Healing Using Castor Oil Packs

Healing Using Castor Oil Packs

How does one approach healing without the sole reliance on medication and surgical means?  There are many approaches to healing, naturally.

The methods most taken while pursuing the holistic route are diet, exercise, and nutritional supplements.  These approaches are powerful; however, there’s only so much you can exercise away or ingest. There are many other natural modalities available that unlock your maximum healing potential. It is helpful to look at the wisdom of the past for nearly forgotten methods for healing.  One such method has been in practice for centuries:  the castor oil pack.

Castor oil is derived from the castor bean which is native to India.  This medicinal oil can stimulate lymph and liver function and reduce inflammation.  Many of the healing properties of castor oil are attributed to its high percentage (about 90%) of the molecularly unique fatty acid ricinoleic acid.   

Castor beans are quite toxic due to a chemical called ricin that is in the pulp of the bean, but ricin is not contained in the oil.  When castor oil is extracted under heated conditions, the ricin is removed, and any ricin left behind is deactivated. 

When castor oil is used topically, it is non-toxic and can be a great addition to a healing program.  A castor oil pack is a method of saturating cloths in castor oil for healing through topical application. This pack is placed over the problem area to stimulate organ flow and function and as an anti-inflammatory measure.

Healing castor oil packs can be helpful for the following situations:

  • Constipation
  • Digestive problems
  • Abdominal cramps or bloating
  • Gallbladder discomfort
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Sore muscles
  • Joint pain
  • Swelling
  • Lymph congestion
  • Injuries
  • Fibroids
  • Ovarian cysts

Items Needed:

  • 1-quart glass jar with lid (mason jar)
  • Organic, Hexane-free Castor Oil
  • 1 cotton flannel or unbleached wool cloth*
  • A long, wide piece of cotton flannel to tie around the abdomen
  • A heat source (hot water bottle, hot rice pack, heating pad, etc.)
  • Protective covering for bed or couch (old sheets, towels, cloths, etc.)**

*You can buy a set of castor oil with a pack already made.  These premade packs are expensive but convenient.

**Some sources recommend using plastic bags or wraps.  I do not recommend using plastic as the chemicals contained therein have the potential to be absorbed with the castor oil, especially once heat is applied.


  1. Fold the cotton/wool into a square large enough to cover the area you are addressing (Example: for liver/gallbladder, about 7”x10”)
  2. Put about 2 tablespoons of castor oil onto the cloth and fold in different directions to get the oil to saturate the full surface of the cloth. The cloth should be saturated but not dripping
  3. Apply the cloth “pack” over the desired area
    • Right upper abdomen for liver/gallbladder
    • Left upper abdomen for spleen/lymph
    • Middle of abdomen (or right upper abdomen) for general bloating and constipation
    • Lower abdomen for menstrual issues
    • Directly to joints or injured areas 
    • Mid to lower back for kidneys
  4. Cover the pack with the larger strip of cloth and wrap or tie it around the area
  5. Place a heat source (hot water bottle or heating pad) over the pack
  6. Lay down and elevate your feet if possible and relax for 30 minutes to an hour*
  7. Remove the pack and cleanse the skin with a mixture of warm water, gentle unscented soap, and baking soda
  8. Place the used pack into the glass jar and seal the lid for storage until the next use.  You can typically get 30 uses out of one pack.  Throw away the cloth sooner if it becomes discolored or has a bad odor
  9. Rest and hydrate

*You can apply the castor oil pack overnight.  If you do this method, the heat source is not necessary.

Castor oil is very safe and well tolerated when used topically; all the same, there are a few things to keep in mind when using castor oils packs:

  • Castor oil packs can stimulate bile flow, which can lead to additional, and sometimes urgent, bowel movements after use.  It is a good idea to do your pack at the end of the day when you are staying in, relaxing, and close to a bathroom.
  • Castor oil packs can stimulate lymph flow, which can lead to an increase in urination.
  • Some individuals may notice increased gut gurgling, gas, or discomfort after doing a castor oil pack; especially if placed on the abdomen.  These sensations should pass within an hour.  If you experience this, try doing the pack for a shorter amount of time until your body adjusts.

