are so dependant on these cues to know what to do! Without them, we would be lost in time, literally.
The Best Ways to Deal with Jet Lag and the Constipation That Results
It is actually suggested that the best way to deal with time zone travel is to modify environmental cues before, during and after a flight. This includes light, food, coffee, tea, chocolate, physical and mental activity, alcohol, and social interactions. These all affect bodily rhythms significantly, which in turn affects our quality of life and the altering symptoms we get when we travel. Here’s what to do to make it better.
When you travel, you could likely be changing timezones. I remember one month, I had traveled every weekend from Thursday to Monday, from the east coast to the west coast. What a ride. From Toronto, to Arizona, to San Diego, to Seattle, to Spokane. My husband remarked, “You should just stay there!” In hindsight that probably would have been best.
The result was I was feeling pretty messed up, even with practising all the right things. The reality is that changing time zones is a transient disruption of your natural sleep wake cycle which can take time to reset2. For me, this really hit me in my weak spot, my gut. Talk about an irritable bowel flare-up.
So it was up to me to get time zone savvy, and beat the stress that comes along with travel. Also, learning how to create an environment that is safe for me when I travel, to get me back into my healthy routine as quickly as possible. It’s not only the transient effect of jet lag, but if you’re traveling a lot like me, it can quickly age you. I definitely don’t want that, I know you don’t either. So here are my best tips and practices.
1. Get Time Zone Savvy – Connect to your Time Zone
Go barefoot if possible when you get to your location, or do like I do and wear your cowboy boots. Since cowboy boots are made with full leather (make sure yours aren’t plastic) they are grounding. They connect you to the earth. The barefoot will connect you to the polarity of the area, this is according to Chinese Medicine principles. I remember my teacher in school sharing this with us. I don’t know the true effectiveness of it, but do I care? No, because I figure anything that I can do to stack things in my favor is worth it! Plus, I love my cowboy boots!
2. Sleep Soundly
Sleep is our sanctuary of healing. We must do whatever possible for us to have an incredible, restful sleep, especially when traveling. Nothing but sleep and sex in your bed. Keep the room dark and cool, stick to your nightly routine.
Wear an Eye Mask
Before, during and after your travels, wear an eye mask to bed. Get into the habit of wearing it every night, it’s very good for you! An eye mask isn’t only for beauty but serves two purposes. It can become an excellent environmental cue to tell your body it’s time for bed. Plus, simply wearing an eye mask naturally increases your melatonin.
Melatonin has been shown to be excellent at improving jet lag and resetting sleep-wake rhythms34. If the eye mask is a very soft plush material it will also help with promoting the connection and love molecule, oxytocin5. How ‘bout them apples. Pretty easy to do and super beneficial, why wouldn’t you want to get your BEAUTY SLEEP on every night?
Castor Oil Packs to Balance Stress and Inflammation
Finding yourself on the opposite side of the world can cause lots of stress hormone to pump through your body. The feeling of being unsettled isn’t nice. Travel with your castor oil pack! It will serve as another cue for a good night’s sleep, especially if you are used to practicing it nightly. Castor oil packs support the 5 Pillars of Feeling Great.
These are the foundations of health. Wear your castor oil pack an hour before bed and overnight. When it comes to sleep this is how it helps:
Calms your body down to prepare you for a good night’s sleep67.
Keeps your immune system strong, protecting you from other people’s colds89. During sleep is when your immune system is most active.
Reduces inflammation10 and supports antioxidant status1112 protecting you from stress and the exposure to radiation from flying. When you sleep, you are actively cleaning up your body. We need balanced-inflammation and high antioxidant status during this time.
If you don’t have your Queen of the Thrones™ castor oil pack yet, click here! And if you do, get yourself another one designated especially for travel!
Dump the Digital or Get Blue Light Blocking Glasses
Blue light from technology such as computers, handheld devices and LED light blocks our bodies’ natural ability to create melatonin. Research shows that it significantly affects sleep, making it harder to get to bed at a decent hour13, leaving you restless, tossing and turning and sleepless. Improper sleep has been linked to attention deficit, increased appetite, and mood derangement. Look, light is a very strong environmental cue for our body rhythms. When the sun goes down:
Wear your blue light blocking glasses to improve your sleep14
Stop using your technology, especially in bed – Your bed is for SLEEP and SEX only!
