Natural Birth Control
is a loose term which refers to methods of birth control that
are considered "natural"; though what is considered "natural"
varies widely. Generally, natural birth control does not involve
hormonal contraception, nor synthetic chemicals including
synthetic spermicide. Other methods may also be excluded,
depending on how the term "natural" is defined.
Some definitions of "natural" are more lenient and include
barrier contraception used without synthetic spermicide, and
occasionally the copper IUD, which contains no hormones. Some
definitions exclude the use of devices, but include the use of
herbs, natural substances, and behavioral methods. Natural
family planning is the most exclusive in its definition of what
Naturally occurring substances are chemicals, but some
distinguish them from synthetic substances and consider them
"natural". Herbs and substances may be ingested, to interfere
with ovulation or implantation. Some are used to encourage
Other substances are inserted vaginally, for use as natural
spermicides. Examples of these include lemon juice, wild
yam, Queen Anne's Lace (wild carrot), and neem). A
website called Sister Zeus describes many of these methods in
1. ^ Lemon - a History. Lemons and AIDS.
http://www.aids.net.au (March 2004). Retrieved on 2006-08-05.
2. ^ Wild Yam - An Herbal Contraceptive.
http://www.sisterzeus.com (2004). Retrieved on 2006-08-05.
3. ^ Chaudhury R. "The quest for a herbal
contraceptive.". Natl Med J India 6 (5): 199-201. PMID
8241931. See Daucus carota.
4. ^ Mukherjee S, Garg S, Talwar G (1999). "Early
post implantation contraceptive effects of a purified fraction
of neem (Azadirachta indica) seeds, given orally in rats:
possible mechanisms involved.". J Ethnopharmacol 67 (3): 287-96.
Sharma S, SaiRam M, Ilavazhagan
G, Devendra K, Shivaji S, Selvamurthy W (1996). "Mechanism of
action of NIM-76: a novel vaginal contraceptive from neem oil.".
Contraception 54 (6): 373-8. PMID 8968666.
Pomegranate (Punica granatum)
Queen Anne's Lace Seeds (Daucus carota) --- Wild Carrot,
Rutin (Vitamin P) --- 500 mg/day before/after ovulation ---
Rutin can severely stress the kidneys and liver if used on a
Smartweed leaves (Polygonum hydropiper) --- rutin, quercitin,
Cotton Root Bark
Vitamin C ( Ascorbic Acid )
Herbal Contraception in Ancient Times
By David W. Tschanz
( [email protected] )
...Silphium, was an herbal morning-after pill, readily
available to our ancestors a hundred generations ago.
In the seventh century BC, Greek colonists established the city
of Cyrene on the Libyan coast. Shortly after their arrival,
wrote the Greek botanist Theophrastus (ca. 370-288 BC), they
discovered silphium -- the plant that would make them rich and
the city famous. A member of the genus Feula, (commonly known as
giant fennel), a large group of plants with deeply divided
leaves and yellow flowers, the pungent sap from silphium's stems
and roots was used in cough syrups. It also gave food a rich
distinctive taste when used as an additive. Of far greater
importance was its value as a birth control agent.
Contemporary medical authorities were universal in their praise
for silphium's value as a contraceptive. The Roman physician
Soranus, antiquity's foremost gynecologist, wrote that women
should drink the juice from an amount of silphium about the size
of a chick pea, with water, once a month since "it not only
prevents conception but also destroys anything existing." The
herbalist and pharmacist, Dioscorides, author of Materia Medica,
recommended silphium for contraceptive and abortive purposes.
...Another member of the Ferula species, asafoetida, which
gives Worcestershire sauce its distinctive aroma, was also
widely used (though considered less effective) since it was
cheaper and more abundant.
Besides silphium and asafoetida, other plants were recognized
as having both contraceptive and abortificant properties by
ancient women. Hippocrates "the father of medicine" stated the
seeds of Queen Anne's Lace, or wild carrot, when taken orally
both prevented and terminated pregnancy and recommended their
Herbal Contraceptives in Ancient Literature
Other plants used in classical times as contraceptives included
pennyroyal, artemisia, myrrh and rue. In Aristophanes' 421 BC
comedy The Peace, Hermes provides Trigaius with a female
companion. Trigaius wonders if the woman might become pregnant.
"Not if you add a dose of pennyroyal," advises Hermes.
Hippocrates also mentions the value of pennyroyal as a birth
control agent though cautions that it is toxic and has to be
taken in precisely calculated amounts.
Galen (AD 129-199), the foremost physician in the Roman world,
and Dioscorides also recommended the use of pomegranate for
birth control. The seeds were typically used as a pessary,
(vaginal suppository), though one contemporary medical text
documents use of pomegranate seed being taken orally as a
post-coital contraceptive. The best known literary reference to
the pomegranate's contraceptive power is the Greek myth of
Persephone and Hades. Persephone had eaten six pomegranate
kernels while in the underworld and for that many months the
land was infertile during the fall and winter...
Silphium cannot be tested but experiments using crude extracts
of asafoetida in rats, showed that it inhibited implantation of
fertilized ova at rates up to 50 percent. Extracts of
asafoetida's close relatives were nearly 100 percent effective
in preventing pregnancy when given within three days of mating.
In 1986 it was shown that compounds in Queen Anne's Lace blocked
the production of progesterone, necessary for preparation of the
uterus for a fertilized ovum. Women in rural North Carolina and
Rajasthan, India both use the seeds to prevent pregnancy.
Pennyroyal contains a substance, pulegone, that terminates
pregnancies in both humans and animals.
Rina Nissim: Natural Healing in Gynaecology: A Manual
for Women (Pandora/Harper-Collins, 1996)
"Our Experience at the Women's Health Center
We have obtained between 60 and 80 percent effectiveness among
women who suspected an undesired pregnancy. Clearly this figure
does not tell us much because we do not know how many of these
women were in fact pregnant. The women always used two herbs at
one time (most often using either pennyroyal or mugwort, plus
one other herb). The best association has been shown to be
pennyroyal - blue cohosh.
