As a couple, it is up to you and your partner to have a baby or not. Whether you want to wait a few years before having kids or do not want to have kids at all, you would want to know how to prevent a pregnancy. While using contraceptives such as condoms and pills is an option, trying natural remedies not to get pregnant can also be a good idea. Natural methods are cost-effective and pose no side effects if they are taken in the right way and the right amounts.
People have been using herbal remedies to prevent pregnancy for a long time now, but it is best to take your doctor’s advice before you try them. Here, MomJunction gives you a list of home remedies that can help prevent an unwanted pregnancy.
30 Best Natural Ways To Prevent Pregnancy
Several natural ingredients, which are readily available in the market, have certain properties that can prevent pregnancy. Read on for the list of herbs you can try and how to use them.
Consuming papaya right after intercourse can reduce the chances of pregnancy. The fruit contains an enzyme called papain that suppresses progesterone, which is essential for maintaining pregnancy (1). You must consume unripe papaya for at least three consecutive days to induce abortion.
Ginger is considered to induce menstruation and promote bleeding. Make ginger tea by grating ginger and boiling it in water for a few minutes. Steep it for five minutes, strain and drink. You can drink 2 cups of strong ginger tea every day to prevent pregnancy (2).
Apricot prevents implantation of the fetus. After the intercourse, start eating 5 to 10 apricot kernels every day till the period begins (3).
4. Dried fig
In ancient times, dried fig was considered to be a good source of contraception (4).
Cinnamon has the property to stimulate menstrual flow (5). Before you start eating cinnamon, consult the doctor to know how much and how long you need to eat it.
6. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is considered to have progesterone suppressing properties (6). Since progesterone is essential for maintaining pregnancy, its suppression can help in birth control.
It is known for its abortifacient action when taken as a decoction. The decoction is made by mixing its dried extract with Brassica alba and rock salt. It is then diluted with vinegar and taken orally (7).
This tropical fruit acts as an implantation preventive, abortifacient, and embryotoxic agent. Unripe pineapple must be eaten every day for a better result (6).
Neem is considered as an anti-fertility herb. The leaf extracts of neem can arrest the follicular growth, and neem oil has been found to hamper the reproductive functions in males by inhibiting spermatogenesis (9).
The herb Buckwheat contains rutin as its primary constituent, which is used to prevent pregnancy. 500mg rutin tablets can be taken every day before, during, and post ovulation till the menstrual flow begins (10)
12. Smartweed leaves
Smartweed contains rutin, quercetin, and gallic acid, all of which interfere with pregnancy. The leaves of this weed prevent implantation when taken continuously after intercourse. Make an infusion by boiling four ounces of fresh or one ounce of dried leaves in a quarter cup of water and drink it daily till the menstrual cycle begins.
13. Cotton root bark
It is the root of the cotton plant that is oxytocic (ability to induce contractions) and is effective in stimulating the menstrual flow. Make an infusion with the bark and have it daily.
14. Queen Anne’s lace
Also known as wild carrot seeds, Queen Anne’s lace prevents implantation. It can be consumed following ovulation or immediately after the intercourse. Eat one teaspoon of the seeds daily for a week.
15. Angelica root
This herb has an oxytocic property and also stimulates menstrual flow. An infusion is made by dissolving the herb in alcohol (ethanol as solvent mainly used in medicinal preparation). You can take ten drops of this solution three times a day, for four days.
16. Blue cohosh
It is another herb that stimulates menstrual flow and is a good remedy for preventing pregnancy. You can make the infusion and have 20 drops of it in every four hours for five days.
17. Black Cohosh
It is a herb that can cause uterine contractions and hence helps prevent pregnancy. An infusion made using this should be taken in the dosage of 20 drops in every six hours for four days.
It is also known as spearmint and is used as an abortifacient. It is an excellent herb to stimulate menstrual bleeding. You can take 20 drops of pennyroyal tincture in a cup of hot water. Consume no more than four cups/day and not for more than five days. Never use pennyroyal oil internally because even half an ounce can be fatal.
