Constipation can be an uncomfortable experience, so it’s only natural to want to find a solution to your condition. Many people hesitate to take the over-the-counter laxatives in favor of a more natural approach to curing constipation. When the prune juice is no longer working, many people consider turning to castor oil for constipation.
Is this really a safe practice and can it help? You’ll want to know these answers before you take a teaspoon of anything.
In this article:
- Why does castor oil work as a laxative?
- Should you use castor oil for constipation?
- What are other potential side effects?
Why Does Castor Oil Work as a Laxative?
There has to be a reason why so many people recommend taking castor oil for constipation symptoms. This oil is highly effective at generating a few bowel movements due to its high content of ricinoleic acid.
While this component can work wonders on your skin and hair, it can wreak havoc in your digestive tract.
This acid can change the actual mucus lining of your intestines, which is what leads to the diarrhea you’ll inevitably experience. Individual cells of the intestinal wall can bind to the acid which causes them to contract and push out their contents.
It works much the same way as other stimulant laxatives will work, with an extremely quick turnaround time.
Should You Use Castor Oil for Constipation?
While it might be effective in the short-term, castor oil for constipation can be extremely dangerous if you ingest it. We never recommend swallowing castor oil in any quantity, regardless of what symptoms you might be experiencing.
The primary ingredient that makes castor oil highly effective can also be extremely toxic if handled incorrectly. Cheap castor oils or those that are prepared incorrectly can have traces of ricin that can be fatal to humans when consumed.
Even with high-quality oils, you could be taking a major risk if you choose to swallow it.
The immediate symptoms won’t show up for roughly two to six hours. It leads to extreme issues with the liver and kidney that can result in death if they aren’t treated quickly. While this condition might be rare, it isn’t worth the risk when you could consume a much safer laxative.
What are Other Potential Side Effects?
Apart from the possibility of ricin poisoning, you could experience other minor side effects that can make you extremely uncomfortable. Using castor oil for constipation can come with a few other unpleasant side effects, including:
- Stomach pains and cramps
- General weakness in your limbs
- Redness and itching
- Racing heart
Keep in mind that using castor oil for constipation will also lead to an electrolyte imbalance. You will need to drink more water in order to stay appropriately hydrated with any laxative consumption.
Final Thoughts: Castor Oil for Constipation
We would never recommend ingesting castor oil for any reason, including using castor oil for constipation. The risk for developing other more serious conditions is simply too great. If you’re struggling with constipation, you might want to consider a specifically formulated over-the-counter medication instead.