Laxatives have one purpose, to treat constipation by simply increasing the movement in your bowel.
There are laxative in liquid form, capsules or powder form. While some laxatives may do “the job” fast, with others may take some time before a noticeable results are felt. Also some laxatives are good (health wise) for you, while others if taken for a longer period of time may even harm your colon and intestine.
Edgar Cayce believed that castor oil is good to use mainly outside the body, not inside (Cayce used castor oil as a pack therapy to treat different kind of problems including constipation) in order to bring the body back to a state of normalcy.
In Bach book, Natural Healing castor oil can lead to dependency if used for a longer period of time, but according to other sources castor oil seems to be OK to take internally (some time) as a “super fast laxative”.
Castor oil is one of those natural laxatives that “does” the job effectively. But as any other laxative, castor oil should not be used over a long period of time as it may lead to dependence.
A friendly word of caution: castor oil works really fast, so do not take it at bedtime.
Laxatives are good to use when your body does not eliminate and empty your colon regularly. Ideal remedy for constipation is a diet change, eating and drinking more liquids and eating less processed and starchy food.
However, if you decide you need to use laxatives, get natural and safe products, follow the instruction and do not make it a habit. All you want is to empty your colon, without having negative side effects.
So please do remember: always follow instructions when dealing with laxatives. As far as caster oil, unfortunately this oil belongs to a group of “stimulant laxatives that irritate the intestinal wall, stimulating peristalsis and it can damage the bowels with habitual use, thus leading to dependency.” (according to Balch in Nutritional Healing)
Healthy laxative alternatives are Flex and Psyllium Husk.