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 is "natural".

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 menstruation...

Other substances are inserted vaginally, for use as natural spermicides. Examples of these include lemon juice,[1] wild yam,[2] Queen Anne's Lace (wild carrot),[3] and neem[4]). A website called Sister Zeus describes many of these methods in detail.


   1. ^ Lemon - a History. Lemons and AIDS. (March 2004). Retrieved on 2006-08-05.

   2. ^ Wild Yam - An Herbal Contraceptive. (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. PMID 10617063.

      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.

Wild Yam
Pomegranate (Punica granatum)
Queen Anne's Lace Seeds (Daucus carota) --- Wild Carrot, morning-after
Rutin (Vitamin P) --- 500 mg/day before/after ovulation --- Rutin can severely stress the kidneys and liver if used on a regular basis
Smartweed leaves (Polygonum hydropiper) --- rutin, quercitin, gallic acid
Apricot Kernels
Cotton Root Bark
Vitamin C ( Ascorbic Acid )

Herbal Contraception in Ancient Times

By  David W. Tschanz
( )

...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 use.

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 percent.

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 with pesticides.

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 inflamation.

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, diuretic
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 Sex-Positive Cultures

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 burning!  c.250pp.   $28.      Bound xerox. Includes the following scholarly reprints:

* Attitudes of Four Peruvian Jungle Tribes Towards Plants Employed as Oral Contraceptives, Nicole Maxwell, unpublished monograph, 1970.

* "Contraceptive Plant Drugs", V. J. Brondegaard, Planta Medica 23(2):167-182, 1973.

* "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.

Product Description

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

by Colette Gardiner

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 confirmed pregnancy.


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 screening.

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 effects:

    * Increased bleeding
    * Dizziness and nausea sometimes extreme enough to cause fear.
    * Visual disturbances
    * Sweats or chills
    * Diarrhea

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 herbal abortives.

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 extreme caution.

    * Incomplete or low implantation of the placenta
      (reported frequently by many practitioners)
    * 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.
Herbal specifics

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.
      Toxicity: possible light-headedness.

    * 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 days.
      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 ingest.

Oxytocic herbs

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 method.
      Toxicity: low.

Misc. Herbs listed as abortives: Agave, Osha, Mistletoe, Rue, Peyote, Sweet flag, Papaya seed, Feverfew, Motherwort, Wood Sorrel, Damiana.

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 abortives

Colette Gardiner

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 results.

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 Contraceptive

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.

Her address:

From (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 author.

    * 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

Somebody wrote:

>> 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 miscarriage:
> 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 above:

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 circumstances.

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 this route.

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 and 1997.
Malaysian Journal of Medical Sciences, Vol. 14, No. 1, Jan 2007, pp.23-27


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:

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

by "travels"

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 irritability. 10

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 abortifacient. 18


1.) Herbal Contraception -

2.) Blue Cohosh -

3.) 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 -

9.) Questions and Answers About Black Cohosh and the Symptoms of Menopause -

10.) Wild Yam -


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
Abstract --- An umbilical liquid contraceptive is prepared from medical distilled water and 14 Chinese-medicinal materials including eucommia 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).

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.

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 composition
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.

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%.

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 superbus).

Process for preparation of spermicidal agent
US6333058 // EP0930073
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.

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