Natural Birth Control Using Herbs

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist October 22, 2012

I’ve written before on the highly effective use of herbs to promote fertility in women.  I myself used herbs to encourage fertility with my first pregnancy as my husband and I did not attempt to start a family until I was well into my 30′s.  Once we discovered the wonders of Traditional Diet, however, I no longer needed any herbal assistance with later pregnancies.

Herbs are also highly effective at dampening fertility in order to naturally and safely prevent pregnancy.   When would use of anti-fertility herbs be beneficial?

For one, herbal birth control would be helpful to use between pregnancies in order to space children 3-4 years apart to allow Mom to adequately replenish her nutritional stores and ensure that later children are just as healthy, smart and capable as the first.  Spacing children a minimum of 3 years apart (birthday to birthday) as rigorously practiced in ancestral cultures also serves to preserve Mom’s health so that she does not experience any nutritional deficiency and long term health issues from having children too close together.

Natural methods of birth control are always preferable to chemically based agents such as spermicides, contraceptive patches and IUDs which emit synthetic hormones, or the contraceptive pill which decimates the balance of gut flora and can lead to autoimmune disease in the mother and any children born later.

Even IUDs that emit only copper instead of hormones to prevent pregnancy should be avoided as copper toxicity is a very real and dangerous side effect of using these devices.   According to Theresa Vernon, LAc author of the article Metals and the Mind:

If adrenal function becomes impaired, the copper builds up in the liver, brain, joints and lungs. When this happens, you see very specific problems, including mental problems, liver problems and detoxification problems. Phase II liver impairment is often made worse by copper toxicity, if not actually caused by it.

You also see a lot of copper toxicity with asthma and breathing problems, including emphysema. Copper also tends to build up in the joints, leading to arthritis. Chronic skin problems are also an indication of copper toxicity.

Impaired adrenal function is epidemic in our modern society.  If you doubt this, just walk into any convenience store and notice the enormous display of energy shots and drinks that are available for sale not to mention that a Starbucks or other coffee shop is virtually on every corner of most major cities.   Americans have serious adrenal issues and are thus addicted to caffeine and sugar as a way to make it through the day which makes any excess copper in the system a huge health problem!

While artificial means of contraception may be tempting in the short term, they are clearly not a great idea if preserving your long term hormone and gut health is important to you.

Types of Anti-Fertility Herbs

Use of anti-fertility herbs along with a simple barrier method such as the female or male condom that is not treated with chemicals (such as natural lambskin) work very effectively for preventing pregnancy.  This option is especially attractive for health conscious women who are not particularly turned on by the thought of charting their cycles, taking their basal metabolic temperature every morning, checking the stretchiness of their vaginal secretions and practicing selective abstinence a la Natural Family Planning which for some ladies over analyzes and saps the spontaneity out of what should be a very natural, uncomplicated and enjoyable event.

So if herbal birth control appeals to you, here are the different types and how they work as outlined in the very helpful book Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year.   Please note that if sourcing your own herbs is new to you, a well respected herbalist or acupuncturist in your area can put together a bag of herbs to assist you with natural birth control for an extremely reasonable cost.   These professionally sourced herbs mixed in the proper proportions can then be used to prepare a cold or a hot herbal infusion that you drink periodically to keep fertility in check and under your control.

Sterility Promoting Herbs

Stoneseed Root.   Women of the Dakota Indian tribes used this extremely powerful herb as a root infusion steeped in cold water for several hours.  They then drank a cup every day for 6 months. The Dakota women also practiced breathing in the smoke of the plant as it burned to induce permanent sterility.

The Shoshone tribes concentrated in Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado and Montana also used this root for permanent sterility purposes.

Jack in the Pulpit Root.   This root is less powerful than stoneseed root and is prepared by mixing one tsp of the dried powdered root in a half cup of cold water.  The liquid is then strained and was consumed by women of the Hopi Tribe.    Conception was prevented for one week by doing this.

Thistles.  The Quinault Indians used thistles to induce temporary sterility by placing the entire plant in boiling water.  The very bitter, strong tasting liquid was then consumed.

Implantation Preventers

Wild Carrot Seed (Queen Anne’s Lace).  This oily and strong tasting but not unpleasant herb is particularly useful if an “oops” occurs and unprotected relations take place during the fertile time. One tsp of carrot seeds are taken immediately and continued each day for another 7 days.

The women of Ragasthan, India use carrot seed for this exact purpose.  While wild carrot seed is not commercially available, cultivated carrot seeds can be substituted but be sure to check that they haven’t been treated with chemicals or other toxic substances.

Research in mice has proven the effectiveness of carrot seed as an implantation preventer.

Smartweed Leaves.  A common weed that grows all over the world, smartweed contains the substances rutin, quercitin and gallic acid which all interfere with the initiation of pregnancy.

An infusion of one ounce of dried leaves (or 4 ounces of fresh leaves) in a quart of boiling water is consumed liberally until menstruation begins.

Like carrot seed, smartweed may also be used after relations occur on fertile days or to bring on menstruation if the period is late.

Rutin.  This phenolic compound can be purchased in tablet form. A minimum of 500 mg should be taken daily for several days before and following ovulation.   Another option is to consume rutin after relations and continue each day until menstruation begins.

Herbs Which Initiate Menstruation

Ginger root.  Ginger is perhaps the fastest acting menstruation initiating herb you can use.  Put 1 tsp of powdered organic ginger root into a cup and pour boiling water over it.  Drink when the water cools to a temperature which is still hot but comfortable.  Drink up to 4 cups per day for no more than 5 days.

Vitamin C. While plain ascorbic acid is not the natural form of Vitamin C, it can be used therapeutically on occasion to bring on menstruation if necessary.   Take 500 mg every hour for 12 hours each day for up to 6 days maximum.    Use of ascorbic acid in this high dosage may also produce loose bowels as a side effect.

 

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

Source:  Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year

Picture Credit

 

Comments (342)

      • Yes it is – the willful prevention of implantation of a fertilized egg – a human life – results in the destruction of that life. That is abortion.

        • The definition of abortifacients is controversial. Until recently, preventing a fertilized egg from implanting was considered abortifacient. Many OBs and doctors still choose to define it as such.

          I choose not to use any contraception that could keep a fertilized egg from implanting.

        • NancyLee is right. A fertilized egg is a human life and preventing the implantation of that egg is abortion.

          • “Biology is clear that at conception, also known as fertilization, a unique organism comes into existence. Since this new life possesses human DNA and is the offspring of human parents, it can only legitimately be described as human life.” Source: Condic, Maureen, MD. When Does Human Life Begin? A Scientific Perspective. The Westchester Institute for Ethics and the Human Person. http://www.westchesterinstitute.net/images/wi_whitepaper_life_print.pdf.

            Science and the Bible both confirm that human life begins at conception. To purposefully do something after conception has taken place would therefore be an abortion which is the taking of another human life.

    • Umm…no…they are not. If you are going to go with that logic then anything short of abstinence is an abortifacient.

      • Nicole, not that does not make any sense. What they are saying is if the egg is fertilized and you are taking something to prevent that fertilized egg from implantation THEN it is an abortifacient.

        • I, as a couple others here, also consider life as starting more at implantation than and fertilization.

          It’s common among some Christian groups to consider birth control pills, condoms, and other means of preventing fertilization as sinful on the same level as means of abortion. Some of the arguments I’m hearing here are seriously reminding me of what I heard from those groups growing up, which always resulted in the end thought of anything short of abstinence is a form of or on the level of abortion. That is what I was referring to an that is what bothers me.

