272: Castor Oil for Digestion, Health, and Beauty With Dr. Marisol Teijeiro ND 272: Castor Oil for Digestion, Health, and Beauty With Dr. Marisol Teijeiro ND

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Katie: Hello and welcome to “The Wellness Mama Podcast.” I’m Katie from wellnessmama.com. And this episode is going to cover all things poo because I am here with Dr. Marisol Teijeiro, I hope I said that right, naturopathic doctor, and she is a world leader, renowned for her passion for cleansing and gut health. After receiving her degree as a naturopathic doctor, she completed her international speaker certification to help share her challenges with irritable bowel syndrome as 14% of our world’s population experience the same struggles daily. She was crowned the “Queen of Thrones” by her patients. For over 15 years, she has trained and educated healthcare practitioners and helped thousands of patients transition from irritable bowel to owning their throne and thriving. She also has a lot of expertise surrounding castor oil, which we’re going to go deep on today. But, Dr. Marisol, welcome, and thanks for being here.

Dr. Marisol: Well, thank you so much, Katie. I’m really excited to talk to you today.

Katie: So first of all, I would love to hear because having been through my own health journey and having a big health struggle and then overcoming it, I feel like there’s so much power in a story. And I would love to hear your health journey as well. Because from what I know of you, you didn’t always start off as the practitioner, you were first the patient. Is that right?

Dr. Marisol: Absolutely, yeah. My entire life, I grew up in a family, we’re Hispanic, Spanish background and living in Canada. And my entire family had issues with their bowels and I didn’t realize it. Because when you’re within the family, like, everything is normal that we’re all doing together, right? So my mother would be constantly constipated. And my father, he would have the runs very often. It’d be like something would irritate him and he’d be running to the bathroom. And I kind of fit kind of midway in-between my parents. I kind of would, like, switch. I’d be constipated. And then I would run to the bathroom. And this followed me from when I was a child.

Like I remember being at school, having problems, having accidents. And all the way up until really, like, I became a naturopathic doctor and really learned how to deal with things. And the thing for me was this, was that it was our normal. And so we talked a lot about it at home, but it was just normal. So we never seeked care or attention for it. My parents didn’t have the ideals that we have these days about changing our food groups or anything like that, right? They didn’t realize the connection. So I went along, like, merrily living my life, but not very merrily basically. Because I was uber-dependent of the bathroom.

Every time I would travel somewhere, I’d always be like, “Where is the bathroom?” I started to, in my early 20s, carry, like, spare pairs of underwear in my purse because it could be that bad. Like I could be at the grocery store, coming out of college, going to get my groceries, and suddenly I’d be in the lineup and I’d be like, it’d be an instantaneous, like, Oooo, right? Like, I’d have an accident. I didn’t realize the impact that it had on my life until later on. And I started, like, talking to my girlfriends. And I started talking about poo more to people. And what was interesting was this, was that in my family, in my home, we were so open with, like, talking about our stools.

Like I would recall my mom like bringing us into the bathroom and showing us, like, her pebbles or her sausages, like it was just like, it was interesting. We just had a really open conversation about it. But out there in the world, when I would start to talk to people about it, and because, I guess, I was trying to feel my way, like, “Am I the only one who’s dealing with this? Is this normal?” And this is back, you know, I’m going to date myself here. But I didn’t really have that much internet access in my early 20s. We only really had it at the colleges or in universities. So it wasn’t like, and Google…I wasn’t least overly, like, researching online, right? All the research that we got would be like in libraries and such, right? So, the availability of information that we have now was so different.

So it wasn’t until I started talking and asking people and I realized, “Wow, people are really, like, they don’t like to talk about it too much. But what I’m noticing is that this really isn’t normal.” So I started investigating, and then I ended up working in this amazing company, which was an international natural company, and it introduced me to naturopathic medicine, chiropractic medicine, alternative medicine, health food stores. And I just had, like, an entire life change and I was really trying to get healthy. Because I was sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. I was fatigued. I was carrying way more weight than I needed to. I would be, again, like running to the bathroom or not going to the bathroom. And I just always felt bloated. People would say, “Hey, like, are you expecting a baby?” And I looked pregnant, right? So I was fed up.

And I started learning about things at the health food store like castor oil, that’s where, when my passion for castor oil started to get ignited. Lots of things that I wouldn’t do because I was scared. Or I would do too many things and just have, like, opposite effect, right? So it was a real, real journey of, like, discovery. And then finally I started going to go visit naturopathic doctors. And I went from doctor to doctor. I actually ended up going to see five naturopaths. And what would happen was that they would put me on specific diets. And every time I did the diet, I would actually feel sicker, like, so I was being put on cleanse diets and I would feel sicker and sicker. And I would go back to them and I’d say, “I’m not feeling good.” Like, it’s day five and I got, like, up to day three, you feel sick and then you start feeling better. Right, like a natural healing crisis? And it wasn’t the case.

So that’s why I kept on jumping doctors. And then finally, I went to one and I said, “I’m doing these diets and I don’t know what’s going on. But could we possibly, like, test my foods? Like, maybe there’s something going on with me in terms of the foods I’ve been eating.” And so this spurred me into like, the whole, like, Ooooh. And what ended up happening was that my foods I was consuming, like most cleanse diets with time are all based on rice and broccoli and almonds, and it turns out that those were exactly my food sensitivities, right? And that was just one step. And then later, then I was like, “Okay, I gotta go become a naturopathic doctor and I got to find out about this stuff because I’m just in love.” So I went back to school, stress got the better of me in school, of course, for all of us.