These herbs seem to be very effective for small delays in
menstrual bleeding. Their effectiveness drops noticably
after the 6th day of delay, but still can be useful as long as
an inability to confirm the pregnancy makes abortion impossible.
It might be mentioned that these herbs seem ineffective for
periods delyaed after going off the Pill, and only slightly
effective with irregular cycles.
According to the research and experience of a collective of
women in Santa Fe, New Mexico, a better result is obtained with
cotton root bark than with pennyroyal. We have therefore
integrated this 6th herb into our practice.
It is important to note that the earlier the herbs are taken
[as tea infusions], the more effective they are. There is just
one limitation: that the cycle be at its end. Herbs are
not effective just after ovulation because it is not possible to
loosen mucus which is not yet 'mature'. You can therefore begin
to drink infusions the day before the period would normally
begin, the same day, or up until the 10th day thereafter. The
percentage of success is very good (60-80 percent) the first 6
days. If you begin drinking the infusions only after the 6th day
overdue, however, the percentage of effectiveness falls to 20
For this reason, after our years of experience, we rarely
propose infusions after the 6th day overdue. On the other
hand, for those who are among the 20 percent, it is worth it!
The development of early pregnancy tests, however, will probably
change our practice and permit a more precise study.
What are the possible side effects? Essentially, contractions
whose strength increases in proportion to the length of delay.
Sometimes nausea or a light dizziness may result. It is
recommended to eat lightly during these days.
Practically speaking --- We always prescribe two associated
herbs: cotton root bark or pennyroyal
or mugwort to be used with parsley
or blue cohosh or black cohosh.
Using one teaspoonful of each plant, separately, per cup liquid
- in infusion for the leaves (mugwort and pennyroyal), and in
decoction for the roots (the others) - drink one cup of each of
the 2 herbs three timesa day. This means 6 cups to drink each
day for a maximum of 6 days. (more information below)
BE CAREFUL: do not overdose. Do not continue treatment more
than six days. Do not begin after the 10th overdue day. The
better informed women are, the earlier they will begin. It
is not necessary to continue taking the herbs once the period
has truly begun."
Group A (choose one):
Cotton Root Bark (Gossypium herbacetum)
Part used: bark of the root, cut and broken up like tea
Properties: emmenagogue, imitates oxytocin (childbirth hormone
that triggers labor)
Preparation: decoction,1 teaspoon of bark per cup of water, 3
cups per day for a maximum of 6 days.
We suggest to use only organically-grown cotton root bark, as
cotton plants grown for fabric production are heavily sprayed
Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium)
Part used: entire plant, broken up, dried
Properties: emmenagogue, aids gall bladder and digestive tract
Preparation: infusion,1 teaspoon per cup of water, 3 cups per
day for a maximum of 6 days.
CAUTION:Do Not Use extracted pennyroyal oil, which is toxic and
potentially lethal! The tea recipe as given above, consumed for
that limited amount of time, is safe.
Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris)
Part used: entire plant, broken up, dried
Properties: emmenagogue, antispasmodic
Preparation: infusion,1 teaspoon per cup of water, 3 cups per
day for a maximum of 6 days.
CAUTION: Do Not Overdose! More than 40g per liter causes
hepato-renal disorders and convulsions.
Contra-indications: uterine inflammation, recent pelvic
Group B (choose one):
Parsley (Petroselium sativum)
Part used: entire plant, broken up, dried. Do Not Use the seeds.
Properties: cleanser, diuretic, stimulates menstruation
Preparation: decoction,1 teaspoon per cup of water, 3 cups per
day for a maximum of 6 days.
CAUTION: Do Not Overdose! Parsley is toxic in high doses. The
seeds are even stronger than the plant and should not be used
because they are dangerous particularly to the kidneys.
Blue Cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides)
Part used: root, cut and broken up like tea
Properties: emmenagogue, imitates oxytocin, antispasmodic,
Preparation: decoction,1 teaspoon per cup of water, 3 cups per
day for a maximum of 6 days.
Black Cohosh (Cimifuga raremosa)
Part used: entire plant incl. root, cut and broken up like tea
Properties: emmenagogue, antispasmodic, diuretic
Preparation: decoction,1 teaspoon per cup of water, 3 cups per
day for a maximum of 6 days.
James DeMeo : Herbal Contraception and Abortion in
Selected Reprints. Includes reprints of 16 different
published and unpublished Scholarly Articles from old
anthropology, ethnobotany and pharmacology journals on the
subject, clearly demonstrating that so-called "primitive"
peoples had known how to control their fertility long before
Western science. Also includes information on other books
and web sites giving explicit details on herbal abortion
methods. This information once brought a death-sentence by
$28. Bound xerox. Includes the
following scholarly reprints:
* Attitudes of Four Peruvian Jungle Tribes Towards Plants
Employed as Oral Contraceptives, Nicole Maxwell, unpublished
* "Contraceptive Plant Drugs", V. J. Brondegaard, Planta Medica
* "Antifertility Agents of Plant Origin", J. R. Price, from A
Symposium on Agents Affecting Fertility, C.R. Austin & J.R.
Perry, Eds., Little, Brown & Co., 1965.
* "Alleged Antifertility Plants of India", R.C.D. Casey, Indian
J. Med. Sci., 14:590-600, 1960.
* "Plant Materials Used by Primitive Peoples to Affect
Fertility", H. deLaszlo & P.S. Henshaw, Science,
119:626-631, 7 May 1954.
* "Cherokee Belief and Practice with Regard to Childbirth",
F.M. Olbrechts, Anthropos XXVI:17-19, 1931.
* Plants Used by the Indians of Mendocino County, California,
by V.K. Chesnut, US Nat. Herbarium, VII(3), Government Printing
Office, Washington, DC, 1902, pp.344 & 367.
