Can herbal birth control provide an alternative?

Birth control is a vital issue for most women. In the Western medical climate, birth control is abundantly available, and usually at no cost. However, we rarely hear about complementary alternatives. Synthetic forms of birth control can play havoc with a woman’s hormones and severely affect her emotional wellbeing. In addition to this, we hear increasing evidence of the health risks associated with synthetic forms of birth control, including breast cancer, cervical cancer, heart conditions and low bone density.


Several herbal forms of birth control have now been substantiated by medical science for their anti-fertility effects. The first of these is Lithospermic acid (LA), which is found in the flowers and seeds of Western Stoneseed (Lithospermum ruderale). It suppresses the production of sex hormones by the pituitary glands, thus encouraging sterility. Other supplements can be taken after unprotected sex as a herbal ‘morning after’ pill. Wild carrot seed, rutin and smartweed help to prevent the implantation of the egg into the wall of the uterus. A further way to ensure you are not pregnant is to use an emmenagogue. An emmenagogue is a herb that increases your menstrual flow. To make use of this method, drink ginger root, tansy or pennyroyal leaves a week before your period. High doses of Vitamin C are also said to achieve this effect.


The latest herb to be lauded as a ‘miracle contraceptive’ is Neem. It is a herb widely available in India, where it has been used extensively as a form of birth control. Vaginal creams and suppositories based on neem oil have had an extremely high success rate in killing sperm, and are also said to prevent sexually transmitted diseases. Research in India has shown that men can benefit from temporary sterility when they take neem oil capsules every day.


The studies into herbal birth control are fascinating and give us high hopes that a risk-proof natural alternative will be developed. In the meantime, these herbal solutions provide a valuable support to birth control. If you are suffering from the hormonal fluctuations of the pill, or fear the health risks of taking synthetic birth control, it might be a good idea to pair a herbal solution with a barrier method. Protection should not be compromised, but it is important to prioritise your wellness in finding a solution.

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