And naturopathic school is something that is intense. It’s like I was putting in about 80 to 90 hours a week in terms of studying and being in class. And naturopathic doctors have just a load to learn because it’s not only the natural stuff, but it’s also, you know, we have to be really well aware of all the conventional tools and treatments, and be able to converse. And so it was just an enormous amount of information in a small amount of time, and over a four-year period. And I had a burnout, a massive burnout in my third year going into my clinical year to the point where I was always fatigued but I had an underlying energy level, like driven by cortisol. So I was always, like, doing well, however, like, but not amazing, right? I was doing good but not amazing.

However, that third year moving into my fourth year, I crashed. I couldn’t even get out of bed. I remember calling my mother and being like, “Mom, like, I’m devastated. Like, I’m about to finish my schooling and, like, I have my one-year clinical residency and I can’t even get out of bed. I can’t complete it.” And, like, you work so hard for something and it was my dream to really help people. And I just said, “You know, there’s got to be something that I’m doing wrong.” And the thing was that I was doing a good diet at that point in time. I did discover my food sensitivities. I was exercising. I was, like, taking the right supplements, so to say… But I wasn’t doing anything to really manage and balance my stress, right? And that was really the key problem.

And I had recalled being spoken to a lot during my time as a brand representative and with the different naturopathic doctors about things like a castor oil pack. And I had never, like, ventured to do it just because it was too messy, it was, like, a bit of a disaster at the time. And I finally said, “You know what? Everyone has spoken to me about this forever.” In naturopathic college, they spoke about it to be good for every single condition. No one really got into the depth of what it actually did. But I said, “You know what? It can’t hurt.” So I kind of created like a makeshift castor oil pack. I started doing the packs. And like little by little, like these packs, I was doing them every single day, I was doing them overnight. Sometimes I’d do them two or three times a day, because I was bedridden so I had nothing better to do but that. And little by little, wouldn’t you know it, that I started to, like, regain my strength. And I started also taking the philosophy of, like, it’s not a race, right? Like, there’s no race to the finish line. Like, this is a journey, right? Like, I don’t have to be putting in like 80, 90 hours in school, like I can, like, balance things out and make time for myself.

So I had a whole shift and a whole change. And what I realized was this, was that, like, my stools were really dictating how I felt day-to-day basis, right? And I’ve always been a keen observer of my stools. So I was noticing, you know, I’d do a castor oil pack and my stools improved. Or, you know what? I try to do meditation and, hey, my stools are getting a little bit better. Or I eat these foods, I’m doing better. And so I just realized that we can define and dictate so much from our stools and then people just really don’t understand this. So this kind of took me throughout my entire trajectory in clinical practice. And I became, like, a huge fan of castor oil packs. A huge fan of teaching and training people about their stools. And to this day, like, you know, I use my stool as kind of like my mood-o-meter and my, like, health-o-meter and my at-home lab test.

I’m like, “Uh-oh, my levels of stress are getting too high. I have to, like, reassess and see what I can do to manage things better.” And it’s how I built my practice, was through basically teaching people about poo and teaching them about castor oil packs. And like, I have a thriving practice here in Canada and it’s just amazing, like the power of poo. And people literally like, when they come in now to see me, like they’re kind of, they’re waiting for the poo conversation because it’s like the first thing that I talk with all my patients about. And so my overall plan has now become to really change how the world is talking about stools and our poo from infancy all the way to as we age. So that we really have an understanding and can become our best doctor at home, right? Like, be able to manage it, like, the best we can with that availability that we really do have like a lab at our disposal every single day.

Katie: That’s so fascinating. And a funny story, so my family, we did not talk about our stool at all really growing up. That was kind of a taboo topic. And then when I met my…who would be my future mother in law for the first time, it was…a long story, my husband and I were on this cross country walk. He wasn’t my husband at the time, obviously. And my hair was falling out, which largely because I was not sleeping at all during the night and I was walking 20 miles a day. So super logical in hindsight, and then she had some experience in natural health. But the first question she asked me was, “Well, what’s your poop habits like?”

And I’m like, “What?” Like I was so caught off-guard because it was just not a topic that we normally talked about in my family. But I think you brought up a really interesting point because you mentioned that your family, like all of you kind of had digestive issues, which kind of goes back to that question of, is it nature or nurture? And what do you think the root causes are? I know that there can be many obviously, but for you specifically and in your family and then now what you’ve seen with your patients, do you think it was a genetic factor or was it more lifestyle or was it a combination of both?

Dr. Marisol: That’s awesome. That’s a good question, Katie. I really feel it is truly a combination of both. Just even take…I actually have a down-to-now philosophy and I call it the faith factor in terms of our gut health and our stools, and it’s based on five principles. So number one, we need to have our function working. So we need to be digesting and absorbing and eliminating. A, we need to have good antioxidant status. I, balanced inflammation. T, we need to balance our tension and our stress. And H, we have to be a hostess with the mostess. So, there’s an environmental component and then there’s the genetic component, right? Because, like, take me, so I’m of Spanish background. What do Spanish people eat, like, over the generations? We eat rice. We eat paella. Where most people have a gluten sensitivity, like, I’m fine with gluten. Like, gluten does not bother me at all.

Mine has been, in general, more inflammatory of a food. But for me, it doesn’t cause any issues, but rice does. And that most definitely is a genetic component. Like my father is from Spain. Like, all of our meals were consistently with rice. And then my mother, she’s from South America, which is Uruguay, which is a beef and a cattle producing country. And over her generations, they grew up on dairy products, right? And so, sure enough, those are two of my strong sensitivities in my food. So that’s just one example, like, your food, how, like, both, you know, genetics was playing a role, but because I was also over-exposed to it on a daily basis in our family, in our household, because it was just the way that we ate. But had my parents switch their diets off.