    • Just reading through all the comments & realizing that no one has properly defined terms. No religion here, just biology:
      “Conception” or “fertilization” happens when sperm & ovum unite to form a zygote, or fertilized egg. That zygote is a complete human being, with 23 pairs of human chromosomes (1 set from each of sperm / egg): all info for physical characteristics, general personality, intelligence potential, etc, contained in one neat complete little cell :-) Nothing is added to that human being except time & nutrition (and hopefully, a lot of love!). We were all once fertilized eggs!
      Conception happens in the outer portion of the Fallopian tube, near the ovary. We begin our lives in this outer portion of the Fallopian tube (test tube babies not included) and spend the next 5 – 9 or so days traveling down the tube toward the uterus. Once in the uterus, the process of implantation or nidation begins, in which the embryo (that’s what a slightly grown-up zygote is called :-) burrows him- or her-self into the spongy lining of the uterus. Still, nothing is added to this embryo except time and nutrition. The nutrition part really kicks into gear when implantation is well under way and the placenta begins to form at the site.
      Thus LIFE begins at CONCEPTION, and any drug, herb, or other mechanism which seeks to end that life by preventing implantation can be considered an abortifacient.
      One more thing: “pregnancy” was defined as being “with child” — the condition of the mom once conception had occurred — by the AMA until about 1960, when the birth control pill came out. Then, realizing that the pill prevented implantation, they changed the definition of “pregnancy” to “once embryo begins to implant in the uterus” (ok, not verbatim definitions) in order that the general public (which was mostly pro-life / anti-abortion) would not revolt. After all, drug companies had sales to make. :-\

      • Granny Smith, the last part of your message is scientifically incorrect. The early birth control pills had high hormone levels, which actually Prevented Ovulation. That means No Egg was produced. The current low-dose birth control pills Do prevent implantation; however, the higher dose pills are still used when, for medical or religious reasons, ovulation prevention is necessary.

        Ladies, this is all an argument about definition of certain words. Some of you consider life to begin at conception , Sarah believes it occurs at implantation. Some might call both situations “potential life”, or “possible life”, because, as we know, Many things can end a pregnancy in the first trimester. I am not trying to be controversial ; just showing that people can view things in different ways..

        • Does it grow? Then it is LIFE! There is no redefining of any of those words that can change that fact. Cells divide, change and growth take place. It is ALIVE.

          • Janel –

            A houseplant is a houseplant. A HUMAN is a HUMAN. I’m sure you understand the difference between letting a petunia wither up and die, and murdering a human being. The only differences between YOU and that zygote are Size, Level of Development, Environment, and Degree of dependency. NONE are acceptable reasons to justify murder. Sadly, the argument being used here (unimplanted vs implanted) is the same argument that is used to permit full-term 39-week infants to be murdered but minute-old infants to be protected. Again, the only differences between that full-term 39-week infant and the minute-old infant? Size, Level of Development, Environment, and Degree of dependency.

          • @ Jennifer –

            Um, no. Contraception is not murder. I mean, do you go around blaming women with infertility problems for killing their unborn children because the embryos are not implanting into their uterine lining?!? Same difference. Except in one the body is doing (or not doing) it on its own and in the other you’re using an agent to cause the body to do the same thing. Personally, I don’t know anyone that goes around killing nearly 7-month old infants (i.e., 39-week infants), but apparently you do.

            I should also point out that you are oversimplifying the human development process. I’m not the same as a zygote. For one, I happen to be an identical twin. Which means two of us resulted from one zygote. Boom! I just blew your mind, didn’t I? Life ain’t so simple, so stop oversimplifying things. Zygote is a stage in reproductive development, not a HUMAN. Go look it up in a biology book. Or take a science class.

          • Janel –

            You do understand “intent” right? The man who accidentally hits a child with his car because she runs out into the street and he’s unable to stop in time is not a murderer. The man who aims his car and speeds up, intending to kill the child in the crosswalk IS. INTENT is everything. Sarah is not addressing a natural bodily function, but rather giving women the bullet with which they can load the gun, then claiming they’re not really killing anything.

            Since you deliberately misunderstood me, I’ll be clearer. I am referring to an unborn, 39-week fetus, which is perfectly legal to murder in much of the United States, for any reason, versus a just-born infant. I’m sure you knew that, but I’ll clarify just so we’re crystal clear. Again, the ONLY differences between those two babies are: Size, Level of Development, Environment, and Degree of dependency. Just as those are the only differences between a newborn, and a zygote.

            And no, for the record, you did NOT “blow” my mind. You stated “I’m not the same as a zygote.” Guess what? The “you” reading this reply is not the same as the “you” who read my previous reply. You’re constantly growing and changing, but that doesn’t make you any less human. YOU (and your twin) were once 4 year olds, were you not? Were you LESS human at 4 years old than you are now? Less deserving of being protected against intentionally being murdered? What about at 4 months? Or 4 days?

            I’ve had plenty of education on the subject of human development. It seems you might have missed a few things, so let me fill you in on a little thing called the law of biogenesis. The law of biogenesis states that everything reproduces after its own kind. Dogs produce dogs. Iguanas produce iguanas. Humans produce humans. Before the egg divided – was it not going to grow a human being (or two)? Is the fertilized egg from a human sperm and human egg, prior to embryonic stage, capable of becoming ANYTHING, and HUMAN is just one of the many possibilities? Even suggesting that would be considered absurd. So you aren’t really claiming that at some point YOU (or any other zygote) were not actually human. You’re simply claiming that at a specific point, the human being is not “human enough” to warrant the same protection of life that the rest of us have.

            Size, Level of Development, Environment, and Degree of dependency. That’s it. And NONE are justification for murder.

          • @ Jennifer -

            Dude, you are so sanctimonius, you can’t understand anyone else’s viewpoint except your own. “Abortion is murder!!!!” “You are the same as you were when you were a zygote!!!!” Dear lord… For the record, you clearly do not understand that saying an adult twin is the same a zygote is along the lines of saying that twins are the same people, which is offensive to identical twins everywhere. But of course, you don’t understand that since you’re only looking to justify your own viewpoint.

            Your line of thinking simply just oversimplifies everything (and, yes, I am emphasizing the word “simple” twice on purpose for effect). People don’t go around aborting 39-week old fetuses just for the heck of it. Everyone knows (or should) that most abortions happen within the first trimester, which is also when most miscarriages happen – i.e., when the body will often naturally abort the fetus for one reason or another. For that matter, I’m not even sure that most babies are still in the womb beyond 39 weeks. How many people do you know that actually carry until their due date? Nearly all multi-birth pregnancies (i.e., twins, triplets, etc.) happen before 39 weeks, let alone 40. Lots of people have scheduled inducements a week or so before their due dates, and it’s not common to deliver post due date. Just sayin’…

            Have you ever considered that if there is an “abortion” taking place at 39 weeks that perhaps there is a reason? Back in the 70s, my mom had another pregnancy the year before she had me and my twin sis. it was a stillborn, and she found out well before the due date that it was a stillborn. For whatever reason, the doctor made her carry it to term, and she doesn’t know why he did that. Perhaps the more compassionate thing to do would have been to abort the stillborn after finding out it was dead instead of forcing her to carry it to term, hmmm???

            You make a lot of assumptions in your oversimplified viewpoints. However, the devil is always in the details. People who know a little think they have all the answers, yet people with PhDs in their field are aware of what they don’t know. Your viewpoints are, for lack of a better word, sophomoric.

          • Janel –

            First off, if you’re going to “quote” me, at least use something I actually said. “You are the same as you were when you were a zygote” did not show up at ANY point in any of the replies I wrote. And just to set the record completely straight, this is not a “viewpoint” issue, not a “you have your opinion and I’ll have mine” kind of thing. Either it is TRUE or it isn’t. The point on which we differ is that a zygote is a human being, with as much right to being protected from someone purposefully ending its life as you or I (or an embryo).

            Murder: Purposefully ending the life of another human being. Even doctors who perform multiple abortions every day AGREE that an abortion purposefully ends a human life. For me to say Abortion is Murder is not dogmatic. It’s stating a fact.

            Perhaps you are trying to overthink a concept that is fundamentally simple. I wasn’t trying to come across as being a know-it-all, but I am certainly doing my best to share what I do know to be TRUE in a way that even a layperson can understand what I’m saying. You call that sophomoric. I call it talking at a level my audience can easily comprehend.

            But since you want me to get technical, I’ll be happy to comply.

            For the record, there is NEVER a reason to perform an abortion at 39 weeks (something I’m happy to share more detail about if that is something you’re in disagreement with). Forcing the body to prematurely eject a stillborn is a much different scenario, and I’m not even sure your point in bringing it up? A doctor inducing labor for a stillborn is between the doctor and his patient (and perhaps a new doctor if the patient isn’t satisfied with the plan suggested by the first doctor), but has absolutely no place in a discussion about taking a human life.

