5 Things You Need to Know About Castor Oil Packing to Detox Your Liver

Castor Oil

1. The History of the Castor Oil Pack

The therapeutic usage of castor oil packing was first discovered by Edgar Cayce (1877-1945) and is now regarded by naturopaths around the world as a very effective tool for liver detox. 

2. The Method of Action that the Castor Oil Pack Uses to Liver Detox

The essential fatty acids, in particular the ricinoleic acid that castor oil contains, encourages movement of chemical energy within the body, resulting in a detoxifying effect. 

Castor oil also contains all the colours of the spectrum and colour & light are crucial to energy production and movement within the body. 

3. Reported Benefits of the Castor Oil Pack for liver detox include

It has been reported that castor oil packing has many benefits to health. The health benefits include:

  • More effective elimination of waste
  • Reduction of nausea
  • Pain relief
  • Improved digestion
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Increased relaxation
  • Immune enhancing benefits

4. Who Shouldn’t Use A Castor Oil Pack for Liver Detox

Castor oil packs shouldn’t be used in pregnancy as you do not want to create a cleanse when someone is pregnant. They can be used in a pre-conception programme with the aim of cleansing before conception takes place. 

You should also make sure that you are moving your bowels well when doing castor oil packs to ensure that whatever you are shifting is actually exiting the body.  For that very reason it is advised to do them together with enemas (read my blog on coffee enemas for liver detox here).

They can also be used on other parts of the body but you must ensure you pack your liver at the same time and, as mentioned above, that you are using enemas to see that waste out of the body.

5. How to Do A Castor Oil Pack for Liver Detox

  • Take your castor oil packing material (cotton – I use the large one from Nutrigold and cut it in half) and fold in two.
  • Drizzle the castor oil over the cloth – it needs to be wet (but not dripping) – you can aid this process by rubbing the cloth together on itself to spread the castor oil around more thoroughly.
  • Place the castor oil pack over the liver (located on the right side, underneath the right side of the rib cage. 
  • Either use a castor oil pack holder to prevent leakage or place a big old sheet or towel over it and pin in place. Wear some old clothes over the top as it is very greasy and will probably stain your clothes / bed sheets and is very difficult to get out of fabric.
  • Place a hot water bottle or heated wheat bag over the top of that area to warm the oil – this assists its uptake by the liver via the skin.
  • Because it can create a lot of elimination it is wise to start by packing for just 15 minutes 3 consecutive days in a week.
  • The next week you can increase this to 30 minutes if you are reacting ok, 45 minutes the week after, and so on in 15 minute intervals until you are up to 1 ½ hours for 3 consecutive days a week.
  • Because they are very calming they should ideally be used in the evenings, but this is not essential – whatever fits your lifestyle.
  • Ideally a castor oil pack would be followed by a water enema the next morning if possible to ensure that whatever is being released is being fully exited from the body. 
  • The pack can be stored in a plastic sealed bag or a container in the fridge and reused for 30-40 times (i.e. around 2-3 months) before the cloth needs to be discarded and a new pack made – if you keep it longer the oil may start to go rancid. 

If you are interested in reading around the benefits of castor oil packing take a look at William A McGarey’s book, “The Oil that Heals”.

5 Tips on How to Detox This Spring Equinox

5 Tips on How to Detox This Spring Equinox

Next month sees the arrival of the spring equinox on the 20th March. The spring equinox is the most powerful time of the year to detox our bodies.

The spring equinox is the point in the year at which the Earth’s axis begins to tilt towards the sun. It is the point where we move from the dark into the light and from the winter into the spring. We see signs of renewed life all around us as a result of the increased warmth and light, don’t we?

5 Things You Need to Know About Coffee Enemas

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), at the time of the spring equinox the alignment of the planets causes our energy to switch from hibernation state to a more open energy that allows us to cleanse.

At the spring equinox we are also moving into the wood element, according to Chinese medicine, which is all about the liver. It’s a great time to cleanse our liver that works so hard for us every day. This liver is also the planner of the body – it governs purpose and vision.

So how can we make the most of this forthcoming opportunity to set us up for our plans for health and wellbeing for the year ahead? Well here are five tips to get you on your way for your detox this Spring Equinox!