3. Water – Drink, Drink, Drink!
Do Not Let Yourself Get Dehydrated!
The more dehydrated you are, the more fatigued you will be. The airplane is the first place you risk getting dehydrated, plus the change in environment will affect you. The stewardesses are very friendly and have no problem giving you more water.
Don’t drink hotel water from the tap!!!! OMG, this makes me wanna cringe. I remember my first trip to Arizona. I didn’t realize that it’s a dessert. I was so thirsty, I felt like I couldn’t hydrate. I kept on buying bottled water from the hotel. I spent 150$ on WATER!!!! OMG, never again. Water keeps us in flow. It keeps our digestion right, it supports all functions of our system.
When you arrive at your destination, aim to go shopping and get yourself water. Some hotels and resorts include all the water, but when they don’t I buy myself 4 gallons of water for a 3-4 day stay. I make my morning teas in the coffee pots, boiling the water and drinking water all day during my travels.
Aim to not drink too much coffee, alcohol and other dehydrating drinks. An easy-to-do electrolyte drink is to take sparkling water, add salt and squeeze in a bunch of fresh lemon or lime. An electrolyte drink like this can help your tissues to better absorb water and keep you hydrated for longer. In Mexico they call this drink “SUERO”. Something that nurtures the body and helps us to keep the water in!
4. Food, Digestion, and Pooping
What to consume? To help avoid jet lag and constipation, nutrition plays an incredible role15. Don’t be shy, you need your vegetables! I know it’s hard to find them in airports and restaurants, and the foods you typically eat while traveling are notorious for causing bloating, giving you a food hangover and making you constipated. You’re also being exposed to new bacteria in the foods that you eat and this can upset the gentle balance of your gut.
Hit Up the Local Health Food Store
To combat this, everywhere I go I stop at the local health food store. I buy various easy to eat veggies like celery, peppers, cucumbers, snap peas, baby carrots, apples, nut butter, and some nuts and seeds. This means I’ll get some good healthy fiber and roughage to get me through when I don’t have access to super produce. Clearly when you’re getting no fiber, no fresh nutrients, no functioning of your caboose!
New places, new bacteria in your food that your body isn’t used to. This is another huge factor that can set off your gut of and create constipation. Make sure to do your CASTOR OIL PACK nightly as this helps to keep your gut bacteria in a good state 161718. Taking a probiotic daily is also highly advisable.
Relax your Body Before you Eat
Do the Grateful Dung Dining Practice before you eat. This practice helps to calm down your system and your gut before you eat. This alone can really help with keeping you regular because the calming your nervous system before eating helps keep your digestion in check.
Don’t forget to CHEW your food!
This improves your digestion and pooping. With the excitement of being in a new place, we can forget to be mindful and just inhale our foods. Use your Grateful Dung Braceletand count the beads for the number of times you need to chew. This is just an easy way to remember to chew your food until it becomes a paste in your mouth, making it so much easier on your body to digest.
Keep your bowels moving19 with your castor oil pack done nightly. If you are super, super constipated (as in more than 4-5 days) then taking castor oil orally will have a stimulant laxative effect. This is a worst-case scenario solution. I remember the first time I took it orally, I was in South America and with the 15 hour flight, food, time and weather change, everything was off. It didn’t taste the greatest but it sure helped things to move! I took 1-3 tbsp to help things flow.
5. Exercise While you Travel
Exercise and movement is a well–known cue to keep your sleep, wake & pooping cycles timed right. Movement makes you move, no two ways about it! Timing of your exercise is important to support your best circadian rhythms20. I prefer morning exercise to start your day off with good energy.
I know that very few of you take the time to exercise while on holidays or work trips. How do I know this? Because I’m not seeing anyone in the gym! Conference after conference, trip after trip, I see very few people in the gym. Frankly, I’m surprised. I just love exercise! It makes me feel good, keeps my sleep in check, and helps me poop! So I don’t get why more people aren’t doing it.
The Lazy Way to Exercise While Travelling
Less can be more! You don’t need to work out for an hour. I just get to the gym and do 10-15 minutes of intense exercise and a bit of stretching and that’s it! A little run and some weights. The purpose is just to get the blood flowing, your muscles moving and your diaphragm pumping. This pumping of the diaphragm helps to put pressure against the intestine, stimulating movement.
