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Castor oil has been used as medicine for centuries to treat various health problems, such as constipation, osteoarthritis, skin disorders, and stimulating labour in pregnant women. It is commonly used as a natural remedy for relieving constipation. But is it safe to consume it? Studies have proved castor oil is effective at relieving constipation and works quickly. But it is not recommended for everyone, especially children, pregnant women and people with certain health conditions. Read on to learn how to use castor oil to relieve constipation and what safety precautions you should take.
Castor oil is extracted from the castor beans by pressing ripe seeds. The seeds' outer covering (hull) contains a deadly poison called ricin. So, only castor seeds without the hull are used for producing oil. Besides treating constipation, castor oil is also used to start labour in pregnancy and start the flow of breast milk. Some people apply castor oil to the skin to ease osteoarthritis pain and in the eyes to soothe irritation. It is also used for birth control, leprosy, and syphilis. Some studies suggest that a single dose of castor seeds without the hulled can work as a contraceptive for up to 8-12 months. It is also believed that putting castor oil inside the vagina can prevent unwanted pregnancy or cause an abortion. Castor seed paste is also applied to the skin as a poultice for treating inflammatory skin disorders, boils, carbuncles, etc.
Research suggests that castor oil is a stimulant laxative for reducing constipation when taken by mouth. This is because ricinoleic acid, the primary fatty acid found in castor oil, causes the muscles of your intestinal walls to contract and push out the stool. Castor oil can cause a similar effect on the uterus, and that's why it is also used to induce labour.
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