            You don’ t like my 39-week fetus analogy, but you’re avoiding the main issue. Any fetus past 28 weeks has an excellent chance of surviving if delivered, yet plenty of women choose to have an abortion performed instead (and are fully within their “legal rights” to do so). And since we’re giving personal stories to back up our arguments, *I* carried 3 of my 4 children past 39 weeks. My sister carried all 3 of her babies (one to 43 weeks, one to 41 weeks, one to 42.3 weeks). Another sister carried both hers past her due dates. In fact, most people I know in my local WAPF community tend to have homebirths or birthing center births, so induction is pretty much unheard of; an overwhelming majority of the community members have given birth on or after their due dates).

            But back to your insistence that you were not human as a zygote. Since you prefer the PhD answer, here it is {Following courtesy of Scott Klusendorf, bioethicist}:

            *Twinning*. Cloning advocates sometimes claim that because an early embryo may split into twins (up until fourteen days after conception), there is no reason to suppose that it’s an individual human being prior to that time. Hence, early embryo research prior to day 14 is morally permissible. The flaws in this argument are easy to spot.

            First, how does it follow that because an entity may split (or even recombine) that it was not a whole living organism prior to the split? As Patrick Lee points out, if we cut a flatworm in half, we get two flatworms. (Abortion and Unborn Human Life – Washington, DC: Catholic University Press in America, 1996; pg. 93) Would advocates of destructive embryo research argue that prior to the split, there was no distinct flatworm? I agree that twinning is a mystery. We don’t know if the original entity dies and gives rise to two new organisms or if the original survives and simply engages in some kind of asexual reproduction. Either way, this does nothing to call into question the existence of a distinct human organism prior to splitting.

            Second, if the early embryo (prior to twinning) is merely a hunk of cells and not a unitary organism, why doesn’t each individual cell develop individually? Robert George writes: “The clearest evidence that the embryo in the first two weeks is not a mere mass of cells but is a unitary organism is this: if the individual cells within the embryo before twinning were each independent of the others, there would be no reason why each would not regularly develop on its own. Instead, these allegedly independent, non-communicating cells regularly function together to develop into a single, more mature member of the human species. This fact shows that interaction is taking place between the cells from the very beginning (even within the zona pellucida, BEFORE IMPLANTATION), restraining them from individually developing as whole organisms and directing each of them to function as a relevant part of a single, whole organism continuous with the zygote. Thus, prior to an extrinsic division of the cells of the embryo, these cells together do constitute a single organism. So, the fact of twinning does not show that the embryo is a mere incidental mass of cells. Rather the evidence clearly indicates that the human embryo, from the zygote stage forward, is a distinct, unitary human organism – a human being. (Robert George, http://www.nationalreview.com/corner, August 8, 2005, in reply to John Hood)
            The key point is that even though the cells in the early embryo are totipotent (that is, able to develop into any kind of bodily cell), they function in a COORDINATED manner as parts of a unified organism, the embryo.

            Third, cloning technology renders the twinning objection absurd. Put simply, cloning IS twinning. An ordinary skin cell taken from any one of us can be used to form an embryo with the donor’s genetic code. “If an embryo has no right to life because a TWIN can be formed from it, and a TWIN can be formed from any one of us, it follows that NOBODY has a right to life.” writes Ramesh Ponnuru (“Party of Death: The Democrats, the Media, the Courts, and the Disregard for Human Life”; Washington, D.C.: Regenery, 2006; pg. 56)

            Fourth, there’s plausible scientific evidence that only a small percentage of embryos have the capacity to split. Thus, in the VAST MAJORITY of cases, the twinning objection vanishes altogether (Edwin C. Hui, “At the Beginning of Life: dilemmas in Theological Bioethics; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2002; pg 69-70)

            Nothing I’ve posted so far has been made up of any ASSUMPTIONS. You skip from one argument to the next, but so far have made no effort to actually engage any of the information I’ve posted as a response. Are you ignoring my points on purpose, or throwing out a bunch of strawmen hoping I’ll get so tired fending them off that I’ll never get around to proving the facts are indeed TRUTH, and not just *my* opinion?

          • Did you take all day to copy and paste all these citations?!? Citing a whole bunch of articles on twinning (of which, none appear to be scientific journals but at least two appear to be religious) does nothing to excuse your ignorant, offensive comment that implied I’m the same person as my twin sister because a human adult is the same as a zygote in your mind. Dear lord…. What a waste of your time.

            And I’m not going to waste my time refuting religious ethical opinions from InterVarsity or CUA, but I will point out two very quick things: (1) Abortion is a procedure that may be safer for the mother in less than ideal situations where the fetus is no longer viable. You seem to assume that every pregnancy ends with a live, healthy baby. I never said my mom found out at 39 weeks that the preceding baby was a stillborn. I don’t know exactly when she found out, but based on her comments, she found out WELLLL before then. Thank you for your lack of compassion for expectant mothers in such situations. (2) I highly doubt your WAPF chapter is a representative sample of the general expectant mother population. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I suggest you take a class in statistics. Entry level statistics would probably suffice.

            Finally, since you’re so bent on equating abortion with murder, I’m gonna take a really wild guess and say these two gentlemen are your political idols:

            Richard Mourdock: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/richard-mourdock-god-at-work-if-rape-causes-pregnancy/2012/10/24/dc81932f-480d-468d-bae5-5c8dea35e97c_video.html

            Todd Akins: http://www.politico.com/multimedia/video/2012/08/todd-akin-legitimate-rape-victims-rarely-get-pregnant.html

            Am I right?

          • >>>Did you take all day to copy and paste all these citations?!?<<>>Citing a whole bunch of articles on twinning (of which, none appear to be scientific journals but at least two appear to be religious) does nothing to excuse your ignorant, offensive comment that implied I’m the same person as my twin sister because a human adult is the same as a zygote in your mind.<<>>…. What a waste of your time.<<>>And I’m not going to waste my time refuting religious ethical opinions from InterVarsity or CUA,<<>>I will point out two very quick things: (1) Abortion is a procedure that may be safer for the mother in less than ideal situations where the fetus is no longer viable.<<>>Thank you for your lack of compassion for expectant mothers in such situations.<<>>(2) I highly doubt your WAPF chapter is a representative sample of the general expectant mother population.<<>>Finally, since you’re so bent on equating abortion with murder, I’m gonna take a really wild guess and say these two gentlemen are your political idols:<<<

            Anybody who is willing to stand up for what they believe, even against the twisting and mangling of their words, IS my hero. And yes, I’d stand up for these two any day, over our beloved president who believes that even babies that have been forced to go through the horror of an abortion and are born alive against tremendous odds are not entitled to basic first aid, but should be drowned in a bucket. At least Mourdock and Akin have the integrity to stand up and say “life is life, no matter how it comes into being, it has the right to be born and live, not tortured and killed even though it’s done nothing wrong.”

          • Wow! Did that not post correctly! Attempt 2:

            -Did you take all day to copy and paste all these citations?!?
            No, actually I spent all day homeschooling and taking care of my kids, feeding my family, and keeping my house clean. Why? Were you waiting around all day to jump on my next reply?

            -Citing a whole bunch of articles on twinning (of which, none appear to be scientific journals but at least two appear to be religious) does nothing to excuse your ignorant, offensive comment that implied I’m the same person as my twin sister because a human adult is the same as a zygote in your mind.
            I NEVER said you were the same PERSON as your twin sister. My, your twin sister must be quite a person for you to be SO offended that you both once came from the SAME zygote (which, before splitting, WAS fully human being).

            -…. What a waste of your time.
            Clearly, since you didn’t even bother to read it closely. I considered leaving the sources out because I figured you’d be narrow-minded enough that you’d use them as a “legitimate” reason to ignore perfectly valid reasoning. But even in a comment section of a blog, I’m not going to take away the credit these men deserve just because my debate is taking place against someone who isn’t open-minded enough to address the message, rather than the person delivering it.

            -And I’m not going to waste my time refuting religious ethical opinions from InterVarsity or CUA,
            Really? So if a CHRISTIAN says, “if we cut a flatworm in half, we get two flatworms. Would advocates of destructive embryo research argue that prior to the split, there was no distinct flatworm?” that somehow makes it LESS true than if an atheist says it? If it’s published by Catholic University Press (CUP, not CUA), that makes it somehow less true? Please, explain that one to me!