* "Vegetable Antifertility Drugs of India", B.S. Malhi &
V.P. Trivedi, Quar. J. Crude Drug Research, 12:1922-1928, 1972.
* "Plants as Oral Contraceptives in the Northwest Amazon", R.E.
Schultes, Lloydia, 26:67-74, June 1963.
* "Some Native Herbal Remedies at Present in Use in
Mashonaland", H.Wild & M. Gelfand, Cent. African J. of Med.,
5(6):292-305, June 1959.
* "Physiological and Medical Observations Among the Indians of
the Southwestern United States and Northern Mexico", A.
Hrdlicka, Smithsonian Institution Bureau of Am. Ethnology,
Bulletin 34, 1908, pp. 163-166.
* "Some Sex Beliefs and Practices in a Navaho Community", F.L.
Bailey, Papers, Peabody Museum of Am. Archaeology and Ethnology,
Harvard U., 40(2):23-27, 1950.
* "Potential Value of Plants as Sources of New Antifertility
Agents I & II", N.R. Farnsworth, et al, J. Pharmaceutical
Sci., 64(4):535-598, April 1975 and 64(5):717-754, May 1975.
* "Inhibition on Glucagon After In-Vitro Mixture with
Lithospermum", W.R. Breneman & M. Carmack, Endocrinology,
62(5):627-636, May 1958.
* "Action of Lithospermum Ruderale on Ovulation in the Hen",
F.J. Zeller, W.R. Breneman & M. Carmack, Poultry Science,
37(2):455-459, March 1958.
* Plants Suggested as Possible Oral Antifertility Agents,
source unknown, pp.1-19.
Eve's Herbs: A History of Contraception
and Abortion in the West
John M. Riddle
Editorial Reviews --- Library Journal
Even in ancient times, people limited the size of their
families. Since the major responsibilities of pregnancy, birth,
and child rearing fell on women, they found methods for
controlling fertility and aborting unwanted children, and they
have passed down this knowledge as an oral tradition that
survives worldwide. Using early manuscripts of medical and
botanical texts and the proceedings of court cases, historian
Riddle examines the use of plants as contraceptives, offering a
fascinating view of the early knowledge of reproduction and
attempts to regulate it. As formal medical training evolved and
the Roman Catholic Church gained power, these preparations were
forbidden, and women offering or using them were tried as
witches. The information remained available in disguised form,
and, in many parts of the world, Queen Anne's Lace, Pennyroyal,
and other botanicals are still used to "regulate menses." More
scholarly than Shirley Green's The Curious History of
Contraception (LJ 8/72), this work is recommended for academic
and large public libraries.
In Contraception and Abortion from the Ancient World to the
Renaissance, John Riddle showed, through extraordinary scholarly
sleuthing, that women from ancient Egyptian times to the
fifteenth century had relied on an extensive pharmacopoeia of
herbal abortifacients and contraceptives to regulate fertility.
In Eve's Herbs, Riddle explores a new question: If women once
had access to effective means of birth control, why was this
knowledge lost to them in modern times?
Beginning with the testimony of a young woman brought before
the Inquisition in France in 1320, Riddle asks what women knew
about regulating fertility with herbs and shows how the new
intellectual, religious, and legal climate of the early modern
period tended to cast suspicion on women who employed "secret
knowledge" to terminate or prevent pregnancy. Knowledge of the
menstrual-regulating qualities of rue, pennyroyal, and other
herbs was widespread through succeeding centuries among
herbalists, apothecaries, doctors, and laywomen themselves, even
as theologians and legal scholars began advancing the idea that
the fetus was fully human from the moment of conception.
Drawing on previously unavailable material, Riddle reaches a
startling conclusion: while it did not persist in a form that
was available to most women, ancient knowledge about herbs was
not lost in modern times but survived in coded form. Persecuted
as "witchcraft" in centuries past and prosecuted as a crime in
our own time, the control of fertility by "Eve's herbs" has been
practiced by Western women since ancient times.
Herbal Abortives and Birth Control
Disclaimer: This is not anything you should try at home without
supervision from a knowledgeable herb person.
Current and reliable information on herbal birth control is
rare. In the Western tradition much information on birth control
as well as safe birthing techniques was destroyed during the
European Witch hunts circa 1450-1700. Having such knowledge was
proof positive that you were a witch. Other historical
information is often incomplete, with only a local common name,
or no exact dosages. Researchers often discard supportive
techniques such as fasting or ritual as mere superstition.
Current studies tend to be anecdotal rather than strictly lab
controlled data. This does not mean they are not of value, but
again pertinent info may be missing. Such as was the woman
pregnant in the first place? Anecdotal info can give us ideas on
where to start and what the possibilities are. They have also
shown us that herbal abortives are not themselves without side
effects, often severe. All herbal info on abortives should be
thoroughly researched before use. Some herbalists feel that
herbal abortions are more dangerous than clinical abortions.
Abortive herbs are toxic and do have side effects. They are not
safer because they are natural. Clinical abortions are certainly
more effective. Most importantly an herbal abortion should never
be undertaken unless a women is willing to follow up with a
clinical abortion if the herbs fail.
Varying success rates have been claimed for herbal birth
control. Estimates vary from 20%-80%. It is important to
remember that most of these rates are based on the incidence of
successfully bringing on a delayed period, not in aborting a
definite pregnancy. Since many herbs seem to work the best close
to the time of the first missed menstrual period, many women
have not had a pregnancy test at the time they took herbal
abortives. Studies on the success rate of herbal abortives in
non-confirmed pregnancies is quite high (70%-80%). Success rates
with confirmed pregnancies is substantially lower, 20% or less.