Why not book a FREE 30 minute Health and Wellbeing Review with me, to see how you can detox in the best way for you personally.

Let your body detox through symptoms

Around the time of the forthcoming equinox it is possible that our bodies will try to cleanse more. This could take the form of rashes, excess mucus production masquerading as a cold, vomiting or diarrhoea for example. If we let our bodies cleanse without suppressing the symptoms, we can often feel better than before we started!

What’s the best way to do so? Number one is rest! How many of us actually do this when we are ill? It’s not acceptable in our fast-paced modern society to rest when you have “just a cold” for example. But our bodies need to conserve energy to cleanse themselves of anything unwanted, so let’s give them a fighting chance.

Read my blog on 7 Natural Cold Remedies for natural remedies we can use, to help aid the symptoms of a cough and a cold. 

Fresh air, daylight and hydration are also important when we are trying to cleanse. If you are resting in bed, open the window so that you have a flow of fresh air coming into the room. And for your daylight prescription, 20 minutes a day of daylight straight into the retinas can be invaluable.

We hear the phrase, “feed a cold, starve a fever” don’t we? But the phrase is actually, “If you feed a cold, you’ll have to starve a fever.” Digestion takes energy and if we are not feeling like eating at that time, we should listen to our bodies – they are trying to conserve energy for healing. Give the body that energy by resting, hydrating and either fasting or keeping our diet as simple and as liquid as possible. This will allow the body the energy it needs to heal more rapidly and effectively.

Hydration is the foundation for detoxification

Water for detoxification

We cannot cleanse effectively if we are dehydrated. Hydration is essential for detoxification. It allows waste to exit our cells. It’s also essential for the flow of lymph which helps to filter unwanted substances from the blood. It aids the circulation of the blood which takes waste away from our cells and brings nutrients and oxygen to them. It allows us to form urine for excretion of unwanted substances and to eliminate toxins via our bowels. It allows us to take in nutrients from our food.

Pure water is essential to every single cleansing process in our bodies. But I rarely meet people who are taking in 2 litres of plain, still, pure water on a consistent daily basis. If this resonates with you, use this month to start building up your hydration levels in line with the advice in my blog on hydration.

Using your diet to detox

Use this month to work on moving away from ready-made processed foods and towards fresh and whole foods. Maybe thinking about switching to organic fruit and vegetables that are free from toxic pesticides. Also have a think about moving to organic meat. Do we want those nasty toxic substances that go into non-organically produced meats’ feed inside us, such as antibiotic residues which we know can destroy our gut flora? The same applies for eggs – maybe use this month to switch to organic eggs too. Have a think about the source of your fish – is it Wild Alaskan, from the least polluted waters, or is it full of mercury residue?

If you are vegan or vegetarian think about consuming more wholefoods, such as freshly prepared shortgrain brown rice or pulses. It can be easy to have an unhealthy vegan or vegetarian diet that is full of processed or microwaveable foods.

All of us will do well to stop using the microwave. Microwaves change the structure of whatever we put in them to the point where our bodies don’t recognise it as food or drink, rather as a toxin that we need to get rid of.

Have a think about whether you have any foods in your diet that are stressful to the body such as gluten and dairy, or toxic to our bodies such as damaged fats, sugar or salt.

The change of the seasons is also a time to think about eating local and seasonal produce. Our bodies need different foods in the autumn and winter than they do in the spring and summer.

Fasting for detoxification

Fasting is not suitable in pregnancy or breast feeding, for people with eating disorders, for diabetics or people with kidney failure unless under supervision, for people on medication unless your prescribing physician states that you can stop your medication for the duration of the fast, nor for those people who are very weak, very depleted in energy or significantly underweight.

If you are not in any of these categories, you could fast for 1-3 days without supervision over the spring equinox. If you are a beginner to fasting and haven’t got a clean diet already, you might want to think about a simple fast like a mono fast, where you eat only one food for a day.

A shortgrain brown rice fast is a nice one for beginners. If you can’t bear the thought of just eating plain shortgrain brown rice for a day you could add some good quality cold-pressed, dark glass bottled, organic extra virgin olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon for flavour (which technically isn’t a mono fast, but whatever gets you through the day!). Use a pound of dried organic shortgrain brown rice, soak it in some filtered water for around 8 hours and then cook it well in plenty of filtered water for an optimal hydrating effect. Refrigerate and eat hot throughout the day.