When working on a holistic healing plan, it is good practice to look at many avenues of support for your body, even beyond what you ingest. History can be a powerful teacher. Centuries of use in at least 50 countries across the world, and a fantastic safety profile, make castor oil packs a desirable adjunct to your healthy habits.  Topical castor oil also has the additional advantages of being affordable, easy to use, and able to offer quick relief in many situations.

Dr. Amanda Childress, PharmD

Are You Feeling Sluggish?

Are You Feeling Sluggish?

If you’re feeling sluggish, slow, and tired, it could be your lymphatic system.

Anytime we experience fatigue, most of us might think that our adrenals, thyroid, or sleep are to blame. So we change our sleep schedule, diet, and even take supplements advertised for energy but we still continue relying on our cup of caffeine to keep us going or we just drag through the day.

What if what’s keeping you dragging is a sluggish lymphatic system and the lack of proper elimination?

Our lymphatic system is the sewer system of our body, and it relies on organs of extractions like our kidneys, liver, lungs, skin, and intestines to eliminate toxins and excess waste. Each of these organs plays a crucial role in eliminating waste from the body to help maintain a well-operating lymphatic system.

A congested lymphatic system can affect our energy level in several ways. When the lymphatic system becomes sluggish it may not be functioning properly, which can lead to a buildup of toxins and waste products in the body. This can result in a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Swelling or edema: Fluid can build up in tissues, causing swelling.
  • Fatigue: The waste products can accumulate, leading to feelings of fatigue and lethargy.
  • Poor immune function: The lymphatic system is a key component of the immune system, and when it is not functioning properly, the body may be more susceptible to infections and illnesses, leading to more fatigue
  • Digestive problems: The malabsorption of fats by the liver and gallbladder can lead to digestive issues such as bloating and constipation.

There are several factors that can contribute to a sluggish lymphatic system and non-backed up extractory system, these include a sedentary lifestyle, high carb refined diet, stress, and a body overburdened with toxins and pathogens.

To improve lymphatic and elimination function, it is important to maintain a diet high in animal protein and healthy fats and exercise regularly. Your lymphatic system does not have a pump the way your cardiovascular system does, if you do not move it, it stays stagnant. Great ways to support your lymphatic and extractory organs are daily movement, lymphatic massages, rebounder or mini trampoline, vibration plates, and dry brushing.

Finding out “WHAT” is causing your systems to be congested is the most important step in addressing your fatigue. Talk to our practitioners to find out why you might be feeling slow, sluggish, and tired.

Dr. Taggy Bensaïd, ND

Microplastics in Our Bodies: Unveiling the Impact of Plastic Packaging and Beyond

Microplastics in Our Bodies: Unveiling the Impact of Plastic Packaging and Beyond

Plastic has become an integral part of our daily lives.

From the meat we buy to the vegetables we consume, it seems like everything is wrapped or packaged in plastic. Even our clothes are made from recycled plastic bottles. However, the prevalence of plastic in our lives has led to a concerning issue: the presence of microplastic particles in our bodies.

Why should we be concerned about this? Numerous studies have shown that microplastic particles are being found in various parts of our bodies, including our blood, lungs, and even placentas. Furthermore, research suggests that the plastic used to wrap our food is a significant source of microplastic contamination. Additionally, the chemicals present in plastic are known to be harmful to our health.

In a study conducted on different types of food, researchers found that plastic-wrapped dinners contained significantly more microplastics compared to unwrapped meals. In fact, consuming just one traditional roast dinner wrapped in plastic could result in ingesting up to 230,000 microplastics, which are plastics smaller than 5mm in size. This highlights how plastic packaging of food acts as a pathway for plastics to enter our bodies. Moreover, eating one plastic-wrapped meal every day is equivalent to consuming two plastic grocery bags annually. Interestingly, non-plastic-wrapped foods were not only found to have fewer microplastics but also cost 37% less.

Several studies have detected microplastics in human blood, lung tissue, and placentas. Microplastics were also found in the stool of animals and humans across different regions. Furthermore, microplastics have been discovered in everyday self-care items, including personal care products and disposable face masks. This indicates that our exposure to microplastics extends beyond just our food.