            -I will point out two very quick things: (1) Abortion is a procedure that may be safer for the mother in less than ideal situations where the fetus is no longer viable.
            A) When the fetus is NO LONGER VIABLE (your words), it is NOT an ABORTION! You’re speaking of a D&C, or D&E, NOT an ABORTION!
            B) When we are talking about abortion in any week of the third trimester, I DEFY you to prove that an ABORTION is safer than a c-section. EVER! A third-trimester abortion is a 3-day procedure that involves the use of a powerful stimulant to open the cervix and then forcing the woman to endure an induction of labor in order to deliver the baby feet-first, leaving the head in the birth canal long enough that the surgeon can puncture the skull, suction out the brains, then deliver the remaining part of the baby. Explain to me under what circumstances is THAT safer than a quick c-section?

            -Thank you for your lack of compassion for expectant mothers in such situations.
            I never expressed any of my leanings (compassionate or otherwise) for mothers in those situations. You seem to think “abortion” is some sort of cover word for any procedure which removes something from the uterus, whether the material removed is living or not. *I* am speaking specifically about ABORTION — the procedure that ENDS THE LIFE of the human being that is LIVING inside the human mother. As someone who has had more miscarriages than living children, I do have quite a bit of compassion for women who’ve gone through the loss of a child. Watching my mother go through losing not one, but two babies shortly before their due dates, and having to deliver them stillborn, I have INCREDIBLE compassion for those situations. But you’re comparing apples to eggs in this situation, and have gone completely outside the matter at hand, yet again.

            -(2) I highly doubt your WAPF chapter is a representative sample of the general expectant mother population.
            Oh, I doubt it too. But we’re on a WAPF blog, which is read by mostly WAPF women. It only made sense to gear my statistics toward the group in question, rather than the population at large. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I suggest you take a class in logic. Entry level logic would probably…well, clearly be over your head, but maybe you could get a tutor to help you.

            -Finally, since you’re so bent on equating abortion with murder, I’m gonna take a really wild guess and say these two gentlemen are your political idols:
            Anybody who is willing to stand up for what they believe, even against the twisting and mangling of their words, IS my hero. And yes, I’d stand up for these two any day, over our beloved president who believes that even babies that have been forced to go through the horror of an abortion and are born alive against tremendous odds are not entitled to basic first aid, but should be drowned in a bucket. At least Mourdock and Akin have the integrity to stand up and say “life is life, no matter how it comes into being, it has the right to be born and live, not tortured and killed even though it’s done nothing wrong.”

    • So sad and disappointed to see the post. Also sad to see the uncharitable comments.

      I appreciate the women who posted the truth about life from conception and that abortion is murder including anything that would prevent implantation. I can only pray for those who see otherwise. Yes, there is Truth. There is not your truth or my truth. Only the Truth. It doesn’t change. Abortions and birth control have been around since biblical times they are not new, but it doesn’t make them correct.

      Without faces and voices, it is hard to judge some of the comments. We should be charitable in our response no matter what is said.

      If you are standing for Truth, you will be persecuted. God bless you all. Yes, I am religious. I’m Catholic.

  1. I agree with Nancy. I don’t want to read natural ways to abort a baby. Yuck! Nothing healthy or well about that.

    • Yes it is if it prevents a women from using drugs that mess up her hormones and her gut which she struggles to rectify for the rest of her life.

      Preventing implantation is not abortion. If you feel it is based on your religious beliefs, that is fine and I respect your views but don’t expect this blog to stay in line with the doctrines of your personal religious beliefs. This is a blog about health, not religion.
      Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist\’s last post: Natural Birth Control Using Herbs

      • Thank you Sarah for all your information, religion is supposed to bring us together but it seems to divide us quite frequently. Congrats on speaking your mind and not allowing dogma and societal memes from preventing us from learning about this topic.

      • If opposing abortion were a religious issue, atheist pro-lifers would not exist. But, happily, they do, and I’ve spoken with them before.

      • No exactly sure how my religious beliefs are relevant since I have not mentioned religion a single time. I read your bio and I find it extremely hard to believe that you are unaware that those herbs are abortifacients. Within 30 seconds on google, I found plenty of sites stating that they are. Maybe you could google “smartweed and abortifacient” like I did. I’m sure it would be helpful in settling this once and for all. In fact, under smartweed you say to take until menstruation starts. Huh? You are giving instructions on how to have an abortion with herbs! This post and your comments are misleading. Women need to be made aware that if they take these herbs and ARE pregnant they will likely destroy their unborn child.

        • I agree that saying “herbs which initiate mensturation” is extremely misleading – something I never thought I’d say about this blog, it is usually so direct and clear. It really should say “herbs that cause a miscarriage.”
          My OB defines pregnancy as the moment of conception and I agree. It’s not a strictly religious statement as some seem to think. That is what his medical training taught him.

          • Herbs that can trigger menstruation will trigger menstruation, even if a fertilised egg isn’t present. There is no way of knowing for sure whether an egg actually became fertilised during unprotected sex. Even if an egg became fertilised, it may or may not have implanted when you initiated said herbs… hence, may or may not “cause a miscarriage”.
            Personally, I would try to prevent conception, but really appreciate this post Sarah, as I felt a bit helpless when I decided to stop synthetic hormones for birth control! This post gives women other options, and whether they use them is a personal choice!!

      • And Granny Smith helped to point out that this is not about religion! Understanding a fertilized egg is science.

      • Excellent answer, Sarah… I agree that preventing implantation using herbs is not an abortificant and besides, women should have a right to do what they want with their bodies. Thank you for providing the HEALTH information that you do.

      • Honestly, Sarah. I’d much rather take responsibility for messing up my hormones and gut and struggle to rectify them for the rest of my life, than be responsible for purposefully taking the life of another human being. Based on your comment section, I’m clearly not alone in that.

        To state that preventing implantation is not abortion is showing that you clearly don’t understand the facts. Abortion is the ending of a human life. An unimplanted, fertilized egg is a human life. Where religion comes into that, or if it even does, is irrelevant. As I mentioned above, you are using the exact same excuse the pro-abortion side uses to justify allowing full-term babies to be aborted (while protecting just-born infants). To believe otherwise is naive; and we were under the impression you were smart enough to know that.

      • Thank you Sarah for this post. Apart from the comments discussing abortion, I found this post to be an important one for women who wish to have control of their own health. I certainly can not afford any more children and would never take birth control. If I am in a committed relationship it is good to know that I have the ability to utilize natural techniques until menopause hits. Love your blog and your my hero for speaking out despite others opinions.

      • Do you know that these herbs you are recommending work by interfering with hormones? Vitamin C works because it drops progesterone levels (and a majority of women today are already dealing with low progesterone). Just because you are using an herb to affect hormones, doesn’t mean it is safe.

        I hope everyone reading this post realizes what you are recommending IS NOT SAFE OR HEALTHY.

      • Sarah,

        I am new to your site and up until now I have agreed with just about everything you have posted, and while you Could say this site is about health and not religion, using herbs to naturally prevent implantation is abortion and that does affect the health of…..the baby……and the mother. The couple to couple league has a great website to get any newbies started on the symptothermal method of family planning. Natural family planning may not be easy, but really should something this important “be easy”. When people start discussing these types of issues, I am reminded of that great line from America the Beautiful, “Confirm thy soul in self-control,thy liberty and law”

    • Call it what it is Sarah, you know natural abortion is abortion, but your mind has reasoned that if it’s good for YOU, then just do it! Let nothing stand in the way of our wants and desires. If something hinders the healthy gut, get rid of it???!!!

  2. This is very interesting! Do you know if any are safe during breastfeeding?

    NancyLee, lots of people don’t mind if their birth control interferes with implantation. If you do, NFP is probably the way to go.