You could also choose a single vegetable or fruit (although if you have candida or blood sugar issues you might want to stay away from a fruit fast because of the amount of fructose it will introduce). You want about 3 pounds in weight of the one fruit or vegetable, spread throughout the day. Grapefruit is a great choice as it helps the liver to detoxify effectively. Other ideas include lightly steamed (3-4 minutes) broccoli, carrots, apples, pears or grapes.

Make sure whatever you choose is organic. Also eat in a state of calm with no distractions and chew your food well to maximise digestion so that more of your energy can go towards cleansing instead of trying to digest.

Other options include juice fasting and water fasting for those of you who already have a clean diet and are ready to really cleanse! I recommend that water fasts are done for 24 hours unless under the supervision of a qualified nutritionist. For a juice fast I recommend 1 or 3 days without supervision. When you give the body the chance to cleanse, you can get all sorts of reactions as it lets go of those toxins.

If you are doing a 1 day fast you will need to do 2 days beforehand to walk into the fast and 2 days afterwards to walk out of the fast. This means eating less protein rich foods, cutting out animal produce and processed foods, eating more wholefoods (so no refined carbohydrates like white rice or white pasta) and increasing your intake of raw fruit and vegetables during that time. If you are doing a 3 day fast you will need a three day walk in and out.

Ideally you want the day before and after your fast to be a day where you are eating only raw fruits and vegetables if you are doing a juice or water fast. Breaking a fast with heavy meals can shock the body, leading to a stress response, and stop the cleanse that you have worked so hard to produce!

Natural detox techniques and aids

Do some detoxification techniques to aid elimination whilst on a fast. If you start to allow your cells to cleanse but you are not excreting your waste efficiently, you can do more harm than good and feel dreadful. Enemas and castor oil packs are two naturopathic techniques that offer a great way to ensure that the waste gets out of the body.

man stretching on seashore
Yoga pose | Photographer: Artem Bali | Source: Unsplash

Having a gentle stroll in nature or some yoga can help to move your lymph, enabling those toxins from your cells to move and be processed by your liver. A pinch of cayenne pepper in some freshly squeezed lemon or lime can help to move circulation to ensure that your blood is getting those toxins from lymph into liver for elimination.

The other thing is to rest! If we aren’t resting we are thwarting the bodies attempt to use its energy to get those toxins out. Give yourself time off if possible whilst you cleanse over the equinox, perhaps even go away somewhere peaceful.

And remember that just the sight and smell of food can stimulate digestion even if we aren’t eating, so it’s not a great time to socialise around food or be cooking for family so bulk cook beforehand if you have to cook for the rest of the family so that you aren’t having to cook during your fast.

With under three weeks to go until the biggest cleanse of the year, preparation is key to making the most out of this opportunity to give our bodies a really good spring cleanse!

If you want to find out the best ways for you to personally detox, click here for a 30 minute FREE health and wellbeing review.

Oil Free, Raw Vegan Pizza

This oil free, salt free and low fat vegan pizza is tasty and SIBO friendly! A courgette crust, layered with a tomato and lemon sauce and topped with tasty veggies such as tomatoes and avocados. Enjoyable for the whole family!

5 Things You Need to Know About Coffee Enemas

Picture of coffee beans on a white backgroundWith the spring equinox coming up on the 20th March 2020, there is no better time of the forthcoming year to cleanse the liver. Coffee enemas are a simple and effective way to do this.

How do coffee enemas work?

Coffee enemas have been around as early as the 1800s. Studies done in the 1920s showed various therapeutic effects from coffee enemas. Max Gerson, founder of the Gerson Therapy, further studied the effects of coffee enemas and used them as part of his treatment programmes.

When a litre of coffee solution is introduced into the colon it passes through the colon wall into the system of blood vessels that take blood from the intestines to the liver, the portal system, as opposed to passing through the whole digestive system. This is the reason why I personally do not recommend coffee colonics, but only enemas.

