Castor oil has been applied for treating constipation for ages. Castor oil laxative effect was even known by ancient doctors. However, the usage of castor oil as a laxative remedy may have side effects and nowadays scientific researches are carried out to prove whether it is safe to use castor oil as a laxative.
Castor oil laxative properties
When castor oil enters the small intestine it is broken down into the ricinoleic acid. The acid adheres to EP3 and EP4 receptors in the intestine mucous membrane. It speeds up digestive activity and stimulates the walls of the colon. Moreover, the oil lessens fluid absorption in the intestines. And it is well-known that when people suffer from constipation they need more fluid. Castor oil also acts as a lubricant for easier movement in the intestines. According to Wikipedia the United States Food and Drug Administration calls castor oil a safe and effective laxative means. Read more about castor oil for constipation.
Dosage of castor oil as a laxative
According to Dr.Mercola and World Health Organization the daily intake of castor oil should be no more than 0.7 mg/kg body weight. It equals to one teaspoon for children and one tablespoon for adults.
There is a liquid and capsule form of castor oil (get to know where to buy castor oil). Capsules are taken with water. Liquid castor oil is taken diluted in juice. If you want to take castor oil as a laxative always read the instructions on the product package or follow the dosage recommended by your doctor. The laxative effect of castor oil will be after 6 hours of its intake. If you often suffer from constipation it is necessary to take the oil for 3-7 days.
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Precautions and possible side effects
As the ricinoleic acid irritates the intestine, castor oil
- may evoke nausea, digestive discomfort, diarrhea.
- is not recommended for pregnant women as Mayoclinic notes that castor oil in particular should not be used as it may cause contractions of the womb .
- may have adverse effects like itching, troubled breathing and dizziness.