Does Herbal Birth Control Work?
If current trends are anything to go by, then it is safe to assume that the world is gradually embracing herbal medicinal options and shunning prescription medication.
Women looking to prevent pregnancies in particular usually have complaints about how their birth control choices affect them negatively.
They have to deal with things like weight gain and weight loss, mood swings, and prolonged bleeding.
This has led many of them to consider natural birth control solutions that will supposedly not tamper with their hormones.
However, we need to ask ourselves if the so-called herbal options are any good. Keep reading as we dive into everything you need to know about herbal birth control.
What is Herbal Birth Control?
Herbs are not new when it comes to medicine. They have been used in the past years to treat various medical conditions.
Herbal birth control is the use of plant-based medicine to prevent pregnancy. However, what you need to keep in mind is that most of the herbal products found in drugstores and grocery stores are not cleared by the FDA.
You may also want to note that some of these herbs contain abortion-inducing agents and may therefore lead to miscarriages. What we are trying to say here is that herbs are not completely effective and may put the fetus at risk in case pregnancy occurs.
Herbal Birth Control Options
According to Wise Woman Herbal, there are several options when it comes to herbs that can be used as contraception. For instance, some herbs contract the uterus, while others prevent implantation. Others even cause sterility.
Let us look at some of the herbal contraception options available.
In the Dakota tribe, Stoneseed root was commonly used by women to prevent pregnancy. The root was harvested and soaked in cold water for hours. After that, the solution would be taken daily for six months.
Another herb worthy of mention has to be the Jack-in-the-pulpit root. Although it is not as powerful as the Stoneseed one, it was prepared and taken the same way by women of the Hopi tribe for the same reason.
Thistles are also thought to promote sterility albeit temporarily. They are usually boiled in water to make a tea that is usually taken by Quinault women.
One of the most effective ways of preventing pregnancy has to be stopping the implantation of a fertilized egg into the uterus.
Carrot seed or Queen Anne’s lace is one of the most popular options for doing that when it comes to herbal contraception.
All a woman has to do is take its seeds for a week after unprotected sex to prevent fertilized eggs from attaching to the uterus.
Another option would be Smartweed leaves and the best part is that they can be accessed anywhere in the world.
Anyway, they contain compounds such as Gallic acid, quercetin, and rutin all of which work to prevent implantation.
The onset of menstruation is often a sign that a woman is not pregnant. The most potent herb for promoting menstruation has to be Ginger root. It is boiled with water and taken for five days several times throughout each day.
Vitamin C is also believed to have a similar effect only that it has to be taken in higher doses to increase its likelihood to work.
This may prove to be a problem because high doses of the vitamin especially in synthetic form can loosen the bowel.
That said, it is necessary to keep in mind that all the aforementioned birth control methods are not as effective as other birth control methods.
What are the Risk Factors?
Sometimes, you will not eligible to use herbal contraception. As such, you want to tread cautiously if you notice one or more of the following risk factors.
*You are under medication whether prescribed or bought over the counter
*Herbs can harm a fetus or a lactating baby. You should therefore stop using them if you are pregnant or nursing.
*Some herbs yield side effects during surgery because of interacting with anesthesia. You would therefore want to inform your doctor of the same before going under the knife
*There is not much research and testing of herbal contraception on older and younger people.
There is not enough evidence to prove that herbal contraception is safe or effective.
You may therefore want to tell your doctor if you are on the same to avoid interactions with medications or medical conditions that you may have.
If you have concerns about hormonal birth control, your doctor will be in the best position to point out other safer and more effective options that you can explore.