19. Stoneseed root
This herb has been an age-old remedy for birth control. Boil a handful of dried root in water and drink as a tea every day. If continued for six months, it can lead to permanent birth control (11).
The entire plant of Thistle is edible and is a powerful herb that can induce temporary sterility. Both the root and the inner portion of the stem can be boiled in water that results in a strong and bitter infusion.
This herb has been used since ancient times for its contraceptive properties. It belongs to the fennel family and the juice extracted from the seed helps to stimulate menstruation (12).
The herb rue has rutin as one of its constituents, which tends to inhibit implantation. Take it as it is or in combination with pennyroyal or rosemary infusion. Never boil rue but try to make a tincture of it (6). Rue can be risky when used to induce abortion and should be avoided if you have kidney, heart, or liver problems.
23. Birthwort root
The anti-fertility property of this herb has been scientifically established, and it is also used for inducing menstruation. It can be taken orally with pepper or used as a vaginal suppository. It can be processed into a tincture, and the advisable dosage is 5 to 20 drops, two to three times a day for not more than six days (6).
24. Tansy leaves
It is known for its emmenagogue (stimulating menstrual flow) and abortifacient properties. A decoction of tansy leaves can be taken to prevent pregnancy. Also, its consumption as a tincture or infusion (combined with blue cohosh and pennyroyal) is more effective (6).
25. Mistletoe leaves
It is known for its oxytocic and emmenagogue property. It is processed into a tincture, or the leaves are dried for consumption as is (6).
26. Wild yam
Wild yam is a good source of progesterone. According to studies, a high dose of progesterone can arrest the process of ovulation. Hence, wild yam extract has been used to synthesize progestin (synthetic progesterone) that was used as a formulation in the birth control pill for oral administration (13).
Mugwort is used as natural contraception. It contains the compound Eucalyptol that acts as an abortifacient, affecting the female reproductive system (14). It can be consumed as tea or tinctures.
28. Jack-in-the-pulpit root
Only the root of this herb is consumed to prevent pregnancy. Usually, the roots are boiled thoroughly and dried. As a contraceptive, it is effective when taken as a tea, once a week (15).
29. False hellebore
The root of this herb can be used to prevent pregnancy. Tea of the fresh root of this herb is consumed for birth control and tea made from the cured root can ensure permanent sterility (11).
30. Juniper berries
Also known as poverty weed, it is used for birth control. You can eat it every day or consume its tea for three consecutive days.
Besides herbs, you can also try these simple remedies to prevent pregnancy (16):
1. Tracking the menstrual period
The length of the menstrual cycle varies among women. Using an ovulation calculator you can find the fertile window in your case and abstain from having intercourse during that period.
2. Tracking the basal body temperature
During the time of ovulation, there is an increase in the basal body temperature. Once the menstrual flow stops, you can start tracking the temperature. A rise in the temperature indicates the beginning of ovulation and the day the temperature peaks is the day of ovulation. You can avoid intercourse during this period.
3. Tracking cervical discharge
Checking for the cervical mucus discharge post menstrual flow can help you know about the ovulation time. A jelly-like, transparent discharge indicates ovulation, so abstinence during that period prevents pregnancy.
4. Withdrawal method
During the intercourse, the male partner can withdraw before ejaculating semen into the vagina. This can help prevent pregnancy.
With the advancements in the medical field, several techniques for birth control are available today. However, the remedies mentioned in this article have been tried for family planning, for ages. Of these, some are even scientifically backed. So try these cost-effective methods at home instead of the medical assistive methods, but only under the supervision of a medical practitioner.
What natural remedies have you used to prevent pregnancy? Tell us about it in the comments section below.
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15. Take Back Your Uterus with this Psychedelic Herb of the Ancient World; Plant Profiles In Chemical Ecology (2019)
16. Jack-in-the Pulpit; University of Minnesota, Duluth
17. Natural Methods; Options for Sexual Health (2016)