Exercise can be as easy as taking the staircase to your hotel room every time instead of the elevator. I always commit to that in order to just get a bit more motion in.
Bacteria is EVERYWHERE! Especially when you Travel
While traveling we are exposed to new bacteria everywhere. Tight spaces of airplanes and trains, conferences and amusement park lineups. You’ll hear people sniffling, sneezing and coughing. Never a good sign. Airplanes are like infection factories and the fact that so many people are in a small place augments the infection rate. Don’t be surprised if you land in your tropical paradise with the sniffles or you’re ready for your big presentation with a scratchy throat.
Infections that bug the upper membrane of the nasal cavity and throat affect your guts too. After all, our digestive tract runs from our gums to bums! It’s the same bacteria throughout our bodies, and when one part of the microbiome is affected, the whole microbiome is affected. We are exposed to new bacteria in every NEW environment we go into and it’s no surprise that gastrointestinal infections are common with travel21.
If you’re in the tropics, there’s a whole other level of angst about eating your vegetables. The worry exists of parasites or strange bacteria. It may be something as innocent as the washing of your vegetables with water that hasn’t been purified.
Parasites can very much keep you blocked up and constipated, and a gastrointestinal infection is a precursor to living with IBS. Women who are on antibiotics and under stress have the highest likelihood of being affected22. Hmm, sounds like most of us, doesn’t it?
It’s not Only about the Bacteria; Parasites are an Entirely Other Problem
Countries of the Caribbean, tropics, and India practice a weekly purgation in order to prevent parasites. This purgation is done with castor oil. “It was a Sunday practice, just a tbsp full of castor oil, down the hatch just like that. Sometimes it made you go fast and other times, just better”. I can’t tell you how many patients of mine have discussed this weekly cleansing Sunday practice with me.
It makes sense that the initial reaction of a parasitical infection is diarrhea. Sometimes our bodies are so out of tune, that instead of eliminating we get bunged up. This leaves the bacteria to procreate. The best way to reset is to eliminate properly. Stimulating it with castor oil is an excellent tool.
Protect your Body from the Bad Bugs
Watch the food you are eating, but don’t stay away from vegetables because you’re worried about the water that they are washed in or not. It’s safer to eat them slightly cooked or steamed – or ask for a stir fry.
Drink bottled water and bottled beer. Stay away from drafts and fountain pops. Don’t use ice cubes unless you know they are filtered. Castor oil packs are a great addition on holidays to help support your digestion, supporting the good bacteria and preventing the bad ones. It helps prevent you from getting constipated. And if you do get constipated, taking a spoonful can help everything go down and out. The castor oil packs help your body to keep the bacterial mix in a healthy state.
Smell is a sign of bacteria and parasites in the bowl. So make sure to poop, peek, smell and perfume.
You are an unsuspecting victim each time you walk into the bathroom. Stools are made up of 25-54% bacteria23. When you flush, microbes stay in the air of the bathroom and deposit on the nearest surfaces. We know this because toothbrushes have different bacteria (including bowel bacteria!). Studies show that toothbrushes next to your toilet in the bathroom demonstrate E. Coli and Staph bacteria, different from those toothbrushes with no toilet24. So, when you walk in after another person dropping a log you are being exposed to their bacteria!
This is why I always spray Eau de Throne ™ before I play. The more you know, the harder it is to sit there and ignore it… as I relax to let one drop, I am being infected by other people’s strains of bacteria! So when I travel, as soon as I walk into a new washroom I spray Eau de Throne ™ before I go, and after I poop too, to protect the next unsuspecting victim! Eau de Throne ™ is the only way to go.
Clearly, you can see how many factors need to be addressed to keep that oh-so-important sleep, wake and poop cycle working in your favor. The easiest way is always to be prepared with the tools that can PREVENT a problem.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Pooping is always number one! Remember, your stools got a bad rap being known as #2, when they are the #1 product that our bodies produce. When you’re traveling the world, you want to make sure everything is working well in your production facility so that you can keep up to all the adventure!