And later on in their life, like, obviously, once I became a naturopathic doctor, not that they believed me, I was a doctor because you’re kind of always a child in your parents’ eyes, right? Like, no matter what. But we would run, lab ran their food sensitivity testing. And sure enough, my father from Spain, sensitive to rice. My mother from South America, from Uruguay, sensitive to dairy. So it’s like a 50/50 thing. And so everything in my opinion is modifiable because we just need to learn what we need to do. And in a family, in the situation, like, I love talking about the host and what’s called the microbiome or the bacteria within our gut, there’s the symbiotic bacteria which are the good bugs and then there’s the bad bacteria, which I like to call con-biotics, right? Because they’re, like, con artists, they take up space in the gut instead of, like, the good bacteria make B vitamins for us and the con artists, they don’t make good bacteria.

But, like, in a family and in a home, and this goes for all the moms out there that are listening, all of us, is that we are transferring our bugs constantly within the family. And there’s a genetic component to us having the type of bugs we have in our gut, but just being in the environment together, we’re sharing our bacteria, especially like after we go to the bathroom and we have a stool, a bowel movement, right? Because I always say, like, 30% to 50% of your stools approximately is made up of bacteria. So every single time that you have a bowel movement, you basically, like, nurture the throne, what you’re doing is you flush and you’re actually spreading bacteria out into the air.

And it’s one of the reasons why they say cover your toothbrush in the bathroom because otherwise you’re basically, like, brushing your teeth with poop, right? Because you’re getting all that splatter or that particulate matter onto your toothbrush. And so the next unsuspecting victim that walks into the bathroom, basically, they get a whiff and they get basically a transfer of these bacteria, whether they’re good or bad. So then that’s why in a family unit, you’re going to be seeing very similar symptoms. And so people will always say, “Oh, it’s genetic,” but it’s such a 50/50 and a balance. And I really feel that you can truly modify. And that’s why I’m out here from clinical practice, I’m still in clinical practice, but I’m really launching worldwide and internationally to really teach this because there’s so much that we can do.

And it’s also a personal project for me because Latin American people, like the stats in terms of IBS, like we spoke, 14% of people and that’s only the people who’ve actually gone to the doctor and said that they have a problem with the digestion. Because how many people out there don’t realize and haven’t been diagnosed that they actually have an issue with digestion? And I’d venture to say that the stats are a lot higher. But what’s interesting is that’s, like, based out of the North American population. When you take like a Latino community, a Latino, Hispanic, Spanish community, their rates of IBS jump up, all the way up to 21%. So it’s more common in my background to actually have an irritable bowel syndrome. So that’s one of the reasons why it’s become my passion project but it’s such a great question.

Katie: Yeah, and such a great explanation. That was so helpful. And so I want to circle back to castor oil packs and understanding their mechanism more because they’re something I’ve also experimented with and used over the years. It helped my husband when he had digestive issues, not strictly for digestion, but I found they were helpful after my C-section, once the incision had healed somewhat was to reduce the scar. I don’t know if that’s actually an approved use but it seemed to work for me. But I’m curious, can you walk us through…first of all, explain in detail what is a castor oil pack? And then walk us through, like, what’s the mechanism? What’s it doing to the body?

Dr. Marisol: Awesome. Awesome. So this is what I love, like castor oil packs, when I first got introduced to them and really, like, all I heard about was that, “Oh, it moves things and it’s good for your body and in every single protocol, like, put it in,” right? It was kind of one of those things that we just all knew it worked. No one really was bringing the research to light. So I really made a mission of this. It’s been 15 years that I’ve been delving deep into castor oil packs. So I venture to say very comfortably that I’m, like, the expert in castor oil and castor oil packs out in the world. So what’s really interesting with castor oil practice is this, it’s a very, very, very old, legendary practice, in fact, there’s records of castor oil and castor oil packs being used biblically.

We’ve got Egyptian culture using it. We’ve got Caribbean cultures, all the Mediterranean basin, Romanians, they won’t call it castor oil, they’ll call it ricinus because that’s the Latin name of the oil. But you can see it in traditional Chinese medicine practices, the castor oil pack compress. You see in Ayurvedic medicine. And then it was popularized in the 1800s to the early 1900s, both with the resurgence of all the natural medicine in Germany and then in the United States of America with Edgar Cayce who was, like, a spiritual healer. And that’s kind of where the castor oil pack started and then it was adopted into the naturopathic practice.

The castor oil pack is simply, it’s a cotton flannel, it’s usually four layers of cotton flannel. Basically you apply castor oil to the cotton flannel, and then you apply it on to the body. Before, my way of doing it, it was like about 12 or 15 steps, you put the pack on your body, you’d, like, wrap it all up with, like, Saran Wrap. That’s a step I do not like nor do I approve because I don’t feel we should have that kind of plastic next to our bodies or our skin. You know, our skin is such an absorptive organ, and then you would, like, lay down, you would ideally not move because castor oil could stain and you’d go to bed.

So what I did is I revolutionized that and made it a lot simpler. So I have it now down to, like, three steps, like it’s based on the acronym, like, COP, compress, apply oil, place it on your body. So super easy and we can do it. And you don’t have to necessarily lie down there if you’re not ready for that. You can actually just like move around and just start to get accustomed to the relaxed state. Because I know that for me and for many of my patients, you know, when I first approached them about doing castor oil packs they’re like, “You want me to, like, lay down for an hour or, like, relax for an hour? Like, I don’t even know what that is.” Right? Like, I’m sure you’d feel the same way about that, right?

