There are many remedies that help with cough. Off the top of my head, honey has been shown to reduce night time coughing (Note: do not give honey to children younger than 1 year due to the risk of botulism), and steam inhalations work great to moisten the lungs. I was able to create a great chest rub that goes deep into the tissues below the skin to increase circulation and decrease any inflammation that could be the cause of irritation and cough. And I was able to do this with herbs from my kitchen! Here’s the why and how:
The oil is extracted from the seed of the castor plant (Ricinus Communis). It has been used for centuries due to its therapeutic properties than mainly stem from ricinoleic acid, an unsaturated fatty acid that mainly makes up the oil. It penetrates deep into tissues to increase circulation, promote elimination, and enhance healing. By increasing circulation it increases the mobility and overall effectiveness of white blood cells to better the immune system. Also, because of it’s anti-inflammatory abilities it works great when applied to injured muscles and arthritic joints. NOTE: Do not digest castor oil internally as it can be poisonous in certain doses.
A very warming herb that works to increase circulation and clear out mucus and phlegm.
Also very warming, ginger stimulates circulation, and acts as a diaphoretic, meaning it makes you sweat, which is great for fevers.
Garlic is known for it’s antimicrobial abilities, which is great to have around when battling a cold or flu; it can handle bacteria, viruses and parasites. The volatile oils within garlic are excreted through the lungs, which make this herb very unique and perfect for respiratory infections.
Eucalyptus adds more antimicrobial fighting power and works as a decongestant when breathed in.
Now, lets get started!
¼ Cup cold pressed Castor Oil
1 clove Garlic, crushed
½ Tablespoon fresh Ginger, grated
3-4 drops Eucalyptus oil
¼ teaspoon Cayenne pepper
- Mix everything in a small jar with a tight fitting lid
- Rub onto chest
- Wear an old shirt over top as this is a pretty sticky mess and the castor oil can stain
- I like to put a hot water bottle on top of that as the added heat helps drive the castor oil deeper into the tissues below
- You can leave it on as you go to bed if you don’t mind the mess (maybe consider using old bed sheets for extra precaution), or leave it on for at least 30 minutes and then shower to wash it off
- Store excess in the fridge. There should be enough for a few applications.
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Cayne E (1993) The Oil that Heals, a physician’s successes with castor oil treatments. A.R.E. Press.
Grady H (1998) Immunomodulation through castor oil packs. Journal of Naturopathic Medicine;7(1):84-89.
Hoffman D (2003) Medical Herbalism: the science and practice of herbal medicine. Healing Arts Press. Rochester, Vermont
Klotter J (February/March 2003) Castor Oil Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients.