Castor Oil

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

What Is Castor Oil and How Does It Work?

Castor oil can be used as an irritant/simulative laxative. Castor oil is a natural emollient and a few drops may also be used to remedy dry skin, as a massage oil, and may benefit hair as a treatment. Castor oil contains ricinoleic acid, a fatty acid that comprises about 90% of the oil.

Castor oil is available under the following different brand names: Fleet Castor Oil and Emulsoil.

What Are Side Effects Associated with Using Castor Oil?

Side effects of castor oil include:

  • dizziness
  • abdominal cramps
  • diarrhea
  • nausea
  • electrolyte disturbance
  • low blood pressure
  • pelvic congestion

This document does not contain all possible side effects and others may occur. Check with your physician for additional information about side effects.

What Other Drugs Interact with Castor Oil?

If your doctor has directed you to use this medication, your doctor or pharmacist may already be aware of any possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for them. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with your doctor, health care provider or pharmacist first. Castor oil has no noted interactions with other drugs.

This document does not contain all possible interactions. Therefore, before using this product, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the products you use. Keep a list of all your medications with you, and share the list with your doctor and pharmacist. Check with your physician if you have health questions or concerns.

What Are Warnings and Precautions for Castor Oil?


This medication contains castor oil. Do not take Fleet Castor Oil or Emulsoil if you are allergic to castor oil or any ingredients contained in this drug. Keep out of reach of children. In case of overdose, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center immediately.


Avoid use if hypersensitivity, GI obstruction or perforation, severe impaction, symptoms of appendicitis or acute surgical abdomen, ulcerative colitis and rectal fissures.

Effects of Drug Abuse

There are no effects of drug abuse with the use of castor oil.

Short-term Effects

There are no short-term effects from use of castor oil.

Long-term Effects

There are no long-term effects from use of castor oil.

Pregnancy and Lactation

Consult a physician before use as it may induce premature labor in pregnancy. Safe to use when lactating.

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