The impact of microplastics on our health is a cause for concern. Studies have shown that microplastics can disrupt fat metabolism and cause liver dysfunction. There is also evidence suggesting that microplastics can influence our immune system, potentially affecting the development of diseases like cancer.

Fortunately, there are steps we can take to reduce our exposure to plastic. Avoid cooking or storing food in plastic containers and opt for alternatives. When shopping, choose fresh produce that is not wrapped in plastic. When buying meat, request that it be wrapped in parchment paper instead of plastic. Websites like EWG.ORG can help you find chemical-free self-care products, reducing your overall chemical exposure.

If you are interested in minimizing plastic pollution in your daily routine or want to enhance your body’s detoxification process, consider discussing it during your next health visit. Taking control of your plastic consumption and promoting a healthier lifestyle can contribute to your overall well-being.


Adaptability [My 75 Hard Experience]

Adaptability [My 75 Hard Experience]

Beginning September 20, 2022, I began the 75 Hard Program.

For a long while before that, I had been trying to incorporate more regular exercise into my daily routine but had been unsuccessful. A patient told me she was doing the 75 Hard program, so I looked it up. The rules looked daunting to me but I knew if I wanted to improve my health I needed a plan. Never one to turn away from a challenge, I decided to start.

75 Hard is based on a book by Andy Frisella. If you are not a fan of no-nonsense, profanity-laced dialogue, do not listen to his podcasts. The rules are as follows:

  • If you skip a day, you must start over. If you miss a task, you must start over from day one.
  • Pick a diet to follow with no alcohol or cheat meals.
  • Drink a gallon of water daily.
  • Complete two workouts daily. Each workout must be 45 minutes in length and one must be outside.
  • Read 10 pages per day of a non-fiction book.
  • Take a progress photo every day.

If you skip a day, you must start over. If you miss a task, you must start over from day one.

Since I did not want to start over, I bought a journal to log all my tasks so I would be sure to get them in daily.

Pick a diet to follow with no alcohol or cheat meals.

I chose to follow a no sugar, no wheat, no alcohol, low carbohydrate diet. I was already pretty low carb but I knew complete avoidance of wheat and sugar would decrease inflammation.

I followed this plan during a trip up north, Halloween, and Thanksgiving. The point is – no excuses, you can eat well no matter what the circumstances.

I lost 15 pounds during the 75 days of this challenge. My last official day was December 4, 2022; and as of the end of January 2023, I have kept this weight off because my diet has stayed consistent. I think doing this challenge for 75 full days made it easier to maintain better habits. When the 75 days were over, I didn’t want to go back to less healthy options.

Drink a gallon of water daily.

I thought this would be the hardest part of the program for me. I don’t think I’ve ever really consumed enough water in a day. Surprisingly, this was not as difficult as I imagined. I bought a 32-ounce mason jar and would fill it four times per day to ensure I was getting the required amount. I would add lemon, lime, oranges, or strawberries to the water to give it a little flavor so as to not get bored.

I believe the hydration helped my kidneys, bladder, and bowel work better to detoxify, and made my skin less dry.

Complete two workouts daily. Each workout must be 45 minutes in length and one must be outside.

This was the reason I chose to do the 75 Hard program. I, like many other people, was very good at finding reasons why I couldn’t work out; and I was not very creative with finding solutions to how I could work out. This challenge forced me to figure out ways to fit two workouts into my daily routine. No exceptions. No excuses.

I worked out in the rain, in the cold, in the dark, on a day when I worked 16 hours (one workout at 3:30 a.m. and a walk at lunch). I discovered something with these daily workouts that I had forgotten – when I was young I was always moving. I grew up a dancer who trained at least four days per week. Then, I was teaching dance and Pilates for many years. My body liked to move. I didn’t realize– until I did this challenge– how much movement and exercise help strength, stamina, circulation, body composition, and mental health. For the 75 days, I worked out twice per day- I walked, lifted weights, exercised with YouTube Videos, biked, and rebounded. Since finishing 75 Hard I have maintained at least one workout daily (I skipped one day). Although this has not been easy, I know keeping exercise/movement in my routine is an important part of my physical health.