Also there's not as much research on herbal abortives with
Rina Nissim, founder of the Dispensaire des Femmes in
Switzerland claims a success rate of 60%-80% in women who
believed they were pregnant (non-tested). Their method involved
the use of at least two herbs at a time. Generally one
emmenagogue (bleeding stimulator) with an oxytocic (uterine
contraction stimulator) for no more than six days starting as
soon as a woman's period is late. They have found that starting
the herbal regimen later than six days overdue drops the success
rate to 20%.
In a survey I conducted (appendix A) with a small group of
women there appeared to be a high success rate (about 75%).
However only one of the women had a positive pregnancy test, so
actual success rates were certainly much lower. My experience
with women where there has been more complete information, such
as positive pregnancy tests and follow up leads me to guess at a
realistic success rate of 20% at this time. In a highly quoted
New Mexico study, Cotton root bark had a very high success rate,
with a fairly low toxicity. However it appears that very few of
the women were actually pregnant based on blood tests and
Less info is available on prevention of pregnancy with herbs.
In an informal study (appendix B) by Robin Bennett with Wild
Carrot Seed used on a semi- regular basis as an implantation
preventer she had a 98% success rate with few side effects.
There is also a much quoted seven year study involving one
hundred women in Alaska that also claimed high success rates for
wild carrot seed. But no one seems to have any specifics on it.
In general many herbal abortives are mildly poisonous to
potentially fatal in large doses.
Almost all women report at least one of the following side
* Increased bleeding
* Dizziness and nausea sometimes extreme
enough to cause fear.
* Visual disturbances
* Sweats or chills
Less commonly reported side effects:
* Incomplete abortion
* Irregular cycles for 1-3 months
The above can also occur in clinical abortions.
* Kidney irritation
* Breast Lumps (Tansy)
Almost all women reported heavier bleeding and clotting than
normal and felt that this was an indication of an aborted
pregnancy. While this is indeed a sign of aborted pregnancy it's
also common with use of emmenagogues. Common sense would
indicate that when using emmenagogues there would be the chance
of hemorrhage, but it appears to be a not very common side
effect compared to the other effects. Most side effects appear
to be of short duration. I do know of one case where a women
experienced severe long term endocrine imbalance after using
Serious side effects
The most serious side effects seem to occur when women use
herbal abortives, remain pregnant and attempt to carry to term.
There is a high enough rate of reported instances to call for
* Incomplete or low implantation of the
(reported frequently by many
* Premature detachment of the placenta before
or during birth
Consequences of these side effects can be severe and
potentially fatal. Severe hemorrhage can and does occur under
these circumstances. In one case a women lost 1/3 of her blood
volume before bleeding could be stopped. Treatment consists of
total bed rest and staying close to a hospital. The risks to
both mother and fetus are extreme.
* A few isolated reports of toxaemia
possibly related to herbal abortives.
One final very subjective note:
Clinic workers who see many clinical abortions note that women
who used herbal abortives on their current pregnancy seem to
have darker, thicker blood with more clotting.
Use of herbal abortives as a labor facilitator
A few of the herbs that are used as herbal abortives maybe
safely used in the last trimester of pregnancy under specific
conditions to help facilitate healthy labor. While safe if
properly used they should not be used unless a problem exists
and only with the help of a practitioner.
There are two main types of herbs used as abortives.
Emmenagogues and oxytocics.
Emmenagogues stimulate blood circulation to the pelvic area and
uterus and help to stimulate menstruation.
* Vitamin C - no buffers or fillers. Dose:
500 mg every hour for 12 hours up to 5 days.
Toxicity: possible kidney
irritation, loose bowels.
* Ginger - Zingiber officinale, Dose: 1 oz.
fresh or dry root to pint of water.
* Pennyroyal - Mentha pulegium & Hedeoma
pulegiodes, Dose: 1/4 cup of herb to 1 quart water once a day
for no more than 6 days.
Toxicity: nausea, numbness in
hand and legs, liver irritation, kidney and bladder irritation,
diarrhea, The essential oil is fatal internally.
Contraindications: kidney conditions.
* Angelica root - Angelica archangelica,
Dosage: 1/4 cup herb to 1 quart water as tea. Tincture - 10-20
drops every two hours. Dried root less toxic than fresh.
Toxicity: irritant to kidney and
liver, not studied as much as pennyroyal. Contraindicated in
diabetes as it raises blood sugar levels.
* Mugwort Leaf - Artemisia vulgaris, Dosage:
3 teaspoon per cup tea, 3 cups per day, for no more than six
Toxicity: higher doses can cause
liver damage and convulsions. Nausea. Contraindications: Uterine
inflammation or recent pelvic infection.
* Black Cohosh Root - Cimicifuga racemosa,
Dosage: 3 teaspoons per cup, 4 times a day. Tincture 20 drops
every 6 hours.
Toxicity: Diarrhea, dizziness,
headache, decreased pulse rate, tremors, fatalities can occur in
large enough doses.
* Tansy - Tanacetum vulgare. Note: Do not
confuse with tansy ragwort, Senecio jacobaea, which is a
poisonous plant known to cause death in cattle thru liver
failure. Dosage: Tea, 4-8 teaspoons per qt. sipped throughout
day. 10 drops tincture in warm water every two hours til
bleeding commences, for no more than 5 days.
Toxicity: breast lumps, possible
hemorrhage, liver irritant. Essential oil is fatal - do not
They imitate oxytocin in the body to stimulate uterine
contractions and release prostaglandin hormones. All oxytocic
herbs are toxic to some degree. Women can experience very
painful contractions. They are generally hard on the liver.
Women with a history of liver disease such as hepatitis may wish
to avoid them all together.
* Blue Cohosh root - Caulophyllum
thalictroides, Dosage: Tea - 3 teaspoons herb per cup, 3 cups
per day, tincture - 20 drops every 4 hours, for six days or til
bleeding commences. Toxicity: nausea, vomiting, headaches,
convulsions in large doses, kidney and liver irritant,
Contraindications: low blood pressure. Some of the constituents
of Cohosh are more soluble as tincture.