Various compounds in the coffee have specific effects. For example, the palmitic acid that coffee contains, increases glutathione S-transferase, an enzyme critical in quenching free radicals and the master-antioxidant used by our liver to detoxify toxins, by 700%! Free radicals can cause damage to our cells and our DNA.

The coffee also causes the bile ducts to dilate so that more toxins can be excreted through bile into the intestines for exit out of the body. At the same time the theophylline and theobromine in the coffee cause dilation of the blood vessels, allowing more blood to pass through the system for filtering by the liver.

How will I feel after a coffee enema?

Most people report increased mental clarity and energy after a coffee enema. They can also help to normalise bowel movements, particularly if you suffer from constipation, contrary to many people’s fears that using enemas will make the bowels weaker. The fluid actually increases peristalsis, the movement in the gastrointestinal system that aids the movement of substances through and, in the case of unwanted or indigestible substances, out of the body.

However, coffee enemas are not suitable for everyone (see below) and certainly if you feel wired or jittery afterwards with as little as a teaspoon of coffee then it would be wise to try the alternatives suggested below instead.

How to make your coffee enema solution

Organic Ground Coffee

Coffee enemas should be done with organic ground coffee and never instant coffee! I would suggest starting low with a teaspoon if you are sensitive to coffee or you have anxiety or adrenal fatigue and see how you get on. If you have no health issues and don’t fall into the category of people who shouldn’t do a coffee enema listed below, then you can start with a heaped dessertspoon of ground coffee. You can slowly increase up to as much as 3 tablespoons if there are no adverse reactions.

  • Place the coffee in a non-aluminium pan with two pints of filtered water. The filtered water is essential, as tap or plastic bottled water will introduce more toxins into the system.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil and allow it to boil for 3 minutes, then simmer for another 15 minutes.
  • Strain the solution through a stainless steel fine meshed sieve or through unbleached coffee filter paper and allow it to cool to body temperature.
  • Top up to 1 litre with some body temperature filtered water and place in your enema kit.

If you are pushed for time and don’t have time to let the mixture cool down, you can just use half a pint of liquid in your pan and top it up to make a litre of body temperature water with a mixture of cold and boiling filtered water.

Open the tap at the end of your enema kit over a sink or toilet and let the fluid run through the tube until you have fluid with no gaps all the way along the tube – the gaps are air bubbles, which should be got rid of as they make the enema difficult to administer. You can help the process by squeezing the top of the tube where it meets the bag. Close the tap as soon as you have released the air bubbles.

Picture of an enema kit and its components on a white background

It’s a good idea to add about 10 oral magnesium drops or a magnesium citrate capsule opened up into the solution, stirring well. Coffee enemas can cause a loss of electrolytes so this helps to re-balance things. Ideally a pint of freshly made green juice a day (unless you have digestive issues) can be a great way to re-balance those electrolytes, as it floods the body with potassium. It is also preferable to do a coffee enema in the morning as the caffeine can affect sleep.

How to administer a coffee enema

Grab a thick folded down to place underneath your bottom and lie down somewhere comfortable within quick and easy reach of a toilet. Some people like to do enemas in the bath as they find that the heat enables them to retain the solution. I find that slightly pulling apart with both hands on my lower abdomen helps me to retain the enema. Others find that lying on their right side with their legs pulled up slightly can help them to retain. Then hold the enema for 15 minutes and release it into the toilet. It will help you to retain it if you have had a bowel movement beforehand or flushed out your colon with a water flush enema beforehand, using one to two pints of body temperature filtered water and allowing it to be expelled as soon as the urge to defecate comes.

Coffee enemas are not suitable for everyone

Enemas of any description should not be used during pregnancy. Some people are very sensitive to caffeine.

Some people have a genetic variation which means they cannot detoxify caffeine efficiently. Other people, particularly people with adrenal fatigue / M.E., can find coffee enemas too stimulating.

Coffee enemas would also be contraindicated with diarrhoea; heart, kidney or respiratory failure; inflammatory bowel diseases; removal of part of the colon or intestines; high blood pressure and post-surgery unless under supervision from a qualified naturopathic nutritionist.

Whilst absorption of caffeine is minimal with a coffee enema in comparison to drinking caffeine, there is still some absorption taking place.