    • http://www.mountainroseherbs.com is a great site to go to for information on herbs. Each herb will also tell you whether or not it is safe for breastfeeding mothers, if you’re pregnant or other health related issues. I think there are a few more herbs, that I’ve come across, that can function similar to the ones Sarah’s listed. :)

      • With an article like this, it would be very important to find out whether or not these herbs are safe during breastfeeding. Also…taking some of these herbs could have serious effects on the endocrine system. Exactly what effects CAN they have? They are meant to change the endocrine system to go against the implantation of an embryo. Messing with different hormones can mess up the whole body.

        Messing with an embryo could lead to birth defects later on IF the implantation does happen.

        This is the 2nd time in the last few days I have seen an un-qualified, un-certified blogger dispensing health information that could end up with disastrous results to people who try their “remedies” without a practitioner who IS qualified and more research about the herbs. Herbs are potent, just like conventional drugs.

        Sarah is NOT an herbalist and NOT a doctor. Take this information as a starting point and go on from there with someone else who IS qualified to help you and who knows the scope of herbal medicine so much more.

  3. I agree with the first two commenters. It is very disturbing and disappointing to read on this site (I’m a huge fan) about a “natural” way to abort a human life in its first stage.

      • She isn’t overreacting, she is disagreeing with you. I disagree too. I think that preventing implantation of a fertilized egg is commensurate with abortion. This post was a little offensive to me too. People should be allowed to say that without you accusing them of overreacting and insisting that you are right instead of merely disagreeing.

      • Oh Sarah, for the love of truth and your readership, I beg you to learn how to reply with grace to those who disagree with you. To tell someone “Stop overreacting.” is very curt, disrespectful, and unhelpful.

        I’m trying to help you here.

        • She does not respond gracefully at all. She’s fanatical in defending her opinion to the death and has no tolerance for those who disagree with her opinions. It’s why I stopped reading her blogs and following her on FB months ago. She invariably responds rudely. I can’t believe so many people still read here since it’s hardly novel information you can’t get easily somewhere else.

          Someone however linked this to me to read. It’s not even a well written post. A natural birth control post that presents “vaginal secretions” as “eeww icky” read another site for that info is just sad. And the options are little more than cut and pastes out of Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year. And the suggestions are little better than rumors that some tribes used X herb for permanent sterility. Yeah, that sounds like a great and helpful alternative. Recommending herbs with no knowledge of HOW they are working and how safe they are? That’s just stupid and dangerous.

          • She doesn’t have to respond gracefully or tactfully. This is her blog. Don’t judge someone else while in their house. There’s a little “X” at the top right corner of your screen, left if you’re on a mac…use it if you don’t like what you see. I don’t even know if I agree with using herbs to prevent implantation, but I do agree with her when she said stop overreacting. Geez. Women.

      • At conception an egg is fertilized and that newly formed life already has his/her very own DNA code. This is life. Purposely preventing that new life from implanting is the same as choosing to end that life. I came to read the article but have to agree that purposely destroying life is an abortion.

        I assume that in many circumstances, someone wanting to bring on their menstruation immediately would be the equivalent of taking the morning-after abortion pill if they had sex and conception occurred.

        Very disturbing information…

      • Sarah, can you please explain to me how this is not abortion? If there is an embryo (if for even a few hours), it is a baby. If we are putting things in our body to prevent implantation, we are causing that baby to not be born? I am just curious as to how you rationalize this is your mind.
        As I questioned on your Facebook page, how can you get so appalled by moms that feed their kids boxed cereal but are totally fine with taking herbs to destroy an embryo? I guess those embryos (babies) will never get a chance to eat that boxed cereal.

        • Jen… you don’t have an “embryo” after a few hours, you have a zygote. I’m not comparing apples to oranges, I promise, but we need to get our terms correct here.

          I think that everyone is blowing this completely out of proportion. In order to take herbs that prevent implantation, you would not even know if conception occurred, as the hormone released to show a positive pregnancy test do not begin production until the fertilized egg is implanted. Therefore, taking herbs, prior to implantation, is preventative, versus abortive, given that your pregnancy status is unknown.
          SandiB\’s last post: You Did What?!?!

          • SandiB… “given that your pregnancy status is unknown” isn’t really a good argument for aborting a pregnancy. If I left the gas running on the stove and someone died, it wouldn’t be a good excuse for killing someone in the house because I “didn’t know”.
            You are also wrong: the sperm fertilizes the egg forming a zygote which immediately begins mitosis and becomes an embryo. Then after eight weeks it is considered a fetus. These are all scientific names for life happening from the very beginning. I’m taking anatomy/physiology in college right now and it’s funny that people don’t really know this. My question to anyone who thinks life is a bunch of cells and bodily fluids, why is this considered alive when the same things exist when you are dead. There is a force that most people choose to ignore. That’s why there are so many people of faith in the age of (supposed_ reason.

      • Sarah, thank you for the wealth of information on women’s right to her own sexual health. I personally do not agree that the herbs which prevent implantation are abortificants, for the fertilized egg still has to adhere/implant itself into the uterine wall for the full 9 month ride. There are times when a fertilized egg just does not implant naturally, at the very least think IVF implants that don’t take. I appreciate everyone’s right their own opinion, yet I will stand for the right to my own body. These herbs are used for the long term betterment of women’s health, so please, people, look at the larger picture. If not, then why aren’t you the first in line to adopt/raise someone else’s child when it is being raised in a less than healthful situation?

        • Brandy–
          Those IVF embryos? Those are babies. Implanted or not. look it up.
          Also, who should fight for the rights of your baby? And if it’s a girl– does she not have women’s rights? What about her right to her body?
          So so sad that you don’t see that child as having rights.

          • Elizabeth, whether those IVF embryos implant themselves or not into your uterus during IVF treatment are not under your control. What was your point?

        • which is why IVF should have never been allowed to happen in the first place. Just because science/technology allows us to do something, doesn’t mean we SHOULD do it.

  4. Actually, you all do not seem to understand the medical definition of pregnancy. A woman is not pregnant until the fertilized egg is imbedded in the uterus. Therefore, preventing implantation cannot be considered an abortion. Many (some studies say over 50%) of fertilized eggs never implant, naturally.

    If you have a religious belief that a fertilized egg is a life, then by all means, do not use those herbs that prevent implantation. However, calling it an abortion is simply untrue. Let’s not ruin this informative post with ignorant comments. :)

    • I’m pretty sure that all three of us understand perfectly what life is. It seems that you are the one who doesn’t understand. Please stop ruining and interrupting our comments with your ignorance. :) Thanks!

      • Oh goodness yes, what a pity that everyone can’t accept and appreciate YOUR beliefs!

        I am Jewish, and in my religion, we are not considered humans entitled to rights until the head is out of the mother. Until that point, the health and well-being of the mother, the family, and the community are considerably more important. I do not consider my view superior, and I personally do not care what yours is. There is no point whatsoever in hijacking a post about safe and healthy sex to promote your beliefs, whether they are religious or not.

        By the way, citimg Wikipedia and “a quick google search” would never be accepted in an academic paper, for good reason. The term “abortifacient” is contentious, and to assert that the definition that supports your view is the most correct is dogmatic.

        • Jade, maybe you should learn your Jewish faith a little better: “As a general rule, abortion in Judaism is permitted only if there is a direct threat to the life of the mother by carrying the fetus to term or through the act of childbirth. In such a circumstance, the baby is considered tantamount to a rodef, a pursuer after the mother with the intent to kill her. Nevertheless, as explained in the Mishna, if it would be possible to save the mother by maiming the fetus, such as by amputating a limb, abortion would be forbidden. Despite the classification of the fetus as a pursuer, once the baby’s head or most of its body has been delivered, the baby’s life is considered equal to the mother’s, and we may not choose one life over another, because it is considered as though they are both pursuing each other.

          It is important to point out that the reason that the life of the fetus is subordinate to the mother is because the fetus is the cause of the mother’s life-threatening condition, whether directly (e.g. due to toxemia, placenta previa, or breach position) or indirectly (e.g. exacerbation of underlying diabetes, kidney disease, or hypertension).8 A fetus may not be aborted to save the life of any other person whose life is not directly threatened by the fetus, such as use of fetal organs for transplant.”

          • It is extremely presumptuous of you to assume that I do not know the intricacies of this issue in my own faith. I grew up a Conservative Jew, and then became Reform in my late teens. I have gone through a Bat Mitzvah and Confirmation, and have discussed this at length with several Rabbis and Rabbinic students. Yes, indeed, the health of the mother is an important consideration. It is not, however, the ONLY consideration.