Practice these tips and also try to make them a part of your daily lifestyle. Why not feel great all the time?! One of the best ways to set yourself up with everything you need to do this isThe Queen Kit. It contains everything you need while traveling and for daily life to keep it all together.
It is a collection of all of the awesome tools we’ve talked about in this article to elevate your health, supercharge your travels, and experience excellence in your life! When you are empowered you can do anything! Buy The Queen Kit now.
DISCLAIMER: Any opinions, advice, statements, services, offers, or other information or content expressed or made available by third parties, including information providers, are those of the respective authors or distributors, and not Queen of the Thrones™. Neither Queen of the Thrones™ nor any third-party provider of information guarantees the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any content. Furthermore, Queen of the Thrones™neither endorses nor is responsible for the accuracy and reliability of any opinion, advice, or statement made on any of the sites. This communication does not create a doctor and patient relationship. Information provided does not replace the advice of your health care practitioner. Before proceeding with any opinions, advice, statements, services, offers, or other information or content expressed please consult your health care practitioner.
1 BM Cornelum Overcoming Jet Lag. Canadian Family Physician. 1985 Nov;31:2105-6
2 Richardson G, Tate B. Hormonal and pharmacological manipulation of the circadian clock: recent developments and future strategies.Sleep. 2000 May 1;23 Suppl 3:S77-85.
14 Leung TW1, Li RW2, Kee CS1. Blue-Light Filtering Spectacle Lenses: Optical and Clinical Performances.PLoS One. 2017 Jan 3;12(1):e0169114. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0169114. eCollection 2017.
15 Halson SL1, Burke LM1,2, Pearce J3. Nutrition for Travel: From Jet lag To Catering. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2019 Mar 1;29(2):228-235. doi: 10.1123/ijsnem.2018-0278. Epub 2019 Feb 22.
16 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.
17 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.
18 Badaró MM1, Salles MM1, Leite VMF1, Arruda CNF1, Oliveira VC1, Nascimento CD1, Souza RF1, Paranhos HFO1, Silva-Lovato CH1. Clinical trial for evaluation of Ricinus communis and sodium hypochlorite as denture cleanser. J Appl Oral Sci. 2017 May-Jun;25(3):324-334. doi: 10.1590/1678-7757-2016-0222.
19 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.
20 Lewis P1, Korf HW2, Kuffer L1, Groß JV1, Erren TC1. Exercise time cues (zeitgebers) for human circadian systems can foster health and improve performance: a systematic review. BMJ Open Sport Exerc Med. 2018 Dec 5;4(1):e000443. doi: 10.1136/bmjsem-2018-000443. eCollection 2018.
Castor oil packs are a legendary treatment that dates back to ancient times. Traditional Chinese medicine, Indian Ayurveda, Ancient Egyptians and Mediterraneans all used castor oil for its rejuvenating health and beauty aspects. It is even mentioned in the bible as the oil that anoints. The plant has been given the special name of the Palm of Christ. The oil and the packs have been around forever and will forever be a part of natural medicine.
But do they really work??
I can personally say that castor oil packs changed my life and were a big contributor to my healing. They are my #1 prescription with patients because their benefits on the body are so far-reaching. So let’s dive into the science behind how castor oil packs work and what they do for the body!
Feel Good and Relax – Bring Pleasure – Stimulate Dopamine
Who doesn’t want to be relaxed, feel good and feel pleasure? Like the pleasure you feel after an amazing meal1.
These packs are meant to relax the body. By applying the pack on the body, most commonly the liver area underneath the right ribcage, you stimulate the sensory receptors in the human hairy skin. This sends a message via the somatic-visceral reflexes, the fancy term for the sensory receptors on the skin, to the organs inside the body. The corresponding organs that are affected are the liver, pancreas, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, kidney and adrenals. Because the stimulus is soft to the touch and pleasurable2, it moves your body into the relaxed state from the stressed state. Studies show that stimulation of the skin lights up the areas of the brain exactly as they do with pleasurable, dopamine-stimulating fatty meals. Big difference though, castor oil packs are way healthier than an excessively fatty meal!
I call these packs the escape button for the nervous system, like on your computer, and the science of physioneurology proves it. Castor oil packs take your body from frazzled to fine in a matter of minutes, all by naturally working with your physiology to make it happen. They are great because they are non-invasive and so beneficial to overall health. You could say it’s almost like giving your body a great big hug3 and you get the same benefits from it.