It’s also important to make sure you are well hydrated, i.e. you are drinking 4 pints a day of still, pure water – read my blog on hydration for more information on the best way to get yourself hydrated. Coffee enemas can be quite dehydrating on the body so are really not a good idea until you have your hydration levels up.

If you are unsure how you react to coffee, start very slowly with a teaspoon of coffee in your coffee solution. If you react ok to this, you can then start to slowly increase a teaspoon at a time.

If you find that you cannot tolerate the caffeine because it makes you feel wired, gives you palpitations or causes shallow breathing or a feeling of anxiety, then you can try an enema solution with 2 level teaspoons of choline bitartrate powder instead of caffeine. This is also good for cleansing the liver but does so in a much gentler way.

The other option, as long as you do not have Coeliac disease, is wheatgrass powder. Ensure the wheatgrass powder is pure and organic and start slowly with a ¼ tsp in your enema solution. Wheatgrass enemas are harder to hold onto because they are so detoxifying.

7 Tips to Support Your Recovery from Colds this Winter

It’s that time of year again isn’t it? Everyone around us is sneezing, coughing and coming down with something or other. We can turn to the cupboard above the sink in the bathroom, but first let’s look at the natural remedies we can use to help aid the symptoms of a cough and a cold. 

I was looking forward to some well earned down time over Christmas and New Year. Well, I got some down time, but not in the way that I wanted it, but instead I got two weeks of mostly being in bed with a streaming nose, cough, sore throat and debilitating fatigue. This got me thinking about natural remedies of a cold and a cough.  

So how can we ensure that we support the body during this time? Here is seven natural methods for you to consider if you’re suffering with the sniffles. 

1. REST! 

 When I was doing my naturopathic training, this was the one that surprised me the most, being one of those A type personalities, who wanted to “do” something to get rid of an infection or just ignore it and try to carry on! In today’s society it is no mean feat to take time off from our multiple commitments, whether it be work, family or other pressures. 

But rest and relaxation are absolutely crucial. Your body cannot be in repair mode at the same time as defence mode i.e. being active and being under stressSo take this time out to sleep if your body is telling you to and do whatever you can to relax. It will speed up the healing process! Ignoring this advice back in the 90s was the start of decades of ill health for me.  

2. PMA! (Positive mental attitude) 

Our bodies cannot be in the state of fight or flight at the same time as rest and repair. If we are in fear mode this will put our body into fight or flight, meaning the immune system is not be able to work as effectively. So consider this a time to have a bit of down time, look after yourself and when all that mucus is coming up just visualise it getting those toxins out of your body and your body seizing the opportunity to have a good cleanse! According to Antoine Bechamps, infections take hold when the right toxic environment in the body exists for that to happen. 

3. Hydration 

My regular readers will not be surprised to see this in here, but possibly surprised to see this at number three. Our lymph and circulation need to be flowing beautifully for our immune system to effectively get those toxins out. We need to be hydrated with pure, clean & still water to do that. Read my blog about hydration here to find out more. We also eliminate toxins via sweating, urination and bowel movements so we need to be adequately hydrated to do so. 

4. Fasting 

The saying “feed a cold, starve a fever” was actually originally “starve a cold lest you feed a fever”. Digestion can take a huge amount of energy, particularly when eating the wrong sorts of foods. The issue of whether to eat or not is debated, but my opinion is that the body knows what it wants. If you feel hungry, eat things that are easy to digest and warming to your system such as soups or broths, but if you have lost your appetite and don’t feel like eating, don’t force yourself.   

5. Fresh air and light 

The 19th century naturopath Sebastian Kneipp was renowned for his success in using fresh air and sunlight to support the body’s healing abilities. When you are feeling ill it’s tempting to just shut all the windows, whack the heating up and lie in a darkened room. But the body needs fresh air to supply oxygen to support the healing process and daylight provides energy to our cells. So wrap up super warm, put the heating on and open the window to get a flow of fresh air into the room and, if you can, pop your head out of the back door to get some daylight directly into your retinas.   