            You mention what is allowed – but who allows it? Jews do not have the same conception of Hell as Christians, and thus, outside of Orthodoxy, we do not see laws as incontrovertible, nor punishment as definite. To answer the initial question, the Rabbi and the community come together to decide what is moral. Moral – but not law.

            Reading a Wikipedia entry does not make you an Old Testament scholar. The Jewish faith is extremely focused on the individual/community coming to just and moral decisions through intense introspection and study. There are very few definite right or wrongs, if any (especially if you consider the instances of genocide, infanticide, and murder “justified” in both Testaments). And even if they did exist, Judaism is constantly evolving to meet the spiritual needs of modernity.

            This is a complex issue that cannot be explained by a simple “but your book says it’s wrong.”

          • Not “presumptuous” but very surprised… I didn’t get that from Wikipedia as you presumptiously presumed (you like that word so I decided to use it a lot)! I got it from a Jewish faith website. It is really unfortunate for the Jewish faith as it is for many Christian churches to chose to follow societal definitions of what is moral. I don’t think that is what either faith was founded on and probably not what the conservative sects of your faith believe either. I’m not going to presume I know any more about the Jewish faith… it’s just that my faith is based on it and we respect what used to be taught in your faith. Regardless of faith, our society deems murder as wrong. Life is scientifically deemed at conception so therefore killing (murdering) the embryo is wrong.

          • That’s a very interesting fusion of science and religion you rely on to justify your beliefs there. Yes, your faith (some sort of Christian? you haven’t specified, so I’m not sure) is based on mine. Some Jewish sects do not consider life as having begun until 40 after conception. So, which is it? Do you believe that life starts when “science” says it does, or when the infinite variety of Jewish beliefs says it does, or when the Catholic Church does?…. The possibilities are endless. Again, though, I do not care in the least if you think life begins at conception. Whatever. There are many religious people and scientists who will agree with you, and many who will not.

            If you think getting that information from a Jewish faith website is any more legitimate, you have not paid any amount of attention. As I said, the decision to abort is never taken lightly, but there is also never a prescription for it – there is no definite law. None at all.

          • *40 days

            Also, within the span of one short comment, you have said BOTH that it is a shame for Judeo-Christian religions to follow “society” in terms of morality, AND that because we as a society deem murder immoral, it must be. Make up your mind.

          • You didn’t follow me– I believe murder is wrong because I believe in the Ten Commandments as the main rule of my morality. Our laws were originally based on this same set of morals when society deemed it wrong to commit murder. If society deemed it right, then I would still think it is wrong. I think most religions are in line with science in the fact that life begins with the egg and sperm joining and forming a zygote. I don’t understand how anyone cannot see that, but that’s how science and religion see it. It’s politics that likes to parse words and redefine. I’m sorry but after a different comment, I’m not really convinced you know the laws of your own faith. I have Jewish friends who would disagree with everything you said.

          • Yes, Bethany, that’s exactly my point. Many Jews will disagree with me. And many will agree. That has been my point from the beginning. There is very little notion of right and wrong in Judaism; there is, however, a strong tradition of using your damn brain. Think. Consider. Study. I’m sure you’re Jewish friends are the be all and end all of Jewish morality for you, but that does not make any one person of faith more “right” than others.

            This is one of the better bits of information: http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/judaism/jewishethics/abortion_1.shtml Please take particular note of all the VAGUE statements. “Abortion is only permitted for serious reasons.” This does not mean ONLY when the health of the mother is threatened. Serious can include mental, emotional and spiritual reasons.

            “STRICT Judaism permits abortion only in cases where continuing the pregnancy would put the mother’s life in serious danger.” Very few people are strict (Orthodox). Does this make my sect less legitimate than others?

          • This has definitely been an interesting discussion– I’ve definitely learned a lot more about differing Jewish stances. Thanks for explaining your views.

          • Bethany, you seem to think that “science”, and all “Christian” religions define life as beginning at fertilization. You aren’t correct on either point. All scientists do Not agree; and as a Christian, I can say that my branch or Christianity does not agree.

    • So, all this time that doctors have been calling an implantation in a fallopian tube an “ectopic PREGNANCY” , they have been wrong ???

  5. I agree with the first two commenters as well. I have severe adrenal insufficency and recently found out we are expecting our third baby (which this time around was a huge surprise to us). While I was not pleased initially to find out about this baby, as a mother I could never forgive myself if I had used any of the herbs that prevent implantation, whether you realize it or not, that is abortion. I’m convinced that I will eventually be able to heal– even with this pregnancy. Even if I don’t, God rewards faithfulness. I don’t think it’s a good idea to be promoting herbs that prevent implantation, in a moment of preceived desperation you might do something you will regret for a lifetime. By promoting these herbs on your site you will inadvertantly be helping desperate women abort their babies. Am I currently excited about our ‘little surprise?’ Honestly no I’m not. But I bet I will be when I hold him/her for the first time, take her to kindergarden, go to this child’s wedding etc. Life isn’t always about what’s in your best interest or doing what you want to do, when you become a mother that child’s life is more important then how you feel and what you want to do. I think it is very important to take care of yourself to the best of your ability, but never at the expense of another human being’s life. I usually really enjoy reading your posts, but this one went a little too far.

  6. I am just talking about scientific facts, not religious beliefs. The word abortions means to end a pregnancy. If there is no pregnancy, the is no abortion. Period. Full stop. There is no room to argue.

    I understand that some religions believe life begins with fertilization. Not wanting to prevent implantation makes sense in that case. However, you cannot call preventing implantation an abortion. You could call it a sin, immoral, murder, whatever. But it is NOT an abortion, because that is not what the word means.

    That is what I was saying was ignorant. You can call a cow a dog, but it doesn’t make it so.

    • That argument goes both ways-you can say it’s not a baby but that doesn’t make it so, does it?

      Wild carrot is listed at an abortifacient on wikipedia. You can look it up.

      Please tell me how a woman will know whether or not the baby has implanted yet before she takes this.

      • If you follow this logic through, a woman could never take anything that might interfere with pregnancy because there is a chance she is pregnant and doesnt know it yet. Im sorry, but this just does not work for most women today, especially those focused on careers. You are essentially constantly running either the risk of BEING pregnant or the risk of GETTING pregnant. And there is no way to tell which risk you are currently experiencing. This makes no sense if you want to actually live life outside of having and raising kids. Sorry, but that lifestyle just doesn’t work for everyone.

    • Hi Elizabeth,
      You’re right that “abortion” generally refers to ending the life of a baby implanted in the whom. I guess I was using the term more widely than the way its often used. Actually, it’s not a religious belief to say that life begins at fertilization. “Embryo” is a term that refers to the developmental stage of human life from fertilization to 11 weeks. At fertilization, two sets of chromosomes are intermingled and the embryo is already genetically unique and distinct; its sex is established at this point. When we’re talking about preventing implantation, we’re effectively discussing how to get rid of an embryo. This does occur at times for various, non-intended reasons, and when it does we call it “spontaneous miscarriage” or “spontaneous abortion.” Calling it “abortion” is a way to identify that it is intended; the intended ending of that human life (implanted or not).
      No religion there!

  7. “Actually, you all do not seem to understand the medical definition of pregnancy. A woman is not pregnant until the fertilized egg is imbedded in the uterus.”

    Actually Elizabeth – you are using semantics – playing with words and trying to intimidate those who disagree with you. Where did you get your definition of pregnancy? Here’s a few I found on line:

    “The condition of having a developing embryo or foetus in the body, after union of an ovum and spermatozoon. The state of being pregnant; the period from conception to birth when a woman carries a developing fetus in her uterus.”
    http://www.biology-online.org/dictionary/Pregnancy

    “Process of human gestation that takes place in the female’s body as a fetus develops, from fertilization to birth (see parturition). It begins when a viable sperm from the male and egg from the ovary merge in the fallopian tube (see fertility; fertilization). The fertilized egg (zygote) grows by cell division as it moves toward the uterus, where it implants in the lining and grows into an embryo and then a fetus………..”
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pregnancy

    • Your Webster definition states that it is a process that takes place as a “FETUS” develops. It is an incoherent definition, because it then goes on to discuss fertilization, and a zygote. A definition from a medical dictionary would be more on-point.