Read 10 pages per day of a non-fiction book.

This part of the challenge forced me off my phone and computer for some time each day. That, in itself, is a good thing. I chose books that would help me personally and professionally and I read all or part of six different non-fiction books during these 75 days.

Take a progress photo every day.

This was my least favorite part of 75 Hard. I’m not a fan of myself in photos. When my husband and I first talked about doing this program (yes, he did it with me which helped so much!) I told him – “I’m not doing the daily photo part.” But, I am glad that I did this. I didn’t necessarily see the differences in my body day to day, but when I looked back at the photos the progress was visible.

I wrote this article for you as motivation and encouragement. If you are struggling with diet, exercise, or getting on track with your health, DO SOMETHING! First – figure out your WHY. What needs to change and why do you want to change it? I wanted to do this because I wanted to be stronger, healthier, more able to play and keep up with my grandson, and set a good example. It doesn’t have to be the 75 Hard program – just make a plan, set an amount of time to do that plan, and DO IT! What I did discover during this journey was the importance of being able to adapt to reach the goals I had set. Set your goals and GO!

Yours in health,
Kerry Cradit, B.S. Nutrition and Food Science

5 Common Dietary Mistakes

5 Common Dietary Mistakes

Here at the NHCAA, our patients diligently track their diets. 

I have been reviewing food logs for over a decade and have seen thousands.  You don’t review that many food records without noticing some common themes in food choices people tend to make.  I’m going to share with you 5 common dietary mistakes to avoid that people often do not realize are mistakes.  

  1. Coffee creamers 
  2. Salad dressings
  3. Excessive snacking 
  4. Frequent alcohol intake
  5. Overuse of sugar substitutes

Coffee Creamers & Sweeteners

Many individuals think they are doing themselves a favor by foregoing breakfast and just drinking coffee. What these individuals often fail to realize is the impact the coffee can have on their health when mixed with certain ingredients.   While many people can successfully intermittent fast and still have a cup of coffee, if you add enough creamer, milk and milk alternatives, sweeteners, and other products to your coffee, you may completely lose the benefit of delaying food, and may even worsen your glycemic control.  

There’s another camp of people who eat a good breakfast but ruin it by pairing it up with coffee containing sugars, artificial sweeteners, chemicals, and processed fats.

Coffee is not great for everyone; however, if you are drinking it, you should be very aware of what you are putting into it.  Cut out the Coffee Mate, International Delights, sugar free syrups and other like additives.  

Better options for coffee are drinking it black or adding mct oil, Nutpods, collagen powder, stevia or monk fruit (in moderation).

Salad Dressings

When attempting to eat healthy, many people go straight to salads.  If you can digestively tolerate eating raw vegetables, a salad can be a great low carb meal.  However, most commercially prepared salad dressing is full of chemicals, processed fats, soy, and sometimes loaded with sugar.  Read your labels!  You will probably be surprised at the ingredients list of your favorite dressing.  If you are eating a restaurant salad, It is highly likely that one or more undesirable ingredients are in it.

Better options for salad dressing are to make your own so you know exactly what is in it.  If you don’t want to make your own, Primal Kitchen has a line of clean salad dressings.  When eating a restaurant salad, the best bet is to ask for olive oil and vinegar.

Excessive Snacking

Snacking is a very common habit of Americans.  There was a time when people were instructed that their best bet for their health was to eat 5 small meals a day.  Snacking between meals is not a good thing for most adults.  Toddlers need snacks; most adults do not.  If you feel the need to snack, you are probably missing out on something in your meals to create lasting satiety.  For most people in this situation, it is good fat and protein they are skimping on. 

The worst type of snacking is night-time snacking.  Make having at least a 3 hour buffer between eating and bedtime a priority.  You don’t want your liver and digestive system working hard on digesting food while you are trying to rest.  Your organs have other things to do at this time and need a rest as well.