Like, so many of us started at that point, like, we were just like, “We don’t even know, like, what relaxation is.” And that was my case absolutely. So it’s a starter, like to get you started in learning what relaxation feels like. Because the thing with castor oil packs is that you feel relaxation right away. But ideally, you wear it, I now am recommending people to really wear it overnight because that really is where you’re going to get the most power. You’ll get power with a pack with an hour usage but you’ll definitely get much more effectiveness if you’re doing it overnight.

And the actions of castor oil, I’ve summed it up, and it goes back to what I initially said about what I call the faith factor. So that faith factor is what we require as the five pillars that are going to support our health. And why I love and I’m such a fan and it’s my very first prescription, castor oil packs, with all my patients, is because castor oil packs is one of the only modalities in natural medicine that supports all those five factors and those five pillars that make us feel great, right? And it goes back down, again, function of the digestive tract, and I’ll get into detail. Antioxidant status, inflammation balancing, tension balancing, and host-host balance.

So when it comes to castor oil packs in the function of the digestive tract, castor oil, it does…an incredible thing is that it’s researched to be able to actually target smooth muscles, so the intestine and the uterus. Those are the only two places that have the smooth muscle in the body. And so what it does is it actually stimulates prostaglandin E3 receptors because castor oil actually really looks like one of our anti-inflammatory molecules in our body, like a natural anti-inflammatory molecule, but this molecule also is what regulates smooth muscle contraction.

And so castor oil will help you to, like, actually have good bowel movements and have good elimination. And castor oil, also because it’s so healing to the gut as it being a great oil, like full of antioxidants like omega-3s, omega-6, omega-9s, also supports like your glutathione. That’s why we’re getting into the crossover of it being a really good antioxidant. Like, castor oil helps also heal and improve your digestion and your absorption, right? So it’s like that’s kind of the first part of it, how it works in terms of the function.

And then the antioxidant status, what castor oil, how it blows me away so much and why people use it for things like scarring, etc., is that it works with inflammation just because of its natural chemical structure and this is all very well, well, well researched. It works with inflammation. But castor oil, initially, it was thought that when people would take castor orally, there’s some moms out there who, you know, are taking castor oil orally to like induce labor because, again, it makes the uterus move so that when you’re about to have your baby or you’re overdue, castor oil is one of the ways that you can even get things to move.

How castor oil does that is actually via stimulating… It’s not an irritant that, like, people thought in the past, but it actually stimulates nitric oxide, which is super amazing. Because there are so many things like, besides like the Viagra, like the erectile dysfunction drug that stimulates nitric oxide in the body, and then, of course, beet greens, beet juice, but nitric oxide is a super anti-ager but also it brings circulation to the area. And also what helps things to heal. So when you’re talking about the gut healing, that’s one of the mechanisms of action.

And when you’re talking about scarring, nitric oxide improves scarring because it brings circulation to the area, and when you bring circulation to the area, you can modulate inflammation and you can just have an overall, like, treatment, like, aspect that’s really helping it to heal. So, some neat stuff that we’re learning about castor oil and castor oil packs.

And then another aspect of that antioxidant status that we spoke about, essential fats, omega-3, omega-6, omega-9s, you got vitamin E in there, you got other essential fats. Glutathione improvement, nitric oxide improvement. But castor oil packs will also help to improve oxytocin. Oxytocin is, that’s a love and connection molecule that we get when we’re connecting and bonding, breastfeeding with our babies. But oxytocin is also when we get big hugs or when we’re making love to, like, our spouses. So we need more oxytocin in our life because it makes us feel very good, right? It connects us and it makes us feel grounded, right?

So this is why a, like, castor oil pack, when you do a castor oil pack, you immediately address your tension and your stress. Like the minute that the pack is placed on your body, you’re stimulating receptors on the skin, you’re targeting the nervous system, you’re switching your body from hassled and frazzled all the way over to, like, relaxed and, like, resetting yourself. And bottom line is this, we have so much tension and so much stress in our lives that if we’re not actively doing something to practice our relaxed state consistently, we will get burnt out.

And for moms, this is so, so important. Because we are juggling so many different things from kids, to work, to keeping the house, like everything. Like, we have, like, five to six jobs. Like, I know you have so many children, right? So you have all your businesses, but on top of it, too, all your passion projects, on top of that, too, you’ve got all your kids plus your husband, your home. Like, these are all these things that we’re managing. Hopefully we have partners that are really great with us, but that stress becomes overwhelming and does not allow us to heal.

And so the castor oil pack, just that placing it on the body, immediately, it will switch you into a relaxed state. It stimulates oxytocin production, it stimulates dopamine production, more feeling-good hormones. It helps you sleep well at night. So these are all the areas in which you heal. And some of the most recent research that has come out with castor oil goes down to that host effect, is that we are the hostesses with the mostess. And for good digestive health, we need to have a good spectrum of nice bacteria. And in periodontal medicine, they’ve actually been testing castor oil in terms of it helping to improve the microbiome by breaking down biofilm. So we’re resetting our gut bacteria when we’re actually doing castor oil packs topically on the gut. And so you can use a castor oil for oil pulling as well, too.

So it’s just amazing. Like, I am hard-pressed and I’m always looking to see, like, is there another treatment that will actually do all those five things? Like will it help with the function of the digestive tract, get your bowels moving, digestion and absorption? Will it help with antioxidant status, and nourishment of the body? Will it help with rebalancing inflammation, because inflammation is good, if it’s balanced, it will help to heal, it will break down scars, all those things? Will it help with our tension and our stress? And will it help with helping us to adjust our host microbiome, right?