      • Pam – did you notice the words that came after “fetus develops”? The are: FROM FERTILIZATION to birth. Not AFTER IMPLANTATION.

    • Thank you Kathleen. I have hesitated for a long time to post this information but women need to know this information which is so much better for their health than using artificial contraception. It’s based on the practices of traditional cultures which were very respectful of life and revered babies and children.
      Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist\’s last post: Natural Birth Control Using Herbs

      • Sarah,
        I have to respectfully disagree. I really enjoy reading your articles. You do a tremendous amount of research and I’m always impressed by the time you take to do that for people. This is why I’m so surprised that someone who takes the natural approach and appreciates the natural order of things would not do all the research for the most important element of all this– human life. You do so much to insure lifelong health and wellness. However, here you have stopped your research short. Science has proven that life begins at conception. The problem with the contraceptive mentality is that we are deciding to be ignorant of the truth. And that shocks me about you. All the raw milk and the non-grain-eating, local poultry- and beef-finding matters very little if we are killing human beings. We can’t ignore that. This has nothing to do with beliefs or religion. This has to do with the creation of human life (the most NATURAL thing there is) and the destruction of it for our own convenience. It’s amazing how well we are supposed to care for ourselves in order to achieve pregnancy and maintain it, as well as be sure to take nothing that would harm the baby. All for the baby’s best interest and health. That’s what we want right? However, if we don’t want to go there, we should just end it’s life prematurely and call that “wellness”. I’m sorry. I just can’t talk about pregnancy without actually acknowledging the human part of it. And “natual sterility”?? That’s supposed to be healthy? Really? Forcing sterility on our bodies. Show me where Weston Price promotes that and I’ll show you me throwing out his entire body of research as garbage. Sarah, thank you for starting a conversation like this. Freedom of speech is something I believe is very important. It was very brave of you.

        • I have to agree! I’ve always LOVED this blog & Sarah’s articles (even the ones I don’t completely agree with) but this seems to be a huge inconsistency on her part. This article is full of misinformation, euphemisms and deception. Not to mention treating something as natural and healthy as fertility as if it’s pathological. The majorities of traditional cultures had children during their prime childbearing years – late teens through 20′s – had large families, and spaced their babies by extended, ecological breastfeeding. I’ve never seen Sarah mention these facts. No one can be 100% consistent in everything, but this article is disappointing nonetheless. Not healthy, not traditional. It’s messing with your body’s natural functions via herbs instead of pharmaceuticals. Apparently Sarah feels that “optimal spacing” of children is more important than allowing the body to function in the natural and healthy way it’s supposed to. Also it was amusing to read that someone who thinks nothing of making her own cultured dairy products, rendering tallow, drinking fermented cod liver oil, eating raw liver, etc (which are awesome things to do!) can’t imagine the drudgery of taking her temperature and freaks out about her own body’s natural fluids. 0_0

          • That is definitely “hitting below the belt”. Sarah did NOT say that SHE personally would be put off by the rhythm method – she said SOME would.

          • I could not agree more Melissa ! Bravo . And yes, Sarah, they are abortifacients . Using your thought that life begins at implantaion.. Sometimes those abortifacients allow poor or insufficient implantation . By making the uterine lining inhospitable . That results in death of the baby trying to implant – or since meds were used to cause the lack of implantation – an early chemical abortion.

      • Sarah, do you have any more information about the copper coil? I have one, and I struggle with adrenal fatigue. This is concerning, but at the moment it is my only option.

        • Why are you asking Sarah? She’s not a doctor or even a natural health practitioner nor even an herbalist! You should abstain and ask a health professional.

          • Haha no, I’m enjoying sex too much. Since I’m bisexual, I could just have sex with women – that is wonderful birth control, after all – but I very much enjoy being with my boyfriend.

  8. I thank you too for this information. This is helpful to many women that read your site. I feel if one doesn’t have anything positive to say about a post then they shouldn’t say anything at all. We are all entitled to our beliefs and this information is available in many places, each person has a right to choose what to read and what to ignore. Sarah has her right to free speech, as do the rest of us. And no, I do not believe in abortion, I have had 2 unplanned pregnancies and love all my children planned and unplanned, and so does my husband. But I do believe in free speech:)

    • I too believe in free speech. It is your right to say that “if one doesn’t have anything positive to say about a post then they shouldn’t say anything at all” and then to completely contradict yourself by saying you believe in free speech. I didn’t say Sarah had no right to say what ever she wants to say. I didn’t say she couldn’t post what she wanted to post. I just stated the truth.

      • She is also allowing you free speech by not moderating your posts. It just seems like you are taking a tone with Sarah and others on here who have a difference of opinion with you on the use of these herbs and whether or not it is abortion. When reading blogs I don’t usually post a comment unless I have something positive to say. Please try to remember that this blog has a large auience of people of all walks of faiths and beliefs. That is what is so wonderful of the world wide web, we have Catholics, Jewish, atheists, Muslims, Protestants and many faiths, and we each believe what we want.

        • Stephanie – I am not “taking a tone” – I am stating the logical conclusion – a fertilized ovum is a human life and purposely preventing that life from implanting is no different than scraping it out after it has burrowed into the uterine lining. Logical and scientific.
          Why are you commenting if you don’t have anything positive to say about what I said?
          Do you see how that is not logical? Also, my right to speak is not “allowed” by anyone. It is my right. As it is your right to listen or not. Just saying. And some will be glad to know this information.

  9. Sarah has the right to free speech of course, but that doesn’t mean that what you say doesn’t have consequences . . . positive and negative. I feel that their are a lot of negative consequences that are going to result from posting about herbs that are known abortificants. Women who precieve themselves to be in a desperate situation when faced with an unplanned pregnancy do things they regret later. . . that type of remorse doesn’t go away overnight.

      • Pretty sure the remorse over killing your unborn baby and the remorse over a one night stand are significantly different. Pretttyy sure. Of course I do have my logic pants on, not my selfish pants. I had to put those away when I “accidentally” got pregnant.

  10. Just because it’s an herb and a “natural substance” doesn’t mean it isn’t messing with your body and a healthy thing to do. Normal reproductive function is a state of health, and my guess is that to inhibit that, even using natural things, you are doing your body a disservice. I am not saying there is NO PLACE for these herbs, but to use them regularly and act as if there is not effect on your health is probably not a good idea. Just my two cents. I am a big Fertility awarness/natural family planning advocate, though, just so you know my bias :)

    • I totally agree Hannah! God made our bodies to be fertile. Even though it is “natural” that doesn’t mean it isn’t harmful. This is going against Mother Nature. I know some of Sarah’s readers are religious and some aren’t, but I thought I would share a couple quotes from the early Church fathers regarding abortion:

      Minucius Felix

      “There are some [pagan] women who, by drinking medical preparations, extinguish the source of the future man in their very bowels and thus commit a parricide before they bring forth. And these things assuredly come down from the teaching of your [false] gods. . . . To us [Christians] it is not lawful either to see or hear of homicide” (Octavius 30 [A.D. 226]).

      Hippolytus

      “Women who were reputed to be believers began to take drugs to render themselves sterile, and to bind themselves tightly so as to expel what was being conceived, since they would not, on account of relatives and excess wealth, want to have a child by a slave or by any insignificant person. See, then, into what great impiety that lawless one has proceeded, by teaching adultery and murder at the same time!” (Refutation of All Heresies [A.D. 228]).

      Here is the source for both qutoes: http://www.catholic.com/tracts/abortion

      • One more quote:

        Basil the Great

        “Let her that procures abortion undergo ten years’ penance, whether the embryo were perfectly formed, or not” (First Canonical Letter, canon 2 [A.D. 374]).

        “He that kills another with a sword, or hurls an axe at his own wife and kills her, is guilty of willful murder; not he who throws a stone at a dog, and unintentionally kills a man, or who corrects one with a rod, or scourge, in order to reform him, or who kills a man in his own defense, when he only designed to hurt him. But the man, or woman, is a murderer that gives a philtrum, if the man that takes it dies upon it; so are they who take medicines to procure abortion; and so are they who kill on the highway, and rapparees” (ibid., canon 8).