* Angelica - see emmenagogues.
* Cotton root bark - Gossypium herbacetum,
Dosage: 12 teaspoons per quart, 1/2 - 1 quart thru day. Tincture
10 drops every few hours til bleeding commences, for no more
than 6 days.
Toxicity : seemingly low based on
the New Mexico study. Cotton is a heavily sprayed crop with
pesticides that are only used on non food crops. Those
pesticides can cause liver irritation, and other problems.
Organic cotton root bark may be difficult to find.
Other herbs used
* Wild Carrot Seed - Daucus carota, used as
a preventative. Dosage: 1 teaspoon a day chewed and washed down
with fluid. Believed to work as an implantation preventor by
making the uterine lining unsuitable. See appendix B.
Toxicity: So far appears to be
low toxicity, long term effects unknown. Identification must be
absolute as many wild members of this family look similar and
can be fatal.
* Trillium root - Trillium spp. Dosage:
tincture 30 drops 3-4 times a day. Tea 3 teaspoons per cup, 1
quart per day. Trillium root is used by midwives to facilitate
softening of the cervix and is often used as a labor adjunct in
the case of rigid os or as a preparatory agent before trying to
induce labor with stronger herbs. It occasionally will start
labor on it's own. As an abortive there is not a lot of current
use info on effectiveness and side effects. Trillium root should
only be harvested from garden grown plants as it is rare in the
wild due to habitat destruction by logging and urban growth.
* Parsley - Petroselinum spp. Used as a
fresh plant vaginal insert for 24 hours. Personally I have heard
of no cases of even bringing on a delayed period with this
Misc. Herbs listed as abortives: Agave, Osha, Mistletoe, Rue,
Peyote, Sweet flag, Papaya seed, Feverfew, Motherwort, Wood
The above is by no means an exhaustive list, many mild
emmenagogues are listed as abortives in literature both
scientific and folkloric: Marjoram, Oregano, Beet, Celery,
Papaya fruit, Peppermint, Valerian, etc. While they may help
facilitate onset of a slow period, such as the type where
there's cramping and pelvic heaviness but bleeding has not yet
commenced, it's doubtful they would act as abortives.
Dosages mentioned above may be on the conservative side in many
cases. However, since the serious side effects show up at higher
doses it's best to be cautious. I've seen better results with
tea than with tincture and with mixing 2 -3 herbs together in a
blend. Herbal abortives effects may be enhanced by a day of
fasting, working with ritual, and massage of the uterine
acupressure points along the ankles several times a day for at
least ten minutes at a time. Again the success rate is very low
for actual pregnancies.
Ideally if a woman wished to use herbal abortives I would
recommend finding a clinic that does early pregnancy testing of
the type that can detect pregnancy within a few days of
conception, preferably one that can see women on a walk in basis
so you don't have to wait for an appointment. Then if you are
not pregnant you can use a mild emmenagogue such as marjoram,
without stressing your body. Since early testing is not 100%
accurate and if you are fairly sure you are pregnant, you may
wish to use one of the less toxic abortives such as Vitamin C.
Since most of the abortives are so hard on the body they should
only be used in cases of confirmed pregnancy. Why put your liver
thru more stress than it already gets in today's world?
Appendix A --- Survey on herbal birth control and
Of the 10 women in the study:
None had used herbs preventatively as contraception
6 had previously been pregnant
8 could tell very accurately when they ovulated
8 of the women had used herbal abortives
1 women had delayed ovulation time with herbs use
1 women was a practitioner who counseled about herbal abortives
6 of the women had side effects
6 of the 8 women who used herbal abortives brought on a delayed
period with herbs. Only one of these women had a confirmed
pregnancy, but all the women felt they were pregnant. Two of
these women were a few weeks late. A few of these women had
unsuccessful herbal abortive attempts at other times.
Time Frame Abortives Used:
Brought on period with herbs at:
Three weeks overdue - 1 women
Two weeks overdue - 1 women
When period was due - 4 women
Many of the women reported friends who used herbal abortives
successfully, but I did not use those accounts in my survey. In
general the second hand reports were very similar to the survey
A practitioner reported that several women in her area were
drinking sassafras tea as a contraceptive. She didn't give
details on safety or effectiveness.
One women reported that either Vitamin A or Goldenseal seemed
to delay ovulation. I've heard no other instances of this.
My next project is to do a larger survey on herbal abortives
with women who have had a positive early pregnancy test. For
info or to participate contact me at:
P.O Box 10914, Eugene,OR 97440
Appendix B --- Wild Carrot Seed as an Herbal
Survey conducted by Robin Bennett --- In Robin's info she
stresses that it was a small study, and that she did not use
scientific, double blind methods etc.
In her survey there were three dosage regimes
1) Every day
2) Daily for 7 -8 days surrounding ovulation
3) For 7 days following intercourse
The dosage for all women was one teaspoon daily chewed and
washed down with fluids. Half of the women in the study used it
as their only form of birth control. The study lasted for one
year. Out of the ten women in the study: one became pregnant and
had a clinical abortion. She became pregnant when she used the
seeds for only three days around ovulation instead of the
recommended 7-8. She had a clinical abortion. Two other women
suspected they were pregnant and used herbal emmenagogues to
bring on their period. One of these women was using the seeds
daily. The other women was using them for 7-8 days surrounding
ovulation. One of the women discontinued seed use in order to
become pregnant and did. There were some mild side effects such
as gas and slightly earlier periods. Some women felt that
anything less than the full dose actually enhanced fertility.
None of the women reported any symptoms of uterine irritation
and subsequent exams showed no signs of it. In her handout Robin
mentions some lab studies using WCS as an implantation preventor
in mice, but did not give details.
