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Contraceptive Herbs

Looking for something, a person is never satisfied if the choice consists of a narrow range of options or objects. Even if he finds a necessary thing, which seems to be appropriate and good, which in all the aspects seems to meet the demands of the person, he anyway tries to look through the rest of options in order to be sure he will make the right and optimal decision, in order to prove himself his choice is really the wisest and the best.

Fortunately, childbearing is treated by the majority of people as one of the most important things in the world; thus, making a decision to conceive a baby is often done after thorough thinking, weighing all the pros and cons, and testing of a person himself whether he is ready for this crucial step.

For those who seem to be not ready for that step for the time being, a wide variety of contraceptive options is offered by the modern medicine. Still, many people search for something else, for the additional or alternative methods of pregnancy prevention. No wonder, natural remedies are also viewed as possible contraceptives; what is more, they have always been used for such purposes.

At the distant times when pharmaceutical drugs did not exist, people had no other ways than to count on Mother-Nature and to use what she offered them. That is why herbalists, midwives, and magicians always existed, even during the dark times of Inquisition. In spite of the danger to be burnt they did their best to heal, to help, to rescue people in need.

At those times, women, better than anybody else, knew how good it was to have at least somebody to go to and ask for help in case of grief or rat-trap. History says that almost always a woman was viewed as the minor creature in comparison to a man. No wonder she had to totally subdue to his power. Law and church constantly worsened the situation, lowering woman’s state to a simple child-bearing machine.

A woman had no rights at all, even the issue of getting pregnant and bearing the next baby was a solved case long time ago by men – kings or bishops - who for some reason thought that they alone could make such decisions for the whole country, for the whole nation, and for every person in particular. Contraception was a taboo, a sin, it was equal to murder.

Under such circumstances midwives were real life-savers, capable to help get better after the labour, to heal the weak baby, and to teach to avoid new pregnancies. In addition, established pregnancies were possible to get rid of. Often it was done with the help of the same means, which prevented the occurrence of pregnancy.

It goes without saying that the most popular means of birth control were herbal teas and tinctures. Herbs, most often used by midwives and herbalists in different times of our history, were: sylvestre (used during the Roman era); acacia gum (popular among Egiptians); chastetree, which is nowadays proved to reduce a man's sperm count and bring on a woman’s period (this knowledge is the heritage of the American Indians); cedar oil, cabbage leaves, and fresh mandrake (prepared to be used as suppositories); teas of marjoram, thyme, parsley, worm fern root, and lavender (this is an experience of German midwives).

Some teas, which were taken not to allow a new life develop, also posed real fatal danger to the users’ lives, for example, pennyroyal tea (still used nowadays), or mixtures of belladonna and honeysuckle.

Silphium, a giant fennel, was so popular that it became extinct. Myrrh, date palm, pomegranate, artemisia, willow and rue were believed to have contraceptive effect as well.

Much knowledge was burned in the fire that was meant to exterminate the evil in the shape of herbal healers and midwives. Much wisdom was lost due to the selfish plans and intentions of narcissistic and cruel monarchs and priests, who, at all costs, strived to rule not only the whole countries, but the destiny of every single person in this world.

These days we have only the scraps of knowledge once rich and extensive. Women willing to use natural herbal remedies to prevent pregnancies seem to be left on their own. They have to experiment with their bodies at their own risk.

In spite of that they practice using pennyroyal, mugwort, and cotton root bark. Each of these herbs is said to be effective if combined with either blue or black cohosh, or with parsley. These teas are often used to provoke an abortion.

Preventing implantation of the embryo is fulfilled with the help of corn mint, wild carrot seed, smartweed leaves, parsley, apricot kernels and rue. Sterility is promoted by stoneseed root (Lithospermum ruderale), Jack-in-the-pulpit root (Arisema triphyllum), and thistles (Cnicus and Cirsium species).

Squirting cucumber, sage, rosemary, thyme aloe, artemisia, willow leaf, pomegranate pulp, wild yam, colocynth – all these herbs are said to be more or less effective contraceptives. Neem oil is said to be used as a spermicide for women, as a means of infertility inducing in men, and a way to prevent implantation.

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Wild carrot seeds (Queen Anne's lace or Daucus carota in Latin) are stated to have powers similar to morning-after pill.

Definitely, a great number of plants may have contraceptive effects on the body; however, modern people lack any scientific data on them, their use, dosages, side effects, or at least something. We seem to be lucky to live in the civilized world free of many prejudices, Inquisition, and its purifying fire; at the same time, we feel sad about the knowledge of our ancestors lost in the course of the so-called evolution and progress of the world.


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