Because of this aspect you want to make sure that you are using good quality, luxurious, organic cotton flannel that is soft to the touch. The sensory receptors identity the soft sensation as pleasurable which promotes the relaxed state. The pack is just as important as the oil. If you use the oil on your body without the pack, you will lose the majority of the relaxation benefit.
Why does being relaxed matter? When you are relaxed you can heal, your digestive system produces all of its juices with ease, like digestive enzymes, bile, hydrochloric acid and immune factors4. Most important is that your so called “leaky gut” is a response to living in a stressed-out state. In the relaxed state, stimulated by a castor oil pack, you regain your gut integrity567. This means that all the supplements and organic food that you are taking, you will absorb even better if you are using castor oil packs. They help to optimize digestion so that all these pills and potions you take will help supercharge your life.
In the relaxed state is also where your body can cleanse, detox and simply clean up the junk that is in your system. When your body is in the stressed state, all of these functions go on maintenance mode instead of enhanced mode. Move your body into the relaxed state with a castor oil pack and you have the recipe for successful cleansing and detox.
A cool practical application of these castor oil packs that I have seen in practice, is for health nuts just like me that love to do regular cleanses. When you do these packs during a cleanse, you AVOID the dreaded cleansing symptoms like headaches, skin irritation, moodiness, joint/muscle aches and pains. The mechanism of action here is this, when you are stressed and running away from say, a tiger who is going to eat you, your blood is flowing to the extremities and to your brain. Similarly, if you do a cleanse while in the stressed state, the toxins that you are trying to eliminate from your body will flow to your extremities, causing aches and pains, and to your brain, giving you headaches and moodiness. It’s physiology 101, in the stressed state your blood hemodynamics feed the extremities to get you away from the predator to survive, in the relaxed state your blood flows to your internal organs allowing you to digest, cleanse and reset. If you want to supercharge your cleanses and make it easy on you and those around you, ALWAYS do a castor oil pack for support.
Even better, retraining your nervous system daily to switch into the relaxed state helps you to optimize your life, in general, since you will become more resilient to stress of all types. These days we need it. So make these packs a daily health practice for life. You won’t want to stop.
2. Reduces Pain & Inflammation – Where there is Inflammation there is Sickness, Toxicity and Overall Distress in the Body
Let’s face it, as humans we run from pain and move towards pleasure. How does the castor oil pack stimulate pleasure and reduce inflammation at the same time?
The chemical structure of ricinoleic acid, the main component of this magical castor oil, is similar in structure to prostaglandins in our bodies that reduce inflammation. To put this into context, when you take a fish oil supplement, you take it because it provides you with these prostaglandins that will reduce inflammation all over your body. Castor oil is exactly like that, although we don’t take it orally for this effect, we use it as pack on our bodies to reduce inflammation.
It also reduces substance P8 in the body, that is a chemical messenger that promotes the sensation of pain.
Inflammation in your body equals retention of water. Inflammation is basically a fire that burns in the body with the purpose of creating destruction in order to recreate, renew and heal. Inflammation is purposeful and it can be healthy. However, many cases of inflammation get out of control and result only in destruction. Firefighters use water to control a fire, so does your body. With an inflamed intestine and gut, the body will hold water in the abdominal area to decrease the irritation. This leads to excess weight in your abdomen, the so called central obesity or in laymen’s terms, the “beer belly”. Castor oil packs help to reduce and regulate the inflammation in the abdomen, so that you can work towards that flat belly you are dreaming of.
3. Castor Oil Increases your MASTER Cleansing Agent – GLUTATHIONE
If you haven’t heard of glutathione, this is what you need to know. Glutathione is an incredible molecule that pulls and helps with elimination of most, if not all, toxic substances from the body including things like the dreaded heavy metals.
Glutathione is worth its weight in gold and it is priceless for a healthy body. The problem is that most of us are running on empty. We have used up our stores of glutathione because we have been bombarded with chemicals and pesticides of all types since the industrial revolution in the early 1900s.