From allissa.foxcomm.net (Allissa Gaul): the lab studies are:
* Comparitive Physiology and Ecology,
9:70-74, "Abortifacient effect of carrotseed extract and its
reversal by progesterone in albino rats", by Kaliwal, BB, first
* Journal of Advanced Zoology 7:36-41, "The
estrogenic efficacy of carrot seeds" by Kant, A., et al.
3.7.1 Herbal Abortives and Common Sense
>> A friend of mine does not use birth control. Is there
an natural form for the abortion process?
Somebody else tried to be helpful:
> Here is a formula that is intended to induce a
> 20 drops blue cohosh
> 20 drops black cohosh
> 20 drops pennyroyal
> Measure the tinctures into a cup of warm water ...
And finally some Common Sense; Jonathan Treasure replied to
It is debatable whether using herbal medicine to cause uterine
rejection of a conceptus is any more "natural" then an a
D&C. Herbs can be potent and potentially dangerous - just
because they grew out of the ground doesn't confer the status
"natural" on anything they may be used for especially when the
only alternative is orthodox procedural medicine. However the
answer is YES, herbal abortion is possible, in certain
It would however be quite insane to take a recommendation from
an internet list and simply believe that is the end of it....we
are not talking about a common cold here. The reply giving
cohosh/pennyroyal recipes was just plain daft - how late is she,
how old is she, what is her general health, nutritional status,
psychological state, emotional strength, domestic situation,
support network etc etc etc etc etc. All these questions come
before some generic formula can be given. Then the formula given
was not related to strength of tincture, dried or fresh plant
used, etc. The dose pattern given was potentially excessive. It
might harm or her or it may not work at all. Would you then
write to this list again? Grow up! I would urge your friend to
consult someone who is experienced in the herbal management of
ob/gyn if there is a real need (e.g. legality/finance) to go
Q: I've heard that herbs can be used for contraception.
Is this a good idea?
ADRIANE FUGH-BERMAN, M.D., REPLIES: I wouldn't recommend it.
Modern contraceptives are more effective and have been
extensively tested for safety. By the way, the birth control
pill was derived from an herb. Its progestin comes from a
chemical isolated from the inedible Mexican wild yam (Dioscorea
villosa). However, this plant is used traditionally for stomach
problems, not contraception.
Some people have used herbs to prevent conception, like the
seeds of Queen Anne's lace (Daucus carota). But there's no
clinical evidence of their efficacy and I wouldn't recommend
taking your chances.
Several so-called contraceptive herbs are actually
abortifacients and can be dangerous. These potentially deadly
herbs work by poisoning the woman, who, being larger than the
fetus, may survive the toxicity while the fetus does not. A
recent review published in the Journal of Toxicology and
Clinical Toxicology reported 57 cases of poisonings, including
two deaths, due to plants used to attempt abortion between 1990
Malaysian Journal of Medical Sciences, Vol. 14, No. 1, Jan
EFFECTS OF AN INDIGENOUS CONTRACEPTIVE HERBAL FORMULATION
ON GONADOTROPHS OF THE PITUITARY GLAND OF THE RAT
Mohd. Nazrul Islam, Siti Amrah Sulaiman*,Marina Y. Kapitonova,
Syed Mohsin Sahil Jamallullail**.
Department of Anatomy, *Department of Pharmacology, School of
Medical Sciences, **School of Health Sciences, Universiti Sains
Malaysia, Health Campus, 16150 Kubang Kerian, Kelantan, Malaysia
Corresponding Author : Dr. Mohammed. Nazrul Islam MBBS; MPhil
(Dhaka); MSc (Glasgow); Graduate Diploma in Health Professions
Education (UNSW, Sydney). Department of Anatomy, School of
Medical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Health Campus,
16150 Kubang Kerian, Kelantan, Malaysia Tel: 609-7664152 Fax:
609-7653370 e-mail: [email protected]
An indigenous contraceptive herbal formulation consisting of a
mixture of Lepidagathis longifolia, Palaquium sp and
Phyllagathis rotundifolia is being used by the Temuan Aborigins
of Malaysia. Although the previous studies demonstrated that
this contraceptive herbal formulation causes anovulatory estrous
cycle, altered circulating hormone levels and fetal resorption
in rats, but the effects of this formulation on the gonadotrphs
of the pituitary gland are yet to be evaluated. The present
study was designed to observe the morphometric changes of the
gonadotrophs and the plasma concentrations of follicle
stimulating hormone and leutinizing hormone. Thirty five
Sprague-Dawley adult female rats were randomly divided into 5
groups. Experimental animals were given a combined herbal
extract or individual herbal extract at a dose of 540 mg/kg/day
subcutaneously for 7 days. Immunostained gonadotrophs were
studied by using image analyzer. FSH and LH serum concentrations
were determined using RIA. The FSH and LH concentrations were
low in animals that received combined herbal extract
(p<0.01). FSH concentration was noted to be significantly low
in animals that received P. rotundifolia (p<0.05). The mean
cell area and cell density of gonadotrophs of animals that
received combined herbal extract were significantly low compared
to control group (p<0.05). It was concluded that the herbal
extracts do suppress the production of gonaotrophins along with
the demonstrable suppresive effect on the FSH cells.
CAT`S CLAW --- Uncaria tomentosa , U. guianensis
...The herb is considered a strong contraceptive herb in Peru.
The alkaloids are anti-arthritic.
Contraceptive Herbal Birth Control ---
Abortifacient: Substance Aborting Pregnancy
Herbal contraceptives date back to the Greek Empire (at least
3,000 years) or ancient times. Certain herbs proven by
scientific research: Affective anti-fertility method. When
taking an herb for contraceptive purpose, beware each herb taken
differently, some are taken daily, and when needed during
fertile time preventing pregnancy. Many women choose herbal
contraceptive method for various reasons: Cheaper than modern
contraceptive methods, alternatively fewer difficulties or no
complications compared to modern contraceptives, and seeking a
different contraceptive method. However, taking herbal
contraceptives may risk exposure to health concerns, not always
100% effective, and should not be taken with prescribed
medication or having an existing health problem. Taking herbal
contraceptives long term may or may not cause a health concerns.