So it’s just one that, that all-in-one and what’s one of the reasons why I start patients off, like my most common prescription for patients is, the first visit, we’re putting them on castor oil packs, probiotics and then whatever their presenting symptom may be. If it’s sleep problems, I’ll jump them into GABA, or melatonin, magnesium. But the base always begins with castor oil packs, alkalinizers, and probiotics, just because I want to set that found-,… It’s the foundation, it’s the five pillars that’s going to allow people to really get their health to the next level.

And any practitioner that you talk to who is an avid fan of castor oil packs, they all say this, they go, “When people are doing castor oil packs, every single thing that they’re investing in and doing, all the supplements, all the beauty care products, all the everything that they’re doing just works that much better.” Because now, you’ve created the foundation, so everything can work. And, like, what better thing is that? We’re spending so much money on supplements, on time, on things, if it can make it work better and faster, why not?

Katie: Yeah. That was such a comprehensive explanation. I’ll make sure that we link in the show notes at wellnessmama.fm to your specific packs because, like you said, they’re much easier than when I first had to do them and it was this whole big process. And I’m so glad you said the word “biofilms” also because this is a word I’m seeing more and more in the research. Like, there definitely seems to be a lot of understanding happening about these right now. But they’re still not part of mainstream knowledge, I feel like. So can you explain to us, first of all, what is a biofilm? And how do you know if you might have one?

Dr. Marisol: That’s so awesome. Yeah. Biofilm is like the new area of research within the gut microbiome. So biofilm basically, like, you have…we have trillions of bacteria living within our body. And like I said, many of them are good for us. They are symbiotic, they help us, they create B vitamins, great things. And then we’ve got those con-biotics that are not so good. And they cause problems, like, you can take even just in the oral cavity. These bacteria will cause cavities, right? Just as an example.

The biofilm is basically like this matrix, you could say. It’s like a mucous membrane that’s created by the actual bacteria themselves so that they kind of have a nice protective home. So it’s like a barrier. It kind of keeps them within the mucous membrane of all of our digestive tract and also, like, on our skin as well, too. And this membrane makes it very difficult for natural antimicrobials to have an effect. And even sometimes antibiotics, right?

Antibiotics are clearly more potent, so they’re stronger at breaking down the biofilm. But in certain really, really chronic diseases, like, say, things like Lyme’s disease, that’s like one of the worst bacterial infections that we could have. This biofilm is so strong and it’s such a protective barrier that it’s so difficult to get at it. And so this is the reason why castor oil packs are so great because it’s like a daily practice of really working to reset that microbiome. And the studies that were done were actually done in the oral cavity comparing it to conventional microbiome or biofilm breakdown, things like chlorhexidine, like mouthwashes that are used in periodontal medicine for dental health. And what they noted was that in vitro, in the actual test tube, it was the chemicals that worked better. But in the human body, castor oil worked a lot better.

So this is now one of my recommendations. I actually recommend people to do, you know, oil pulling with castor oil over things like coconut oil or sesame oil. Just because the castor oil will work that much better because it’s got that great research in terms of it helping to break down the biofilm, that barrier, and then your body being able to naturally balance out the microbiome. And, of course, you still need to take things like probiotics because if we’re trying to change and create a change in our digestion and within our whole mucous membrane, which really is from, like, gums to bums, we do really still need to add in the good stuff so then that way, our body has a chance to kind of reset itself. Because if you’re, again, you know, exposed and you’re that unsuspecting victim that walks in after someone into the bathroom and you get exposed to, like, bad bacteria, you need to be supplementing this with the good strains, then that way, you can, like, really reset your microbiome. But you need to target the biofilm, right? Or otherwise, it’s like you can’t get the prisoners out of the jail, right?

Katie: Yeah, that’s so good. And a lot of the people listening are moms. And so, of course, you touched on it a little bit, but I know we’re going to get the questions, “Is this safe for kids?” “Can pregnant women do this?” “Can women who are nursing do this?” So I would love to, like, go deeper on that. And then from there springboard into, as moms, what can we be doing to give our kids good digestive habits for their whole life? So hopefully, like, I know, you probably hope as much as I do, that my kids never have to go through any of the health problems I’ve been through. So, what can we do to give our kids solid digestive foundations from the very beginning?

Dr. Marisol: Awesome, awesome. Good questions. So, let’s start with pregnancy, because number one, pregnancy, so that is probably the contraindication for castor oil, which means that we don’t recommend it. Unless you’re following the natural path and you’ve been doing castor oil packs for years, then it’s a different scenario. But like I said earlier on in the podcast, castor oil is used as a stimulant to induce labor, right? Midwives are well-known for this practice. So we tend to even avoid doing castor oil packs topically, of course, unless you’re followed by your practitioner. So, I would say castor oil during pregnancy, let’s keep it away. Unless, of course, you’re trying to induce labor, right?

And for kids and in nursing, that’s where castor oil is actually an incredible tool. It’s safe for nursing moms. So if moms are doing castor oil packs, that’s not a problem at all. In fact, if anything, it will actually help a mom. Because castor oil, the wonderful thing about castor oil, it’s one of the only oils that actually can transfer through the epidermis, which is the top layer of skin, and get deep into the dermis and then go into the circulation and go into the lymphatic system. So if moms are doing a castor oil pack and then they’re breastfeeding, nursing their babies, they’re going to be having castor oil in their blood circulation. And that will eventually do…there will be a little bit of transfer as well, too, into the breast milk.

