Q:

What is castor oil good for?

A:

Quick Answer

Castor oil is perdominately used as a laxative to treat constipation and clean out the intestines before an examination, says WebMD. It is a stimulant laxative that increases how much the intestines move and process the stool. Because it stimulates the intestines, abdominal cramping, nausea and diarrhea may occur.

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Full Answer

Some women have attempted to induce labor by ingesting castor oil, says Drugs.com. This usage is not recommended, and adverse effects from attempting to use castor oil for this purpose have been reported. It is especially contraindicated in pregnant women who have had c-sections because the abdominal cramping could cause uterine rupture. Since castor oil has laxative properties and can cause diarrhea and nausea, it can also lead to dehydration, which is particularly dangerous for pregnant women.

Alternative uses for castor oil include use in eye drops, wound management preparations, and oral and injectable drugs and vitamins, explains Drugs.com. Allergic reactions, including anaphalaxis, are possible, especially with intravenous administration. Dosages vary from 5 milliliters to 30 milliliters. For laxative purposes, lower dosages are appropriate, while higher dosages have been used to induce labor with mixed results. Always consult a doctor before using castor oil as a medicine or supplement.

Non-medicinal uses for castor oil include softening cuticles, cleansing the face, feeding ferns, conditioning hair, eliminating moles from a garden and lubricating metal, says Care2.

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