Medical and Science

Castor Oil, Better Bring a Porta-Potty

Castor Oil
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic LicensePhoto by  Family O’Abé

Castor oil used to be known as a household remedy in many homes, but not only that, it was also a big deterrent for bad children. That’s right, I’m sure most of you have heard the ole saying, “If you don’t behave, You’re gonna get the Castor Oil“. Just hearing that is enough to make me wanna behave and I’m an adult…lol
Of course now days the generations that used castor oil for remedies and punishment have long past, along with it that parental advice of medicinal punishments. But castor oil is still seen quite often in comedy sitcoms and cartoons, I love the Tom and Jerry episode where Tom swallows that huge spoon of castor oil! Yuk!
These references to castor oil are not quite as funny to today’s generation as they are to older generations, simply because they’ve never experienced the power of this stuff. In fact there are tons of Strange and Bizarre, Medicine and Cures that have been used over the ages, many of which are not so common in today’s world.

What is Castor Oil

So we’ve talked a lot about how the term castor oil has been slung around over the ages, but you may be wondering, “what exactly is this castor oil stuff.


Castor oil is a colorless liquid extracted from the seeds of Ricinus communis, it’s some sort of tropical plant. It was usually given to children by the spoonful as a weekly supplement. Supposedly it had great health promoting properties, if you could ever get the foul tasting stuff down. Castor oil was even used to treat many symptoms of common illness such as colds, fevers, upset stomach and even constipation. For those of you familiar with Lifebuoy soap, a terrible tasting soap used to punish kids for using bad language. Well, castor oil is basically the pharmaceutical equivalent, and yes, it was also used as a punishment in past generations.


The Real Truth about Castor Oil

It’s pretty bad that something like castor oil would not only be used as a medicine, but a punishment as well. That actually sounds a bit abusive in my book. But it’s even worse than it sounds. In modern times, castor oil is only used as a laxative, but it’s not a very good one as I’m concerned due to the nature of how it works.


Basically the reason it works well for constipation is because it will cause your bowels to cramp up which may result in terrible consequences. You could easily expect things like explosive diarrhea, super duper bowel movements while you’re sleeping and just some terrible side effects. Does this sound like something you would take for constipation? Much less feed your children for being bad, right?


In fact castor oil was often used as a torture device by Italian mobsters. It was forcefully fed to victims with the intention of humiliating and dehydrating them.


That’s not all, get this…. The castor bean is a source for ricin. Ricin is a poisonous substance with extremely lethal side effects. Administering a dose as small as a few grains can actually kill a full grown adult!


They say that the methods used to extract the castor oil are safe because they filter out the toxic material during the extraction. But how could one be absolutely certain the oil was free of toxins? That makes me think back to the explosive diarrhea, sure sounds like poison to me!


So there again, why in the world would someone feed this stuff to their children.


Cod-Liver Oil, an Alternative to Castor Oil

The British have used a similar substance called cod-liver oil for ages on their children. Most children in the common household would line up on a daily basis to receive their healthy spoonful of this castor oil substitute. This stuff was literally squeezed from the fermenting livers of cod fish, and talk about a terribly disgusting flavor. Castor oil had nothing on the taste of cod-liver oil. But here’s where they differ…


The cod-liver oil actually did have some medicinal properties, and was not used to torture people. The cod-liver oil was rich in vitamins A and D which would help fight off childhood diseases, plus it was loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. Recent studies proved that cod-liver oil was excellent in treating ADHD, arthritis and even ear infections.

So the British were definitely onto something good with their foul tasting oil, but I guess the rest of us jumped the gun a bit thinking, “Oh boy, this will keep them little rascals walking a chalk!”
Have you ever received your spoon full of castor oil? Tell us all about it…

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15 thoughts on “Castor Oil, Better Bring a Porta-Potty
  1. Wow, sounds like it is a panacea to all the diseases… Pretty cool. I also have this sticky impression how castor oil is yukky…

    1. Yah, I’ve never tried it myself, but from what I hear it was a terrible thing to eat.

      Parents used to force it on their children all the time as punishment after they figured out how badly they hated it. I guess they thought, well it’s good for them and they hate it, so as far as punishments go, it’s a win-win.

      Little did they know, that stuff is not really good for you at all…

  2. love the caster oils,i used to have this when i was a kid,you leanr so much about stuff on these blogs and comments,i enjoyed

    1. hahah, well I wouldn’t use the word “love” and “castor oil” in the same sentence, but to each his own I suppose. 🙂 I’m glad you found something interesting in this post! Thanks for stopping by…

  3. you will love my posts robert for sure lol always interesting lol now i said i love castor oil,not baby oil,you seem to get confused a lot hahahah

    1. Yah, castor oil is probably the worst tasting stuff on the planet, or at least in the top 10. 🙂

  4. Children are much more useful to give a spoonful of walnut oil than a spoonful of fish oil. And less than torture and the use of more.

    1. Yah I will definitely agree those are much better for children than castor oil that’s for sure. Thanks for the recommend Игорь Андреев

  5. With out even knowing about the harmful affects, just on the taste alone, what kind of sick person would want to punish a kid by making them taste something awful? If you ask me, thats more like bullying. Same goes for making them bite down on soap, or starving them to make them feel hunger pains? Do you love your child? Sure the child will recover, but this is torture. Raise a child in the word of God, and he shall keep his ways. If a child misbehaves, a spanking with love, and never in anger is the most effective means of correction. Do not spare the rod , or belt, or what ever means as long as it doesnt take skin, or you will spoil the child. Stay in their life with love, and you will not over do it, nor would you allow them to be tortured. Best of all, give yourself to Christ, and allow the Holy Spirit to tell you how to discipline your kid if you want perfection, God is always right, and God is love. Just my 2 cents.

    1. I agree Jeff! I think it’s a terrible way to punish children. I can fully understand the grounding, or making them stand in a corner until they calm down. But when you start putting potentially harmful substances in their body as punishment, that’s crossing the line.
      Thanks for a heartfelt comment!

    2. “Do not spare the rod , or belt, or what ever means as long as it doesnt take skin, or you will spoil the child.”

      I never got any of those and I assure you I was far from spoiled. If you need to resort to hitting your kid, even if it’s “out of love” not “out of hate,” then you just don’t know how to control a child. (BTW does a smack on the butt “out of love” hurt more or less than one “out of hate”? C’mon, dude.)

      Learn to TALK to your kids; no need to make ’em drink poison or hit them in any way. Just talk to ’em and let ’em know that you’re actually LISTENING. It’s really not that hard.

      1. Even though you are not MyMom, I certainly agree with your take on this, and that’s exactly what this post was trying to point out. Castor Oil is quite dangerous to be feeding your children by the spoon full as punishment due. There are much better ways to reprimand a little one that’s out of control.

        But of course things were much different many years ago, things and views have changed a lot over the years as we gain more knowledge scientifically.

        I appreciate reading your views and thanks for stopping by.

  6. I copped that crap as a kid. Not so much for being naughty, if I recall (although I try to repress the memory) it was for constipation or something. Completely GROSS!

    As you say, a few grains will kill. Walter White was fond of using it. Thought it was great he paid out that b**ch Lydia with slipping it in her stevia. Anyone who drinks chamomile tea with soy milk deserves all they get, hahah.

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