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MoonDragon's Contraception Information
NATURAL CONTRACEPTIVES
HERBAL BIRTH CONTROL


"For Informational Use Only"
For more detailed information contact your health care provider
about options that may be available for your specific situation.




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 do not recommend herbs for contraception, because of their potential unreliability. Many herbal methods have been 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. Each woman has to decide how much of a risk is too much. Most modern forms of birth control are 70 to 99 percent effective depending on the method chosen. For women who can't use modern forms of contraception, herbs can offer alternatives, and reducing fertility would be better than no birth control at all.

SOME HELPFUL LINKS BY SISTER ZEUS:
Birth control pills, along with other hormonal birth control methods like Norplant and Depo-Provera, work by inhibiting the pituitary hormones that trigger ovulation. They also make the cervical mucous thick and hostile to sperm survival. While there may be herbs that have similar effects, there is not sufficient information to consider any herbs safe or effective for contraception at this time.

Black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) and blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalactroides) are both used for their emmenagogue effects (meaning they stimulate menstrual flow). While there are some anecdotal reports of using these herbs, along with others, to bring on menstruation after conception occurs (essentially causing an early miscarriage), again I do not think that this is a reliable form of birth control.

I assume that you want to prevent pregnancy, so I would recommend that you use some type of birth control that has been shown to be both effective and relatively safe. Birth control pills are definitely the most effective type of birth control method other than sterilization. They do cause side effects in some women. Sometimes the side effects are serious enough to warrant discontinuing the pill (high blood pressure); sometimes they are less serious (spotting or breakthrough bleeding) and can be alleviated by changing to a different type of pill. In any case, it is important to weigh the health risks of using hormonal birth control against the health risks of abortion or pregnancy.

Other effective and more "natural" forms of birth control are the barrier methods - male condoms, female condoms, cervical caps and diaphragms. When used consistently and correctly, all are very effective at preventing pregnancy. Condoms also have the advantage of offering some protection against sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS, hepatitis B, herpes, human papilloma virus, chlamydia, and more. If you have casual sexual relationships or more than one partner, condoms are a very good choice to help prevent both pregnancy and disease. They can also be combined with other methods to increase birth control effectiveness.

The cervical cap is an excellent choice of barrier contraception. It is a small rubber cap (it comes in four sizes) that fits over the cervix with suction and prevents the entry of sperm into the cervix. It is effective, and many women find it more comfortable than the diaphragm. The diaphragm also blocks the passage of the sperm into the cervix, but it covers a larger area and uses pressure to stay in place. Many physicians, nurse practitioners, nurse-midwives, midwives and naturopathic physicians are trained in how to fit the cervical cap.

The most natural form of birth control is of course natural family planning, using fertility awareness and abstinence from intercourse during fertile periods. This is a very effective birth control method with no side effects, but requires a high level of commitment by a woman and her partner to be successful.

Sterilization by tubal ligation (in the woman) or vasectomy (in the man) is of course the most effective form of birth control, but is also essentially permanent. For a woman who has completed her childbearing or is very sure she does not want children, it may be a good choice.

I encourage you to talk with your health care provider about these different alternatives so that you can make the best possible decision on effective birth control. Preventing unwanted pregnancy is always an excellent health care choice. If you want to pursue herbal birth control, consult with an herbalist experienced in fertility issues and/or consult a Naturopathic physician about any holistic options that may be available.





OTHER HELPFUL LINKS ABOUT HERBAL CONTRACEPTION

Susun Weed: Childbearing & Mothering - Fertility Consciousness

Sister Zeus: Herbal Abortion

Sister Zeus: Herbal Contraception

Sister Zeus: Wild Yam Herbal Contraception

Sister Zeus: Using Queen Anne's Lace Seeds as Contraception

Sister Zeus: Herbal Contraceptive of the Ancient World

Natural Herbs for Contraception & Abortion

Chinese Herbs and Their Uses

The History of Birth Control

MoonDragon's Contraception Information: Total Abstinence

MoonDragon's Contraception Information: Fertility Cycle Basics

MoonDragon's Contraception Information: Lactational Amenorrhea Method

Menstrual Cycle Basics by Sister Zeus

MoonDragon's Contraception Information: Withdrawal Method

MoonDragon's Contraception Information: Natural Methods of Birth Control

MoonDragon's Contraception Information: Natural Family Planning (NFP)

MoonDragon's Contraception Information: Fertility Basics

MoonDragon's Contraception Methods Compared





MOONDRAGON'S RELATED LINKS

MoonDragon's Contraception Information: Contraception Index

MoonDragon's Contraception Information: Contraception Methods Compared





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