Glutathione is also difficult to recycle naturally in our bodies and there are very few sources from our food. Some food sources are whey protein (which I don’t suggest because it is mucous-forming) or rooibos tea, which I personally love and always recommend drinking on cleanses. You can also take glutathione supplementally, via intravenous infusion or oral capsules. The latter of these isn’t necessarily the best absorbed and there is controversy about whether or not it is worth it to take glutathione orally.
Enter castor oil! A recent research study demonstrated that glutathione was increased in rat ocular lenses when they were placed in castor oil, greater than in the ocular lenses placed in actual glutathione9! Incredible.
We’ve known for eons that castor oil packs aided in cleansing and detoxification but we weren’t sure exactly why. This eludes to the benefits of castor oil far beyond what we comprehended. This mystical oil is still surprising us and I’d bet there is more to come.
4. Makes you Poo! By Stimulating Smooth Muscles of the Body
We all love a great poo. In fact there is nothing more pleasurable than poo, well perhaps a great orgasm! When we don’t poo frequently enough, we are recirculating in our bodies the junk that needs to come out. This builds our toxic load and predisposes us to problems like excess cholesterol, hormone imbalances and much more.
Castor oil stimulates smooth muscle contraction via the prostaglandin EP3 receptors of the body10. Smooth muscle is what the intestines and guts are composed of, as is the uterus. Working with castor oil packs stimulates these to move.
One caution: Do not use castor oil packs or castor oil while pregnant. It is unknown but it could possibly cause movement of the smooth muscle of the uterus, enough to terminate the pregnancy. Work with your knowledgeable practitioner on this one.
Cleanliness is next to godliness and keeping your bowels moving and regular keeps you happier, healthier and in tune with your body. Instead of using laxatives, put on your castor oil pack today! It’s proven to be just as effective and is a lot gentler on your system11.
5. Promotes a Balanced Microbiome, Happy Gut, and Biofilm Breakdown
Having a healthy microbiome has massive implications for your overall health. Benefits include balanced mood, good bowel movements, reduced abdominal pain including bloating and gas, reduced physical inflammation, improvement of auto-immune and hormonal problems, the list goes on and on. A healthy microbiome is the one major determinant of your overall health.
A very common issue for many people is overpopulation of bad gut bugs, or as I call them, “conbiotics”. They are con artists that take up residency in your gut and steal space from the good guys known as “probiotics”. Probiotics do great things for your body. They produce B vitamins and byproducts like butyrate which help to keep the gut really healthy. The conbiotics just wreak havoc. They can produce a protective layer called biofilm to keep them from being terminated. Biofilm can be so strong that it is almost impossible to kill off these conbiotics. If you are able to break down the biofilm then you have a much better chance of getting them out of your body and restoring the peace. Castor oil is one of very few natural substances that can break down this barrier, as well as chemical biofilm breakers like sodium hypochlorite12. The probiotics you are taking are actually going to work better and provide you with super health if you are able to get rid of biofilm in your gut. Wow, you save money and feel better faster.
Now that you know the benefits of practising a castor oil pack regularly, it just makes sense to do it. These are all things that many of us are spending thousands of dollars to achieve. Use the castor oil pack as a way to enhance all of the treatments, supplements and health tools that you are currently using. It’s your best next step to health.
As the Queen of the Thrones and of castor oil here are the most common questions I get about castor oil packs.
How does this oil get through the skin? The active component of castor oil is ricinoleic acid. Castor oil is composed approximately of 75-85% of this fatty acid. It has a molecular weight of 298 daltons. In dermatological medicine there is what is called the 500 Dalton Rule. Substances that are below 500 daltons can permeate through the lower layer of the epidermis, which is the top layer of the skin. It can then go deeper, into the dermis, that contains the blood and lymphatic vessels. These are the superhighways of the body, transporting medicinal substances like castor oil into the body. Compression also helps to put tension on the skin, facilitating its deep penetration. So using the pack is a very important part of the treatment.
Do you need to use heat? Heat is optional. Used as a modality in natural medicine, heat slows things down, so depending on your bowel function you can use it appropriately. If you go to the bathroom too much, add heat to slow things down. If you don’t go enough, let your own natural body heat do the job. If you have your period, use heat as it will help to relax the uterine spasms. Heat has been shown to only speed up the elimination of metabolites and not the rate of liver detoxification13.