Some herbalists don't recommend herb for contraception, because
potential unreliability. 1
During the Roman Empire, a coin depicted a picture of the
contraceptive herb asafoetida (Devil's dung, stinking gum,
asant, food of the gods, hing and giant fennel 3) named by the
Romans silphium. Greeks named the herb Silphion. 4 This perineal
plant native to Iran. The asafoetida produces a pungent
sulfurous odor. The plant made into a spice as a digestive aid,
condiment and pickles. Reported in human tests asafoetida used
as a contraceptive and substance that induces abortion. 3 Roman
physician Soranus, antiquity's foremost gynecologist wrote,
regarding silphium, women drink the juice from the plant with
water once a month, he said: "It not only prevents conception
but also destroys anything existing". 4
Queen Annes Lace (wild carrot) a biennial plant, in the second
year, stems are erect and branched; both stems and leaves are
covered with short coarse hairs, and reach height two to four
feet. The plant strives growing in direct sunlight and well
drained neutral to alkaline soil. Originally the plant was
brought to the United States from Europe. It grows abundantly in
western part of the Cascades in Oregon and Washington. Wild
carrot attracts sheep as a source of food. During late 1980s
scientists discovered Queen Annes Lace in mice, blocked the
production of progesterone and inhibited fetal and ovarian
growth .6 (In Chinese laboratory tests confirmed Queen Annes
Lace seeds inhibited progesterone, required to fertilize an egg
5) According to a study ..." in which twelve women from New York
City used 1 teaspoon of QAL (Queen Annes Lace) seeds chewed well
for 12 months for contraceptive purposes.": According to a
women's menstrual cycle, wild carrots ingested induce
contraception. The dosage increased to work more effectively for
women above average height and weight. Wild carrot known side
affect: Occasional - slight constipation for a few women. Queen
Anne's Lace may not be recommended for women who have kidney or
gallstones and herb should not be taken along with prescribed
blood pressure and estrogen medication. 5
In the United States, black cohosh herb grows in shady
woodlands of southeast, northern Oregon, Washington, and Ontario
(Canada). The plant measures one to three feet long with white
blossoms (June and July). The stout and root used for medicinal
purposes. 7 Native Americans used black cohosh to treat sore
throats and kidney problems. Also, the herb treats hot flashes
and other menopausal symptoms 9 "Black cohosh has been used as
an abortifacient". 8 Also, the herb combined with Pennyroyal
(herb) intensifies the abortifacient process. 2 In the United
States, black cohosh sold as a dietary supplement but not
regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. The herb can
cause stomach pain and headache. Also, herb rarely causes liver
damage. Breast cancer patients should avoid taking black cohosh,
unknown side effects. 9
Chinese Yam (Mexican yam or Dioscorea villosa 16) perennial
vine: Native to China, and native herb plant (wild yam) grown in
the United States. The herb roots and rootstock (rhizomes)
provide herbal remedies, including treating menstrual
irregularity, flashes and other symptoms of menopause (No
available scientific evidence support these claims). Cream
makers of the byproduct wild yam claim their product helps women
lose weight, increase energy (stamina) and enhance sex drive.
According to Chinese Yam herb users, claim to stimulate
appetite, remedy for chronic diarrhea, asthma, fatigue and treat
frequent urination, diabetes and emotional stress. 10 Reported
in a magazine, midwife (Willa Shaffer) in Utah claimed wild yam
effectively stopped getting pregnant during a year usage of the
herb. She wrote a book: Wild Yam: Birth Control Without Fear
(Woodland Health) (Paperback). However, no scientific
documentation has proven her claim. 11 Large doses of wild yam
may cause: Diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. Rarely the herb causes
these allergic reactions: Rashes, asthma, and other symptoms.
Cream makers of Chinese yam, known to add progesterone, may
cause adverse health concerns, including headache, breast
tenderness, constipation, upset stomach, tiredness, and
In India, Neem Oil (extracted from Azadiracta Indica Juss tree
16) popular birth control choice for men and women. Besides the
bark and roots of the tree offer many medicinal properties.
Women use neem oil in vaginal creams and suppositories (Also
available single injection of neem oil, producing up to 12
months block fertility. No apparent change in menstrual cycle or
ovarian function.), and men ingest Neem leaf tablets for one
month, effective antifertility. However, herb doe not effect
sperm production or sex drive. Also, potency of the herb causes
infertility, reversible after discontinuation. According to
studies, vaginal cream killed sperms in the vagina within thirty
seconds, and effective for up to five hours. Also, effectively
prevents vaginal and sexually transmitted diseases.12 In India
the Hyderabad - based National Research Development Corporation
(NRDC), developed two types of Neem oil vaginal
contraceptives.16 According to a research study conducted in
India, twenty Indian married army men, took the oral dose of
Neem oil, prevented pregnancy in each of their wives. ("The
effect took 6 weeks to become 100% effective"). After
discontinuing taking the capsules, within six weeks, reversed
the effects of the herb contraceptive. 13 Neem oil vaginal cream
not available in the United States. The Food and Drug
Administration has not processed the contraceptive cream for
safety and efficacy. 14 Also, Neem oil ingredient processed in
India, formulate to make cosmetics (body hygiene creams, hand
creams, soap, and hair products) and when diluted (water) used
as a bio -- pesticide. 15
Smartweed (Polygonum hydropiper) an herb plant produces flowers
from July to September. It grows in light, medium and heavy
soils containing neutral and basic alkaline soils. Also, herb
requires wet soil and can grow in water. Smartweeds known by
many herbalists to treat bleeding, skin problems, diarrhea, and
other ailments. According to Chinese tests, a survey of 250
potential antifertility drugs, Smartwood ranked twentieth. 17
Susan Weed writes in her published book: 'The Child Bearing
Year' (paperback) -- how Smartweed terminates pregnancies or
prevents fertilization during intercourse. Also, women ingesting
the formulated prepared Smartweed leaves known to induce a
missed period. 11
Pregnant women should be cautious taking or ingesting an herb
supplement unaware of the potential side effects may interfere
with a pregnancy. According to John M. Riddle (Written book:
Contraception and Abortion in the West - paperback) told a true
story regarding his wife's miscarriage. Later, the couple
learned the mint flavored herb pennyroyal (plant) they added to
their tea, drank nearly every day, unknown to them is an
1.) Herbal Contraception -
2.) Blue Cohosh - http://www.sisterzeus.com/BlueCoh.htm
3.) Asafoetida - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asafoetida
4.) Herbal Contraception in Ancient Times -
5.) The Contraceptive Properties of Carrots -
6.) Wild Carrot - Queen Annes Lace -
7.) Black Cohosh -
8.) Herbal use - http://articles.gourt.com/en/Black%20cohosh
9.) Questions and Answers About Black Cohosh and the Symptoms
of Menopause - http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/BlackCohosh.asp
10.) Wild Yam -
Fertility & Contraception - David L. Hoffmann B.Sc. (Hons
This site may harm your computer.
