It's so great to read this thread.
I had castor oil during labor - horrid mw at birth center recommended it (didn't realize she was horrid until much later and discussions w/other mamas). She gave me at least 4 oz. in a big paper cup - I cheated and didn't quite finish it. I had horrible, horrible cramping, uncontrollable diarrhea (?) for days AFTER my daughter was born, and it completely ruined any chance of my hypnobirthing technique working because I was rushing to the bathroom every 10 minutes or so.
Despite the supposed labor-intensifying effects of co, I hardly dilated at all in 18 hours (I came in at 4 cm and left at 4 or 5 cm, depending on which mw examined me) and they transferred me to the hospital (I came in with rom - or rather, leaking membranes)... Toward the end, there was meconium staining, and I was incredibly dehydrated. Dd's heartrate was too high and then dropping w/each contrax. A dr. used forceps, and then dd was taken away and kept away from me for a good 15 minutes so the drs and nurses could "work" on her. It turns out she was completely, totally fine and healthy - cord was wrapped around her shoulder and the co probably caused her to poop, but other than that she was just fine. I so wish I had known more - spent time LEARNING more - about co before I went into labor! The birth of my 6 mo daughter is something I still grieve intensely; next time I plan to birth at home, NOT use co, and even if my membranes begin leaking (as they did w/ dd - it was not a complete rupture - another mw in the hospital actually broke them with a hook when they started the pitocin), I will wait to have ANYONE check me internally until I am in active labor - which didn't happen on my own, ever, with dd.. but I'm sure it would have eventually. Doesn't Ina May Gaskin say, "there is no such thing as a stalled labor"?
It appears to me that although co has worked well for some people, the toxicity and potential side effects make it unacceptably risky. That is just my opinion!
Thanks to all for an informative thread!