Numerous herbs have been used historically to reduce fertility, and modern scientific research has confirmed anti-fertility effects in at least
some of the herbs tested. Herbal contraception may never reach the level of contraceptive protection as the pill, but it offers alternatives for
women who have difficulty with modern contraceptive options or who just want to try a different way. Very little is known about many of the herbs, or about long term side effects or safety concerns. Most herbalists I've spoken with don't recommend herbs for contraception, because of their potential unreliability. Michael Tierra wrote in his response to questions about herbal contraception and abortion on his website "I lived and explored communally with a number of women herbal methods for contraception or inducing menstruation at within two weeks of its
due time. Many herbal methods were tried with mixed results. People who are not interested in getting pregnant are usually not interested in
mixed results." With any method of contraception, there is some risk of pregnancy.
It is a good example of a typical herbal contraceptive, taken daily, needing a period of time to establish effectiveness, and mixed results
reported. The herbalists I have spoken to however don't have a lot of faith in this herb's ability to prevent pregnancy. Bridgette Mars did an
informal study (I never did find out the details) which concluded that the wild yam was not an effective form of contraception. I've also received reports through the grapevine of women who used wild yam, I've heard of both success and failure, I've heard of women using it successfully for a time, then something happens and pregnancy occurs. Another possibility to consider to increase wild yam's reliability, and to bring your partner into the realm of birth control responsibility, recently, an oral herbal contraceptive for men has come to my attention.
Again, I can't verify its effectiveness or safety, but, there has been successful human experimentation conducted in India. And one final thought to help increase wild yam's reliability, is to ask your lover to withdraw before ejaculation. This way the number of sperm released is considerably less or none, and if there's ever a slip up, you'll be covered. It all depends on how much of a risk you are willing to take when choosing your method of contraception, it can't hurt to do everything possible to minimize the risk.
Neem oil is a tree from India, with numerous uses, used for just about anything and everything. Quite a bit of scientific research is available about this herb, for both general uses as well as contraceptive uses. Most of the research has been conducted in India, the tree's native home. There are commercial preparations available that can be used for contraception for both men and women. For women it is used vaginally as a spermacide, and men use it orally as a daily contraceptive to induce temporary sterility. I can't vouch for its effectiveness or safety. I encourage you to do your own research.
Pomegranate (Punica Granatum)
A fruit used by ancient women to prevent conception. This is more for historical interest. Rudolf Fritz Weiss notes the seeds contain an oestrone identical to the genuine hormone [estrogen] and states Punica seeds are the best source of plant oestrone to date.
Queen Anne's Lace Seeds (Daucus carota)
It also known as Wild Carrot, the seeds seem to have the best reputation for contraception. Women from the Appalachian Mountains to India
have used the flower heads and mature seeds to prevent conception. This herb is in use today, and has some documentation to it's effectiveness, both in scientific studies and through individuals who've used it. I tend to put more faith in this herb than any other contraceptive herb that I know about to dateIt works best as a morning after type contraceptive, the big advantage to this is that it can be used on an as needed basis. The first dose taken within 8 hours of being exposed to sperm, followed by another dose or two as needed. It can also be used in tinture form, which elliminates the need to chew the seeds, which for those of us have tried it, know its pretty yucky.
Using the herb as a tincture also elliminates the occassional symptoms of vaginal dryness.
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