6. Detoxification techniques 

There are several naturopathic techniques that can be used to support the body’s detoxification pathways. Techniques such as enemas, lymph brushing, castor oil packing, etc should only be used with the guidance of a qualified naturopath. However, one simple technique is sweating! I have a far infrared sauna – its a bit like a tent that you can pop up in your living room and allows you to sweat out toxins. I find it extremely helpful to accelerate my recovery when I’m experiencing the sniffles, sore throat, mucus, etc.  

7. Supplements 

When your body is under attack, another instinctive reaction for us natural types is to load it full of supplements. Less is more when dealing with an acute. I have 2 core supplements that I use – a short course of zinc citrate and liposomal vitamin C. That said, I never recommend supplements without seeing a person first as supplements can interact with medications and certain supplements are ill advised with certain conditions.   

If you’re suffering from a sore throat or cold at the moment, why not give these natural methods above a try and see how you feel? And most importantly … get some rest!  

Disclaimer: Please note this blog is not intended to provide medical advice or replace the advice of a qualified medical practitioner. These are just natural methods to support the body. If you are experiencing symptoms please consult a qualified medical practitioner.  

Green Dream Detox Juice

The ultimate green juice, naturally sweet with apple, spinach and parsley. The kick of the ginger and lemon will wake you up in the morning!

5 Common SIBO Testing Mistakes

SIBO is fast becoming recognised as one of the main causes of IBS in over 60% of people.  With that in mind, I wanted to write a quick blog to explain the importance of getting tested in the right way.  I can’t tell you how often I see clients who have come to me having done a SIBO test elsewhere that has been conducted with several mistakes.

So here are 5 common SIBO testing mistakes to check out when you are going for a SIBO test:

1. Is the SIBO test testing for both methane and hydrogen gas?

The herbal anti-microbial supplements used for methane are different from those used for hydrogen, so it is important that the test looks at both gases.

2. Is the SIBO test using lactulose or glucose to detect SIBO?

10g lactulose is my go to substrate to use in testing because it picks up the majority of the small intestine.  If a client does a SIBO test and it comes back negative, but I have a strong suspicion of SIBO I will then test glucose next, as glucose picks up SIBO in the upper part of the digestive tract.  A glucose test alone won’t necessarily tell us what is going on in that lower part of the small intestine.

3. Is the SIBO test a 3 hour test or a 2 hour test?

It is important to see what is going on in that third hour as in the third hour we expect to see a rise in gas as the substrate hits the large intestine and the bacteria there ferment it.  However, if someone has a flat line across the whole of the test with no rise in that third hour, it is possible that they actually have a third type of SIBO, hydrogen sulphide SIBO, which again requires different supplements and even a different diet.  I myself had a flatline SIBO test which I was told by the lab I used to use was negative.  It turned out that I had hydrogen sulphide SIBO which had gone undiagnosed.  I want to prevent you from having the same false test readings.

4. Is the machine calibrated regularly and is carbon dioxide gas measured in the breath samples to check whether they are valid samples or not?

This can be important in determining the accuracy of the test as many mistakes can be made when collecting your breath samples.

5. Have you followed the correct preparation ahead of the SIBO test?

I’ve seen clients be given foods in their prep diets that can skew the accuracy of the test.  I have even seen clients who haven’t been told about the importance of doing a prep diet before testing, what supplements to avoid, etc.  All of these factors can affect the accuracy of your test results.  It is important that whoever you are working with gives you clear and accurate prep guidelines.

If you suspect that SIBO might be behind your IBS, I hope that this blog will help prevent you from wasting your time and resources on sub-standard testing methods and coming away with false negative or false positive test results.

Or read my blog on IBS and SIBO here

Chocolate Fruit & Nut Clusters

These fruit and nut clusters are ideal as a sweet treat over the Christmas period, or even as a lighter alternative to Christmas pudding.

Kohlrabi Slaw

Kohlrabi is one of the ugliest vegetables I know. It looks like it should be a root vegetable but it is, in fact, a brassica – part of the same family as broccoli and kale. You can eat all parts – the bulb and the leaves – both raw and cooked. It is delicious steamed, sautéed, roasted, in soup or stew, or eaten raw. • To roast, steam the bulb for 5 minutes, then roast for 45 minutes. • Steam (up to 12 minutes). • Stir fry (up to 6 minutes). • The leaves can be cooked like cabbage.