Most people I know don't jump straight to castor oil first. For myself, it would be one of the last things I tried. But in general, yes, things that stimulate the intestines could jump-start a uterus that is already very close to going into labor.
Most natural "induction" methods don't actually induce labor, they just encourage labor in a body that is ready to go into labor. Things like pineapple, EPO, and spicy foods won't put a woman into labor if her body isn't already ready for it -but some methods are more uncomfortable than others, which is why I wouldn't try them first. It's much more enjoyable to eat curry with a side of pineapple than to give yourself awful diarrhea or shoot water up your tookus.
Some "natural" methods like the cohoshes are truly induction methods and can be dangerous if applied incorrectly, which is why I mention below that that would be my absolute last-ditch attempt at starting labor. I take it that your friend wants to go into labor so that she can experience it, but that she will still end up having a c-section? If that's the case, I'd stay away from cohosh and from the less-comfortable options like enema and castor oil and just do the things with less impact and leave it up to fate.
Cut and pasted/edited from a previous post I made:
- orgasm (regardless of whether it's from sex or solo work) causes uterine contractions; semen (absorbed vaginally or through ingestion) contains prostaglandins that help ripen the cervix
- walking, exercise
- things that stimulate the intestines
(and may cause uterine contractions), like castor oil, spicy food of any sort, or an enema
has some effect on your body's prostaglandin production, ripens the cervix
- oregano and basil
- not sure how they work, but these are the reason that all those labor-inducing eggplant parmesan recipes work. It's not the eggplant, so pretty much any oregano/basil-heavy dish will do.
- evening primrose oil
, applied to the cervix, to aid in prostaglandin production (you can insert a gelcap before bed and leave it in overnight)
(sometimes you need to LET GO to let labor happen!) through rest, visualization, and some women drink a little wine
- nipple stimulation
causes oxytocin to be released, which causes contractions. Do it yourself, or use the falling water in the shower, or use a breast pump, or combine it with the sex recommendation above.
- google this to see images of where to apply pressure
- call around and see if practitioners specialize in labor induction
- RRL tea
- uterine tonic, helps to tone the smooth muscle of the uterus when used regularly through pregnancy
- black cohosh, blue cohosh
- this would be the LAST thing I tried, and I would only do it under the supervision of a very knowledgeable herbalist midwife