Castor Oil Liver Pack Side Effects and Ways to Avoid Them

Whether you are thinking about trying Castor Oil Pack or have already developed a reaction and are looking for answers you found the right video.

If you saw my previous experiment, you know that I was hit with poor sleep, early wakings, rib pain and shortness of breath. My mother and friend developed some alarming symptoms too that I will discuss shortly.

So it made me question as to how this could have happened? And I quickly discovered that this powerful remedy is not as innocent as everyone claims to be and must me approached with some humble respect.  Because if we develop a nasty reaction we might get scared and miss out on potential benefits down the road.

It is said that even small amount of poison can be a medicine and large amounts of medicine can be poison.

And speaking of poison… did you know that Castor Plant is one of the most poisonous plants on earth?

In Europe we call it Ricinus Oil, by its Latin name. And it’s not a coincidence that Castor nut shells are a source of toxic substance called ricin. Now luckily the way the oil is prepared it is filtered out of any potential ricin residue but nevertheless, this is a good reminder about the awesome nature of this intriguing plant.


So first:  Why I got intrigued with castor oil:

Ancient remedy that’s been forgotten – but mentioned in TCM, Ayurveda, Bible times, all the way to Egyptian times

There are various claims of systemic benefits but what interests me most are:

Improving sleep – because many accounts of people reporting significant improvement of sleeping through the night without waking during that liver time from 1-3am.

Reducing inflammation – huge!

Treating liver stagnation

Improving digestion

Boosting immunity  (not always a good thing, will explain later)

Tips towards a parasympathetic state (yin) – oxytocin, domanine release


Some claim castor oil boosts glutathione production a – very crucial component in any healing protocol as well!  Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find any evidence of this other than some strange study about preserving rat lenses.

Tons of intriguing claims about benefits but let’s talk about those side effects and precautions we must take before applying castor oil liver packs.


My experience showed that Castor Oil Packs can

-activate a nervous system,

-stir up immune reaction

-put a strain on the heart

– feel tightness in liver area

-get all emotional, easily agitated

– sensitive to sound and light.

My mother accidentally fell asleep with her first pack and next day experienced splitting headaches.

I have a friend who cannot do the remedy at all as it stirs up his auto-immune condition. Makes him flare to the point of braking out in new skin lesions which is pretty devastating.

** I did more digging and apparently a lot of people are experiencing flare up of their symptoms and have experienced insomnia….


One of the things I always do before starting out with any therapies or herbs is to check their properties in TCM and Ayurveda. That is because both of those ancient healing traditions have a lot deeper insights about botanical compounds and their energetic properties.

Ayurveda: main purpose to get the body’s functions moving.  TCM: used to help move stagnation and to decrease dampness in the body. These claims can also point us towards potential clues to our question…

No 1 clue – Natural Immunity Booster – can increase the count of T-11 cells and the production of lymphocytes in the blood within hours of application. Now, normally this is great because it pushes the body’s limit to produce more antibodies such that it can battle viruses, fungi, bacteria, and even cancer cells.

However, those with auto-immunity or chronic inflammation can stimulate their immunity even more and that is not always a good thing when your immunity is already mistakenly attacking things that it shouldn’t and can make things much worse ….

No 2. It stirs up stagnation. Castor oil even when applied topically signals the gallbladder to dump bile. If we have liver or gallbladder diseases, gut dysbiosis, low bile or stomach acid then a sudden increase in bile function can upset a delicate balance and invite a reaction.

Research shows our bile can actually carry toxins that are produced inside our body – endotoxins. It is very possible that bile carries all these byproducts of inflammation into our gut and recirculate via the enterohepatic system activating our immune and nervous system.

So this is where we have to be CAREFUL!  People who have significant toxicity and slow drainage pathways (detoxifying organs aren’t functioning optimally) can push their luck and tip their body into a Herx reaction – which is basically due to your body not being capable of draining toxins at the rate that they are released (WATCH MY VIDEO IN DRAINAGE).

As a result, this can temporarily stir up inflammation, food sensitivities, raise your cortisol levels.

This can increase your total body burden or the so called sensitivities bucket and make any underlying conditions worse.

No 3 clue: GENETICS. Which is related to my previous point.. And as you see from this study on Genetic Biomarkers of Metabolic Detoxification

“Genetic variability and dietary factors may affect the function of detox enzymes, thus impacting the body’s sensitivity to toxic substances of endogenous and exogenous origin.”

Basically genetic variances, environmental toxins and other interferences can either slow or speed up the liver phases, lower  glutathione production, suppress enzyme activity and your overall ability to process toxin burden unleased by this powerful remedy of castor oil liver packs.




Most advice is an hour, two hours or overnight. This can be way too much!

So if you get a reaction – STOP. Let your body catch up on cleaning up the waste, second, when starting again, start low and slow

Most recommend bed time but Do it in the morning! So that anything that is released has time to be processed and bound to food fiber.

Hydrate a lot (Dr. Marisol, who is a big advocate of COP in USA) thinks that people who react badly to castor oil usually indicate that there is an issue with hydration and minerals. This certainly seems very plausible but as I mentioned there are many other factors involved like your drainage ability and autoimmune conditions.

BINDERS. Experiment with binder when you are doing the pack. That way what is being released can also be bound up and taken out in your BM’s rather than recirculated. Binders are an extra layer of protection from a highly reactive immune system.

I’ve found advice to take the binder before, also after it is all over the place but personally I do after and I also stimulate the bile with some fat so that it is released and get into contact with the binder.

If you have a chronic health issues, I would only start with 20-30 minutes a couple times a week and slowly build yourself up to an hour. But be very disciplined with timing because during the therapy it feels very good and it is extremely tempting to keep it longer! 😊)

I was Silly of me to do it three days in a row and then take a break… the body needs to catch up with drainage of all of the stuff that is released. Need to take it slow… every other day or every two days and then a break…


Don’t be alarmed if initially if you develop side effects.


Most importantly – listen to your body and apply common sense. I am glad I backed off in time but didn’t get scared and drop it entirely.

Had I gotten alarmed of my initial sleep disturbance I would not have received the benefits that I have now. Gentle is the way to go.

Lastly to my fellow insomniacs: it helps to have sober expectations with any of these therapies. Chronic insomnia is rarely fixed by one pill or one therapy but there will be things that can help tip the balance and castor oil pack seems very promising.

Good luck and let me know what your experience has been. Sleep better!

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