“Palm of Christ.”

CASTOR OIL I have mentioned this time-tested remedy in many sections of this book because it is great for many areas of the body. Even though I remember my grandmothers using castor oil, it wasn’t until I read about it in Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom, that I tried it myself; and frankly, I found castor oil “packs” to be amazingly effective. I’ve used them the week before my period to reduce (and usually prevent) menstrual cramping—and it works! I’ve used them on my breasts to eliminate premenstrual tenderness and swelling, as well as for lower back pain. I’ve put them on my head to get rid of a headache! Placed on the right side of the abdominal area, they help to detoxify the liver, thereby increasing the functioning of the immune system. Strange though it may sound, it’s just another example of one of the many blessed gifts given to us by the Earth to help increase our health and well-being. In addition to helping with menstrual problems, Dr. Christiane Northrup recommends castor oil packs for everything from aches and pains, to urinary tract infections, and abdominal distress. For treatment, Dr. Northrup recommends one hour, three to five times a week, and once a week for preventative purposes.

HOW TO Use a piece of fabric like flannel about the size of a washcloth; you can also use a clean dry washcloth for this. Fold in half twice. Pour several teaspoons of castor oil onto the fabric and apply the oil side of the cloth to the body area of your choice. Place a piece of plastic on top of the fabric (a sandwich bag is usually the right size) then apply a heat source on top of that (I prefer a hot water bottle because it’s a safe, non-electrical source of heat). Lie down and relax for at least an hour. For menstrual situations, place the fabric just above the public hair line; for breast situations, use one pack and rotate from breast to breast, or use two packs simultaneously with two hot water bottles. (At a local dollar store, I found great little hot water bottles, a dollar each!) Remove when you’re done, and store this cloth in the plastic bag for future use. Wash occasionally in hot water and mild soap. I only use castor oil from the natural food store. A small bottle is under $5 and can last for several months. Castor oil can also be massaged into the skin, and it makes a healing foot rub. DO NOT TAKE CASTOR OIL INTERNALLY.

WHAT IS IT? Castor oil is extracted from the beans of the tropical castor oil plant, Ricinus communis, or Palma Christi—the “Palm of Christ.” For thousands of years this bean and the oil have been valued and honored for extraordinary healing properties; seeds have been found in 4,000 year-old Egyptian tombs. The ancient Greeks—as well as the herbalists of Europe—used castor oil as an external lubricant and liniment. Unfortunately, in the 18th century, castor oil got a “bad rap” when people began using it as a laxative. But it is not to be taken internally; use it instead on the exterior of the body to enhance the health of the interior.

It seems that castor oil applications can affect healing on any area of the body. Dr. William McGarey’s book, Edgar Cayce and the Palma Christi, attributes much of the powers of castor oil to its ability to stimulate the body’s lymphatic system. Cayce recommended the use of castor oil for massage, and for “calluses, bunions, moles, warts, tumors, cancer (skin and breast), cysts…constipation, various liver conditions, appendicitis, arthritis, colitis, intestinal disorders and toxemia.” According to McGarey, castor oil helps to facilitate the flow of fluids in the body, and has anti-inflammatory properties. Cayce explained that castor oil acts to “coordinate the activity between the functioning of organs and the body.”

THE SLEEPING PROPHET For those who haven’t heard of Edgar Cayce, I’ll state briefly that Cayce was a medical diagnostician, dubbed “the sleeping prophet.” Born in 1877 in Kentucky, at the age of five Cayce displayed powers of perception “beyond the normal range;” and by the age of 21, doctors were using Cayce’s unique abilities to “tune in” telepathically with their patient’s minds and bodies for astoundingly accurate medical and spiritual diagnoses. Cayce died in 1945, and yet continues to share his gift by leaving behind over 14,000 documented records of over 8,000 people that he assisted during the forty-three years he spent as a “seer.” The Association for Research and Enlightenment (the A.R.E., founded in Virginia Beach, Virginia) continues to preserve and promote the work and wisdom of this incredible soul. Books in the Edgar Cayce Series deal with many fascinating subjects such as diet and health; religion and psychic experience; ESP; dream interpretation; reincarnation; the power of color, crystals and stones; the Dead Sea Scrolls; and Atlantis. (Read Many Mansions: The Edgar Cayce Story, by Dr. Gina Cerminara, for the fascinating life story of this remarkable man.) ~ End of excerpt ~

Excerpt from The Spirit of Health, by Cindy Gray (© 2002)

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