Frequent Alcohol Use

I have seen many cases in which a patient has an incredible diet, super low carb, but are still having a nightly cocktail.  Even if your alcohol choice is low carb or a spiked seltzer drink (which are undoubtedly better choices), at the end of the day, regardless of carb count, it is still alcohol and is a special circumstance.  Alcohol must be metabolized FIRST- even before sugar.  Alcohol increases the workload of the liver and may affect blood sugar and inhibit fat burning and other health benefits from your otherwise healthy diet; not to mention, alcohol may negatively impact your sleep cycle.

Overuse of Sugar Substitutes

I typically recommend that patients avoid sugar as much as possible and use natural substitutes that do not spike blood glucose.  My top recommendations are stevia and/or Monk Fruit.  But even these better replacements can be overused.  Too much use of natural sugar substitutes not only can cause you to hold on to your sugar cravings but can also imbalance your gut bugs (microbiota).  Overusing these seemingly innocent sweet treats can cause digestive problems and sometimes can halt your health progress.  It is best to use stevia, monk fruit and any sweetener only occasionally.

There you have it, 5 very common diet mistakes that are best to avoid.  If you are halted in your health goals in any way, I challenge you to examine this list and see if you are doing any of these 5 things.  If so, correcting these 5 areas can help get you back on track.  If you are still stuck or having trouble identifying your dietary trouble area, you should consult with us at the NHCAA.  

Your Holistic Pharmacist,

Dr. Amanda Childress, PharmD

Unlocking the Potential of Ozone: Harnessing the Power of a Unique Molecule

Unlocking the Potential of Ozone: Harnessing the Power of a Unique Molecule

When we hear the word “ozone,” many of us think of the protective layer in our atmosphere or the potential harm it can cause when it forms near the ground. However, there is more to ozone than meets the eye. Ozone is a molecule composed of three oxygen atoms, and its applications extend beyond its role in the atmosphere. In fact, ozone has been studied for over a century and has been used in various remedies for common ailments.

Contrary to popular belief, ozone for self care is not a new discovery. Its existence was identified in the mid-nineteenth century, and since then, researchers have been investigating its properties and potential benefits. One of the key uses of ozone lies in its ability to support the immune system by increasing oxygen supply to the body and stimulating the production of red blood cells. Studies have suggested that ozone can effectively deactivate bacteria, viruses, fungi, yeast, and protozoa, making it a powerful tool in combating infections and boosting overall immune health.

Moreover, ozone has shown promise in addressing oxidative stress associated with conditions such as spinal disorders and diabetes. Oxidative stress refers to the imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in the body. By correcting this imbalance, ozone therapy can help mitigate the detrimental effects of oxidative stress on our health.

To make the benefits of ozone more accessible, we have introduced a range of ozonated products that can be incorporated into your holistic health program. These products include:

  • Ozonated Toothpaste: Promotes oral health and hygiene by harnessing the properties of ozone for fresh breath and potential antimicrobial benefits.
  • Ozonated Deodorant: Utilizes ozone to help neutralize odor-causing bacteria, offering a natural and potentially effective solution for body odor control.
  • Ozonated Oils: Topical application of ozonated oils can provide localized benefits, such as supporting wound healing, soothing skin irritations, and promoting overall skin health.
  • Ozonated Suppositories: Designed for rectal and vaginal use, ozonated suppositories may offer potential benefits for addressing certain conditions and promoting optimal wellness in those areas.
  • Ozonated Capsules: Oral intake of ozonated capsules allows for systemic exposure to ozone, potentially supporting various aspects of health from within.

If you are curious about how ozonated products can enhance your daily self-care routine or address specific health concerns, I encourage you to discuss them during your next visit. Our team is equipped to provide guidance and personalized recommendations based on your individual needs.

It is important to note that ozone therapy should be approached with caution and under the guidance of qualified healthcare professionals experienced in this field. The use of ozone should be tailored to each person’s unique circumstances and goals to ensure safe and effective outcomes.

In conclusion, ozone, a molecule with three oxygen atoms, holds immense potential in the realm of holistic health. From supporting immune function to combating infections and addressing oxidative stress, ozone therapy offers a unique approach to promoting wellness. With our range of ozonated products, you can explore the benefits of ozone in your daily routine and embark on a journey toward optimal health.