Avrodhak (Lawsonia inermis) appears to have some
contraceptive value under .... References mentioned in the
section on Herbs, Fertility and Contraception. ...
SATO TOSHIO; NIINO YASUNORI
Abstract --- PURPOSE:To provide a sialidase inhibitor containing
at least one kind of compound selected from aloe emodin and
sennidin and having high activity. CONSTITUTION:The objective
sialidase inhibitor expected to be effective as an antiviral
agent, anti-inflammatory agent, antibacterial agent and
contraceptive is produced by using at least one kind of compound
selected from aloe emodin and sennidin (composed of two
kinds of isomers, i.e. sennidin A and sennidin B) expressed by
formula I and formula II, as active component. The compound is
an anthraquinone compound separated from a herb drug such as
aloe DAIO (rhizome of Rheum palmatum) and senna
by extraction. Sennoside which is a glycoside of sennidin is
produced in larger amount than sennidin by the extraction and
separation treatment of the above herb drug and the sennoside
can be converted to sennidin by conventional hydrolysis.
Umbilical liquid contraceptive
LEI XUEJUN (CN)
Abstract --- An umbilical liquid contraceptive is prepared from
medical distilled water and 14 Chinese-medicinal materials
bark, phellodendron bark, coptis root, notoginseng, asarum
herb, etc. Its advantages include high effect, no toxic
by-effect and convenient application (coating it on navel).
HERBAL CONTRACEPTIVE FORMULATIONS
SINGH KAMALINDER KAUR (IN); TATKE PRATIMA ARUN
Abstract --- Disclosed herein are non-synthetic herbal based
anti-fertility compositions having high spermicidal activity for
intravaginal administration comprising hydroalcoholic extract of
Annona squamosa and pharmaceutically acceptable
excipients, in suitably formulated dosage forms for intravaginal
administration and a method of contraception in a female subject
to prevent pregnancy.
HERBAL CONTRACEPTIVE FORMULATIONS
SINGH KAMALINDER KAUR (IN); TATKE PRATIMA ARUN
Abstract --- Disclosed herein are stable non-synthetic herbal
anti-fertility compositions having high spermicidal activity for
intra vaginal administration comprising Neem oil and
pharmaceutically acceptable excipients in suitably formulated
dosage form for vaginal administration and also a method of
contraception in a female subject to prevent pregnancy.
Percutaneous or oral contraceptive, abortion and sterilizing
Abstract --- The present invention relates to percutaneous or
oral taken contraceptive, abortive and sterilizing composition
comprising Chinese herbal medicine, sterilizer, penetration
promoter, emulsifier, thickener and other components. It has
several functions, high effect, no toxic side effect, stable
performance and other advantages.
MIDDLE AND LONG EFFICACY CONTRACEPTION PILL
Abstract --- The contraceptive is made from Chinese herbal
medicine according to a secret recipe handed down from
ancestors, the preparation method includes screening, baking,
steaming and boiling, disinfecting, drying and grinding. It is
non-toxic, no side-effects, no harm to human body, medium-term
contraception period is one year, while long-term contraceptive
has effect for a long period of time, it features simple in
preparation and low in cost. Clinical use indicated that total
curative rate reaches above 96.5%.
CONTRACEPTIVE FEED FOR ANIMAL AND METHOD FOR PRODUCING THE
Abstract --- To provide a contraceptive feed or food for animals
to take effective measures to the serious damage caused by
abandoned kitten, abandoned dog, and wild monkey, crow, wild
boar, deer and rat, etc., to man, etc., and provide a method for
the production of the feed. SOLUTION: A contraceptive feed is
supplied to feral cat or dog, or crow and wild boar appearing in
an urban district to rumble rubbish and attack human being. The
feeding is effective for inhibiting the egg production and
delivery and decreasing the number of individuals stepwise
taking 3 months to several years to achieve harmonious
coexistence of human and animal. The method to slowly decrease
the probability of gestation/delivery and give little damage on
the animal is carried out by mixing a food liked by the target
animal with one or more herbs such as wild pink (Dianthus
Process for preparation of spermicidal agent
US6333058 // EP0930073
ILAVAZHAGAN GOVINDASWAMY (IN); DEVAKUMAR CHAKRA
Abstract --- A process for preparation of spermicidal agent from
neem oil which comprises in the step of precipitation in
the presence of an aliphatic hydrocarbon solvent. The filtrate
is subjected to a step of enrichment in the presence of a polar
extracant to obtain a fraction. The extractant is distilled to
obtain a concentrated extract enriched with spermicidal agent.