Now, of course, with our packs, we aren’t over-using castor oil, like we’re using, like, two tablespoons every time that you do a castor oil pack, which is, ideally, nightly. And what this does is that for the baby, as I said earlier on, it’s going to help the baby to actually improve their gut digestion and improve their entire growing of their microbiome. Because with kids, this is a scenario, we are developing our entire digestive tract and our microbiome from, like, once we’re born. We get that first inoculation. Hopefully, it’s at home and hopefully it’s vaginally, a vaginal birth.

We’re trying to avoid hospitals and we’re also trying to avoid, you know, cesarean birth. Because then the spectrum of bacteria that you’re birthed with kind of sets you up for…or digestive disturbances kind of throughout your life. Like I know that was my case, like I was a caesarian-born baby. And I look at my sister who’s, like, a vaginal-born baby and she had a lot better digestive health than I did, right? Being born in the hospital and a cesarean birth.

So it starts from birth and, you know, that little microdose of castor oil through the circulation into the breast milk just helps with, you know, resetting up the gut microbiome. One of the things that I always recommend and it’s such an important time and this is why food introduction is also so, so important with babies during this time, is you want to be careful with things that could cause allergens. And so castor oil, if it’s a modulator of inflammation, you’re going to be having a healthier, more integral gut lining as the babies are growing their microbiome and really learning how to use their digestion.

Castor oil will help to reduce the swelling, it will help to reduce any tension that is on the digestive tract, it will help to reduce the leakiness that occurs with babies, which is one of the reasons why they tend to have more allergy and more issues. So it’s really setting them up to have, like, an excellent digestion over their lifetime. And so during that first-year period, moms nursing, doing castor oil packs is excellent. But what I also recommend oftentimes is for mums to do like an abdominal massage with castor oil starting on the lower left hand side and going up the ascending colon, so the colon goes upwards, kind of doing like a little box, a box shape on their bellies in a clockwise fashion.

And doing that every night with the baby just to really get their digestion, get the castor oil absorbing. And then you also get that beautiful contact with baby and mommy and you get to, like, have a little, like, bonding time. But that’s great to start to set up their digestion. And then as soon as we can get a pack on the kids, we start to put packs on them, right? Because that keeps them in good health and keeps them absorbing their nourishment well. Like it’s just, it so much benefits the kids at reducing their stress, helping… And they get into an excellent health practice that later on in their life will be just gangbusters to keep them healthy and keep them happy.

So you’re really, like your goal in those first three years is really to set up that digestive tract to be well-functioning, have good elimination, be integral and no leaky gaps, and be able to see food, all this foreign matter, and be able to deal with it appropriately and not create those allergies. So really, I’ve seen in, like my practice, like all of our mums who birth babies, like even if the mom had a predisposition for allergy because these moms all have these practices all really well-intertwined in their health care of their kids, we don’t actually end up seeing much allergy moving forward with the kids. So it’s really setting them up to have a really good immune system, a good balance of stress and relaxed, and good microbiome, and good balance of inflammation. So that’s one of my favorite ways to use the castor oil with kids in those first three years of life.

Then, a couple of other really cool hacks with kids and moms as well, too, are these, like if your child has, like, diaper rash. Doing castor oil, mixing it with a bit of baking soda can create a really cool pomade. And diaper rash is often correlated or connected to, there could be yeast, yeast overgrowth, different bacterias that are taking advantage, those con-biotics take advantage of the irritated skin. Castor oil mixed with baking soda and just a little wee, teeny little bit of tea tree oil, you can make a paste, put it into, like, a cream jar. You rub this on diaper rash, it’s one of the best things for diaper rash.

Also castor oil topically on eczemas, whether, dry eczema works excellent. Seeping eczema, it can work as well, too. So all these little common conditions that can happen for kids, you can be using castor oil. And then for moms, what I love, you know, because it’s not only about the baby, but we got to think about moms. Moms sometimes, oftentimes after giving birth, they’ll have thyroid stones, they’ll have problems with their thyroid.

They’ll notice their body’s not working quite well. So doing castor oil packs will help to, like, really help keep that more calm. But in terms of symptoms that moms may be feeling is they might notice that their eyebrows laterally, they’re starting to disappear, they’re losing their hair. So castor oil, you can apply that to the eyebrows, to the eyelashes, and also to the hair. And that can really help with improving the hair growth. And the mechanism of action for the eyebrows and eyelashes is super cool. It’s actually, it’s a nitric oxide. Remember how I said earlier on like it’s nitric oxide that stimulates circulation to the area? So it’s the nitric oxide stimulating circulation to the area of the eyebrows and the eyelashes and to the hair. So feeding and nourishing the hair follicle, all those essential fats that will actually help to improve our hair and our eyebrows and eyelashes.

So moms can get a little bit of their cosmetic appeal back because you get so busy. Sometimes, you still forget about yourself as a mom. And then that way, for them, it’s not only about babe but it’s about mom. So castor oil, like my kids, it’s so funny, anything that goes wrong, injury, whatever, bellyache, anything that happens, they’re like, “Can we do castor oil packs? Can we do castor oil packs?” Because they’re just so well-trained now with castor oil and all my patients, too, half the time. They’ll come for a visit and I’ll be like, “Oh, we’re just going to mix castor oil, we’re going to use castor oil for it.” So it becomes your, like, go-to pharmacy at your home.

Katie: I love when you can find, like, the natural things that are just the great go-tos and on the beauty uses. That’s actually what I’ve been using it for years, is for eyelashes and eyebrows, but especially eyelashes. And I always, every time I post a selfie on Instagram, people are like, “Oh, my gosh, how do you get your eyelashes so long?” And I’m like, “Castor oil.” It’s not like any crazy beauty secret. It’s basically castor oil and natural mascara.

