Castor oil is oil that comes from the castor oil plant, also known as Ricinus communis. Castor oil is often taken as a laxative to help treat constipation. It also is sometimes taken to help induce labor, although it has not been proven to be effective or safe for this reason. As with any medication, it is possible to take too much and even overdose. Castor oil should be kept out of the reach of children. If you suspect that you or a family member has taken too much castor oil, call your doctor immediately for treatment recommendations and advice.
Determine the amount of castor oil taken, based on what you remember and your condition. Castor oil can be taken in doses ranging from 5 ml for laxative purposes to 120 ml to induce labor. Call your doctor if you feel you have exceeded these amounts.
Look for gastrointestinal side effects that could indicate you took too much castor oil. Abdominal cramping, severe diarrhea and nausea commonly occur. These symptoms also may occur from regular dosage, although they will be more severe if you've taken too much.
Keep looking for any other symptoms that indicate castor oil overdose. You may experience dizziness, fainting, shortness of breath and possibly chest pain. In rare instances, some people may have hallucinations and a feeling that the throat is closing up.
Call 911 immediately if you cannot breathe or experience chest pain. For less severe side effects, call your doctor or the National Poison Control Center at 800-222-1222 for recommendations.