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 Post subject: Castor oil
PostPosted: 01 Nov 2021, 15:17 
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Isn't there something especially distasteful about Matey's use of castor oil on girls, when you consider that it was also used by fascists for hostile acts? In Italy and Spain (I think), but also supposedly by the Nazis (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castor_oil). Perhaps ironic really, given that EBD was so opposed to fascism.

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 Post subject: Re: Castor oil
PostPosted: 01 Nov 2021, 21:39 
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I think EBD always went for the remedies she knew, most likely from her childhood. However there is also the question of how much information made its way back to England about what was happening in German and Italian territories, and also what people believed was true or thought was made up propaganda.

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 Post subject: Re: Castor oil
PostPosted: 01 Nov 2021, 23:32 
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I seriously doubt that the Nazis were using the recommended medical dosage, and though it isn't the go-to remedy these days, the oil still has FDA approval and was certainly in use when the books were written. For a nontechnical summary of modern usage, see https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK551626/.

I think the best argument against castor oil these days is not the oil itself, which has a long safety record, but potential abuse of a very nasty toxin produced by the source plant. Back when developing castor beans were popular research subjects, I had to wear a lab coat even to water the plants, since just brushing against them gave me a rash.

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 Post subject: Re: Castor oil
PostPosted: 01 Nov 2021, 23:50 
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I doubt that EBD had the faintest idea that it was used for any untoward purposes. It was very commonly associated with strict matrons or nannies, or indeed parents. Think of Mary Poppins, where Jane and Michael's advert for a new nanny includes the line "Never be cross or cruel, never give us castor oil or gruel".

It was used as a laxative, and late Victorians and Edwardians were obsessed with the idea that laxatives were the answer to everything!

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 Post subject: Re: Castor oil
PostPosted: 02 Nov 2021, 15:25 
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Construing Tacitus in the SCR
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Alison H wrote:
It [castor oil] was used as a laxative, and late Victorians and Edwardians were obsessed with the idea that laxatives were the answer to everything!
Agreed, but if you look at the lack of fruit and veg, and the amount of stodge in a lot of children's diets, I do rather see why...


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 Post subject: Re: Castor oil
PostPosted: 05 Nov 2021, 23:54 
Alison H wrote:
I doubt that EBD had the faintest idea that it was used for any untoward purposes. It was very commonly associated with strict matrons or nannies, or indeed parents. Think of Mary Poppins, where Jane and Michael's advert for a new nanny includes the line "Never be cross or cruel, never give us castor oil or gruel".

It was used as a laxative, and late Victorians and Edwardians were obsessed with the idea that laxatives were the answer to everything!


And if it wasn't laxatives, they were forever giving people emetics. No wonder a lot of them were 'delicate' if they were constantly being reamed out.


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 Post subject: Re: Castor oil
PostPosted: 06 Nov 2021, 13:28 
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It isn't just the Victorians and Edwardians that were obsessed with laxatives to promote health. Products to keep people "regular" turn up depressingly often through the years as the current health fad. Even today, "gut health" is a strong selling point of "pro" and "prebiotics" which, at best as one proper scientific study tactfully put it, should they survive transit through the stomach (which most don't), are removed from the system rapidly.

There's far less excuse today, when we are aware that the best diets should contain high levels of dietary fibre and a good mix of fruit, veg. and pulses, than there was for the Victorians and Edwardians.


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 Post subject: Re: Castor oil
PostPosted: 06 Nov 2021, 17:30 
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Did I read about a woman, maybe a well known writer (?) who was seriously abused by her nanny/governess with endless doses of laxative so that in the end she could hardly leave the house? It’s a hazy memory.

As someone who spent a large chunk of the 80s and 90s battling serious IBS and all the doctors who would only prescribe more fibre, or yet more awful peppermint oil, and nothing at all for the crippling pain, I am so glad no one ever gave me castor oil.

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