Herbal Birth Control – Is it a Viable Option?

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 must ask ourselves if the so-called herbal options are 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.

While some herbal remedies have been traditionally used with claims to prevent pregnancy, there is limited scientific evidence to support the effectiveness or safety of these methods. Additionally, the FDA does not regulate herbal products for birth control in the same way it does pharmaceutical drugs, meaning they may not have undergone rigorous testing for safety or efficacy.

It’s critical to understand that the efficacy and safety of herbs claimed to have contraceptive or abortifacient properties are not well-documented in scientific literature. Misuse of any substance believed to induce abortion without medical supervision can be dangerous. 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

There are historical accounts and anecdotal reports of herbs being used with contraceptive intentions, but modern scientific validation of these claims is lacking. Consulting healthcare providers for evidence-based contraceptive methods is advisable. 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.

Sterility Promoters

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. The solution was then 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 tea, which Quinault women usually take.

Implantation Prevention Claims

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.

Another option would be Smartweed leaves; the best part is that they can be accessed anywhere in the world.

They contain compounds such as Gallic acid, quercetin, and rutin, all of which work to prevent implantation.

Menstruation Starters

The onset of menstruation is often a sign that a woman is not pregnant.

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 be 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 they interact 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.

Bottom Line

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.

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Current Version
April 1, 2024
Updated By
Andleeb Asghar, PharmD
November 23, 2021
Written By
Shubham Grover

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