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Katie: It sounds like a panacea. So I have to ask, are there any downsides or any risks to be aware of other than, of course, pregnancy? And I’m so glad you explained that so well. But any other downsides anyone needs to know?

Dr. Marisol: Yes, absolutely. So castor oil orally, it’s approved by the FDA and also by Health Canada for oral use. But really, orally, I reserve it for the cases of, like, severe, severe, severe constipation, like we’re talking about maybe like six, seven to eight, like where it’s severe and nothing else is working, I would then recommend that. There are on occasions with certain people and patients where…and there’s a practice done in the Caribbean, Mediterranean Basin, which is, and India, which is where people take, like, a tablespoon of castor oil every week, just to kind of, as a clearance and helping with the microbiome, but also to make sure that the bowels are flowing well.

So that’s one of the ways that I like doing castor oil orally. But people have to be careful that they don’t overdo castor oil orally because this nitric oxide shift in the gut that occurs when you take castor oil orally, what it does is it moves electrolytes and it can do so very strongly. And so they used to always think that castor oil is like an irritant to the digestive tract. So it’s not actually an irritant. In fact, if anything, it’s like the most healing substance to the digestive tract. But what it can do is it can have big electrolyte shifts. And in fact, there’s a big historical connotation to this. People who have Italian background, in fascist Italy back with Mussolini, Mussolini used to use castor oil as a torture tool.

And, in fact, what he would do is that he would give castor oil to people to get them to confess because what would happen is they would have such a strong diarrhea. And many times people would die from this diarrhea as well, too, because they just unbalance their electrolytes so strongly and it would become a problem. So that’s one area that you really want to be careful with castor oil that you don’t overdo it or that you take it. So really like that is probably the biggest thing with castor oil that you have to be careful with is that you don’t overdo it taking it orally.

And that’s one of the reasons why I love, love, love castor oil packs topically because it’s just going to be that ideal that’s really going to help you to get a little bit of a dose every day. And it isn’t sometimes about micro-medicine. Micro-medicine and what everything is doing around you is probably the key. Another thing with castor oil that I think I have to emphasize is this, is that castor oil in itself is something that it carries things into the body. So we really have to be careful about our packaging when it comes to castor oil. Castor oil placed in a plastic bottle is going to be absorbing all the plastics. And then we’re going to be bringing that into our body when we’re doing treatments.

So we just want to be cautious that when we’re doing castor oil, we always have it to be organic. It should be hexane free as well, too. And that because we don’t want any chemicals to be added in, in the distillation or the clearing process of castor oil. And we want to always make sure that it’s pure and natural and in a dark glass bottle. And as a side note, toxins travel in oils. So, that’s one of the first things that I say to my mom or to any of my patients that, “If there’s only one thing that you can buy organic, ideally, you do them all. But there’s only one thing, you know, the oil should be first and foremost because toxicity travels within it.”

There is talk out there in the internet world about castor oil being toxic, right? And there being a molecule called ricin in castor oil. So if you know like the anatomy, a castor oil plant, and they’re actually, what do you do when you get castor oil is you’re taking the seed of the castor oil plant and you’re cold pressing, and especially for our purposes, that’s the best way to use a castor oil. You cold press it and then you have basically just the oil. There’s the protein meal of the castor oil, which actually contains something called ricin. And ricin actually is completely toxic to the human body. It actually is used in biological warfare.

So I’m really glad that you brought up this question because I get this so often and it’s so miscommunicated out there because so many people believe that there’s actually ricin in castor oil, but there isn’t because ricin is a protein and castor oil is an oil. So during the extraction process of cold pressing, ricin is completely separated. But this ricin can stop your DNA multiplication, like, within six hours in the human body. So it’s one of the reasons why, out there, people are like, “Ooh, you got to be careful with castor oil.” So people are aware, ricin is not in castor oil, it is only in the protein meal. And to me, it goes to the magic and the sacredness of this oil.

This soil that was used to anoint kings and queens as they took their throne. It would anoint the clergy as they would elevate into their position in the church. It’s known as the “Palm of Christ” that Jesus would anoint the sick with castor oil. This beautiful plant has that amazing yin and yang component to it where it has the ability to heal. The oil can completely heal people. It supports all the five pillars of feeling great. But yet, there’s the other side of it, the dark side of that protein meal, which is not in the oil, emphasized again, but that has the ability to kill you.

So it’s like the perfect balance of good and bad, light and dark of what everything is in this world. So this is why I feel this oil is such a spiritual, incredible, healing oil. And there’s even a discussion that the reason it was used to…castor oil was used to, like, connect the clergy and the kings and queens is that it actually has an ability to calm your nervous system down that it actually helps to connect you to, like, your higher self and to what is out there and whatever you believe, like I believe in the one God, right? So it’s super incredible, castor oil. So it’s good that we know that it is not toxic, but you just have to be careful, don’t take too much of it orally, and always make sure it’s in a glass bottle. And if anyone says that, “Ooh, ricin is in it,” it’s not in the castor oil.

Katie: I’m so glad you addressed that because I’ve gotten those questions as well, of course, on any posts that I have that mentioned castor oil, and I can now link to this and they can hear this explanation.

Also, like our time has gone by so fast. You’re so well-spoken about this and this has been so much fun. A couple questions I love to ask at the end of interviews. First of all, if there is a book or a certain number of books that have changed your life, if so, what are they and why?

Dr. Marisol: Oh, that is such a great question. So my absolute favorite book was the book “Eating Alive.” And it’s written by the naturopathic doctor Steve Matsen. He is actually a Canadian naturopathic doctor. And it was actually what completely revolutionized my life. This book was…and it actually has revolutionized exactly how I am as a practitioner and even on my platform online. This book was joyous and it was all about gut health. And it was my first introduction truly to naturopathic medicine. And what I loved about the book so much was that it was such an easy, comedic explanation about how the gut is working with little characters and comic strips all throughout the book.