Should I use my castor oil packs during my period? Yes, absolutely! In fact, it will help with reduction of pain and cramping associated with your period. The concern was that the castor oil pack would make you bleed more. This is not the case, you will bleed what you have to bleed independent of the pack. The pack may speed up your period, but that could be of benefit if you’re off to a beach holiday!
Castor oil packs are so messy, I don’t want to do them! You no longer have this excuse my friends. That’s exactly why I created the Queen of the Thrones™ Castor Oil Pack, to make it a simple 2-step process instead of a 12 step ordeal. The Queen of the Thrones™ Castor Oil Pack attaches onto your body for ease of use.
How do I wash my Queen of the Thrones™ Castor Oil Pack? You do not ever have to wash your pack, if you take care to only apply oil in the center of the pack away from the seams. If you do prefer to wash your pack when it becomes very saturated with oil, usually after 15-20 treatments, you may do so. Soak overnight in hot water with 4 tbsp. of baking soda, and 1/2 tsp. of clean, natural dish soap. In the morning wring it out and hand wash with the healthy dish soap. Place on the outside of an old tea towel that you don’t mind ruining and press out the castor oil. Continue to do this until the outside has very little to no oily residue.
How often do I need to replace my Queen of the Thrones™ Castor Oil Pack? Things don’t last forever, but in general, with daily usage your pack should last 3-4 months. For those who care for it well or use less frequently, longer.
When is the best time to do the castor oil pack? There really is no best time, but it is best to do it DAILY! Before bed is ideal because the castor oil pack relaxes your body and promotes an amazing sleep.
How long do I wear my castor oil pack for? Wear your castor oil pack for a minimum of 1 hour each day, or ideally overnight.
What kind of material should I use for my castor oil pack? I recommend using organic cotton flannel for the side that touches your skin. Otherwise materials contain brominated flame retardants that are hormone14, nervous and immune system disrupting1516. The Queen of the Thrones™ Castor Oil Pack is made from organic cotton without flame retardants on the inside and a non-toxic barrier layer on the outside made from eco and health friendly poly-urethane (PUL).
Why Should I buy my castor oil in a glass bottle and organic? Castor oil is a carrier substance as well as a healing agent. In a plastic bottle, castor oil will grab onto the chemicals in plastic and bring it into your body. All oils should be in a glass bottle if you are using them in or on your body. Organic is simply because it is produced cleaner and has had less exposure to chemicals and pesticides.
How much castor oil do I use per treatment? Each treatment requires a new application of the oil. You always want to start fresh and reapply. Apply 2 tbsp of Queen of the Thrones™ castor oil in the center of the pack, then fold in half using either side to blot the oil around. Be cautious not to get it in the seams as there are holes and the oil will permeate the pack if you do.
Are you eager to learn more about this legendary oil? For a limited time, Dr. Marisol is offering her online course, Fit for a Queen, which is her comprehensive online program all about castor oil, for only $11 ($189 value). This course teaches Dr. Marisol’s personal and clinical experience with castor oil, the history of castor oil, conventional and natural medicinal uses, beauty applications and tons of tips and tricks to incorporate this healing oil into your daily life. You don’t want to miss this amazing opportunity! Click here to learn more about Fit for a Queen.
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2 Rolls ET, O’Doherty J, Kringelbach ML, Francis S, Bowtell R, McGlone F. Representations of pleasant and painful touch in the human orbitofrontal and cingulate cortices. Cereb Cortex. 2003 Mar;13(3):308-17.
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10 Tunaru S1, Althoff TF, Nüsing RM, Diener M, Offermanns S. 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):9179-84. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1201627109. Epub 2012 May 21.
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14 Ezechias M, Svobodova K, Cajthaml T. Hormonal activities of new brominated flame retardants. Chemosphere. 2012 Jan 9.
15 Miller MF, Chernyak SM, Domino SE, Batterman SA, Loch-Caruso Concentrations and speciation of polybrominated diphenyl ethers in human amniotic fluid. R.Sci Total Environ. 2012 Jan 9.
16 Wang L, Zou W, Zhong Y, An J, Zhang X, Wu M, Yu Z. The hormesis effect of BDE-47 in HepG(2) cells and the potential molecular mechanism. Toxicol Lett. 2012 Jan 3;209(2):193-201.
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