And it said it in such simple terms because sometimes as doctors or even out there in the world, we complicate things so much. But truly, like, things are so simple. So, I took this book and this truly was my inspiration to become a naturopathic doctor. I don’t know how many times I’ve read it. Like it’s so, like, well-highlighted. It just is unbelievable and, like, sticky notes all along the side of the book. But this book is like how I’m modeling everything that I’m doing out there for people because I just feel for me, I’m a smart lady. Obviously, now I have a lot more education so I’ve become even smarter over time.

But we all, so many of us out there, we don’t have to have the degree on the wall to have the level of education that, say, I have. Because, like, I highly respect you, Katie. Like, I know you’re one of the persons who has done so much personal research and so much work over time, and that you have such a great knowledge. Same thing in people in health food stores. Like they have incredible knowledge because they’ve been working for so many years in the industry. You just get exposed to everything and then you’ve learned how to weed out the good and the bad. And this book, what it did is it just makes it so simple and just basically made medicine joyful.

And so that’s one of the reasons why my platform, we say, like, medicine is joyous, right? Like, it can be joyous. So let’s make medicine joyous so that we can learn, we can make ourselves healthier, we can make ourselves happier. And ultimately, what becoming healthier and happier allows us to do is that it allows us to achieve our dreams and our goals. You know what? My personal dream as a child was to be this, was to be…this is gonna be funny, was to be Liza Minnelli, Oprah Winfrey, and a doctor. Every time, I would tell my mother this, she’d be like, “How on earth are you going to do all those three things?” And I can safely say that I feel in my life with, like, my Instagram, you know, @queenofthethrones, on Facebook, you know, what I do in terms of our YouTube channel, all the fun, joyful, like, instruction videos that we have coming out shortly, too, all in character is that I’ve been able to, in a way, accomplish all those three goals that I’m still working on and only because now, I have the practices established that our castor oil pack, it’s part of my daily practice. First thing I pack when I go anywhere, which is all the time.

I established my practices, you know, a good diet, good mindset, good exercise, you know, based so much on this book from Steve Matsen about how to keep my life well and support my five pillars. So, that would definitely be the book that if anyone is looking at an introduction into the gut, it’s a great, great book. And I don’t even know if it’s in print still, but if you can get an old copy, it’s a wonderful book, and it’s a gem. And my first book is coming out in the fall. It’s called “Osh*t.” And it’s actually “Osh*t.” And that is really based…not based on that book, but it’s my own interpretation of my experiences with it. But we’ve got the comedic strip, so it’s in that same kind of jaunt. So it’d be great for people to read as well, too.

Katie: That’s awesome. And I love that you said that about being joyful in medicine because I think in general, especially if you’ve had a health problem, it can be really easy to fall into that fearful mode instead of everything being bad or just being afraid. And so I love that, I mean, you obviously exude that with your personality, and you are so uplifting and positive. But I love that you specifically spoke that about medicine, because I think we need that. And I think that’s going to be hopefully part of the shift that we’re seeing in returning to our integrative practices of medicine and understanding the body better. And lastly, is there any parting advice you want to leave with our listeners today?

Dr. Marisol: Yes, I’m a firm believer of practice. And it’s the little micro-movements that tend to be like the biggest game changers in this world. And truly what it is, is it’s about just practicing it. And whatever that may be for you, hopefully after hearing this podcast, that you take on and that it’s a great thing to practice a castor oil pack every day. But what I found over my lifetime is that whatever it was that I practiced and I just did a little bit, a little bit, a little bit every single day, eventually, like, it became just a natural habit. Like, when I first started doing castor oil packs, I would do them for, like, 10 minutes at a time, 10 minutes at a time.

Then I evolved to, like, an hour because I started noticing how great I felt with them. And now I’m overnight, right? So I built that practice only because I was consistent and I was completely committed. So having a practice is about being consistent and it’s about being committed. And if we want to live our best life, we have to do those two things. We need to be committed and we have to be consistent. And we need to find the tools that are going to be the easiest to do and the tools that are going to allow us to have that good health.

So that would be my best words of advice is just adapt to practice. Ideally, start with the castor oil pack. That’s one thing I think that, honestly, I think the world should be doing castor oil packs. And be consistent and be committed with it. And then you build from there, you know, diet. You start working on your diet. You’ll start your supplements. You’ll start all different types of things like, and building and building and building, but just kind of focus on one thing, grow it and then go from there. Right? T practices, like there are so many different things that we can do. And sometimes I think in natural health, we can just get bombarded with so many different options that we’re like, “Oh, my God, what do I do?” You know, start with the ones that deliver the best tools, the best care first, and then build from there.

Katie: That’s beautiful and, I think, a perfect place to end. Thank you so much for your time today. This has been truly a joy. And I think that you have shared so much wisdom that will hopefully help a lot of people. And I’m just so grateful you were here.

Dr. Marisol: Oh, thank you so much, Katie. And thank you so much for what you’re doing out in the world. You’ve been a great force, and it’s amazing. So, thank you.

Katie: And thanks to all of you for listening and sharing your most valuable asset of your time with us today. We’re so grateful that you were here, too, and I hope that you will join me again on the next episode of “The Wellness Mama Podcast.”

If you’re enjoying these interviews, would you please take two minutes to leave a rating or review on iTunes for me? Doing this helps more people to find the podcast, which means even more moms and families could benefit from the information. I really appreciate your time, and thanks as always for listening.

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