        • Sarah, those quotes came at times when a pregnant woman – and her eventual child, if they were lucky enough to both survive – were the property of the father, meant to carry on the family name and, sometimes, it was HIS right to sell them both into slavery. Ol’ Basil wasn’t against abortion because it was “unnatural” or “immoral,” it was because it was tantamount to a lowly woman stealing a man’s PROPERTY.

          Also, he was against any kind of possession against the bare minimum. I’m guessing that since you have the time to post asinine and out-of-context comments on the internet, you are NOT living on the bare minimum and giving the rest to the poor. You, according to the people you quote, should be put to death, along with the women who aborted.

          • Jade, you said you were Jewish, not Catholic. This belief came from the Ten Commandments which I’m sure you are quite familiar with: “Thou Shall Not Kill”. Pretty simple. Times can change, civilizations vary, but that simple commandment has stood for well over two thousand years and continues to inform civilizations today. Sarah just may be living at the bare minimum and giving to the poor. I know a lot of Catholics who do live that way.

          • I am Jewish, well remembered. What belief is it, exactly, that I am professing here? Those quotes were in desperate need of context.

  11. Yeah, let’s all keep being excited with our unplanned pregnancies until the earth has more people than grass. And since we’re nitpicking semantics and word choices, I urge you to please stop saying preceive. It’s perceive.

    I’d never even heard of using herbs to prevent pregnancy/implantation until I saw this post, nor had I heard of this idea that preventing implantation is akin to abortion. If you feel this way, whatever, but don’t get snarky with the author for trying to educate people. Like Sarah said, this is a blog about health, not religion.

    Just because you don’t like something, or it doesn’t align with your views, doesn’t make other people’s views ignorant. (This goes for both sides of the debate) The argument over when human life begins is surely not going to be settled in the comments section of this blog.

    • Human life will always carry morality as it’s partner. It’s just a fact of civilization. It doesn’t matter if you practice religion or not. And Jane, you obviously have been hoodwinked into the notion that we are overpopulating the earth. In fact, especially in America, this is the opposite. The birth rate in the U.S. is now below Europe’s for the first time ever, we don’t have the population to cover the entitlement programs we have in place right now to support the elderly when we are older and even my high schoolers know that all the people in the world would fit into the state of Texas! (And that’s public school that’s teaching it.) So please get your facts straight before giving silly answers like that. Sarah is used to people questioning her otherwise she wouldn’t have been a blog writer in the first place.

      • Bethany, Spain has a negative population growth rate if you don’t include the immigrants – mostly African. I lived there for 2 years. Spaniards complained about it all the time.

        • Shaniqua, I didn’t know that. I was quoting this “We generally look to Europe to see low fertility rates and shrinking populations. However, according to the Economist magazine, the U.S., at 1.9, now has a fertility rate lower than France, whose fertility rate stands at 2.0. ” from this article: http://townhall.com/columnists/starparker/2012/10/15/on_the_road_to_death_panels/page/2 by Star Parker. It is off point of this blog discussion but it does make you wonder why women seem to impress on others to only have one to two children… is this still the influence of the women’s lib movement of the 70′s? My mom is still anti-large families because of that and I find it to be an eery belief that we beat down women who want to have more children and don’t see that as a threat to our womanhood. I personally am very jealous of women who have large families. I wish I’d chosen that.

  12. Thank you Sarah for posting this information!! I recently had a late term miscarriage and did not receive a rhogham shot afterwards. We feel like we are done having children, yet we’re worried about a ‘oops’ pregnancy and the complications that would bring to both myself and the baby. We tried charting- that lasted a few months. Now we’re just using condoms and paying attention to when I’m fertile (It’s fairly easy for me to tell). I can’t wait to share this information with my husband! Thanks!

    • I’m sure you know this – but in case a comments reader doesn’t know – you can have an antibody test after a miscarriage to determine whether the baby and mother had an Rh incompatibility. This can also be monitored in pregnancy, too. You wouldn’t need rhogam if the baby was of the same Rh, even if you had prior pregnancies with a baby of an incompatible Rh factor.

  13. Thank you so much for this information. In the past year I’ve been looking into herbal birth control but found the information to be very overwhelming. I appreciate the work that you put into researching this. It’s a great jumping off point for me to dig deeper!

  14. Pingback: Natural Birth Control Using Herbs | CookingPlanet

  15. Sara James via Facebook October 22, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    Yea, that got me reaaaal far. My husband returned from overseas and I was pregnant even though I was “successfully” charting my cycle, ha!

  16. Kati Stiles Carter via Facebook October 22, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    Mega doses of vit. C can cause serious birth defects if it doesn’t cause a miscarriage…

  17. The point of vitamin C in this article is not to induce miscarriage but to prevent implantation. I realize that some may not agree with preventing implantation, but I wanted to provide a complete listing for everyone to consider and make a personal decision about. If implantation (pregnancy) has already occurred, then these methods are not suitable as described in this article.

  18. Claire Latham via Facebook October 22, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    A great way to practice NFP ( and very safe) is with an excellent monitor like clearblue easy. They work amazingly well for prevention :)

  19. Sara, have you heard of using lemon juice as a spermicide? Someone was telling me about it, and I’m wondering if it’s effective at all (as back up to NFP).

  20. Maria Phillips via Facebook October 22, 2012 at 9:46 pm

    Using the restroom right after has worked for some women. I read a story in book where a lady tried for so many years to have children. Her doctor later learned that she always got up immediately to use restroom. He instructed her to wait laying down for 30 minutes and she was pregnant the next month. So, just do the opposite.

    • Oh gosh, that never worked for me! I go to the bathroom every time just after (to protect again UTIs) and I’ve gotten pregnant 3 times in the past 4 years. lol

  21. Valerie Ford Colley via Facebook October 22, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    Easiest natural family planning (albeit somewhat expensive) is the lady-comp personal computer. You take your temp every morning, it does the rest, whether you’re trying to prevent pregnancy or get pregnant. It’s brilliant!

    • Valerie, Thank you so much for mentioning the Lady-Comp Personal Fertility Monitor, I’d never heard of it! I read the reviews on Amazon for it, and I think it is just the Birth Control Method my husband and I have been searching for! It really does sound easy and reliable if used consistently.

      • Heather, we’ve been using it successfully for over a year. It’s been perfect for us! Very easy to just take one’s temp in the morning and go on with life. And helpful for pinpointing the best days later on if you do want to conceive.

  22. Hi Sarah, thank you for being brave and posting this information, it is valuable and helpful for a planet that is hugely overpopulated, and as a qualified medical herbalist I commend you for it, and also the way in which you have written it. I’m not going to add my two cents worth to the raging debate your posting has created, but I would like to thank you for educating women that there are reliable alternatives out there, that aren’t detrimental to our health.
    I love your blog, you are amazing! Keep up the good work :)

  23. Sarah, thank you so much for writing this post. This information may prove to be very useful in my future.

    I think it is wrong to say that this information will cause women to make rash decisions that they will regret later. There are many example of information that can be used for good or bad, but that does not mean we should deprive ourselves of knowledge. If anything, having this information will encourage women to think about their personal beliefs and be more responsible about potential pregnancy.

  24. Who are we to say when life begins? Are we ultimately the Creator of it? By doing something to your body or taking something after you have had sex to prevent pregnancy, you are admitting that ‘something’ (a baby) could have been made.

    • Well, from this passive aggressive comment it looks like you think YOU are the one to say when life begins.

      • Not me. God. “You formed me in my mother’s womb…..I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (from Psalm 139) Pretty sure I don’t want to be messing with what God has created.

        • So YOUR interpretation of what God means.

          My God ever so slightly disagrees with yours. Get over yourself.

  25. Thank you so much for a great article! I am an OB nurse, and I have many patients who cannot take BCPs b/c of issues like MTHFR or clotting issues. I am thankful for your research, and the time you give us.

  26. Thank you for this, I have blood clotting issues and cannot take bc pills and cannot have an iud also because of health issues and it is nice to see other options besides diaphragms. I have had past problems with miscarriages and premature births were the babies did not survive and to keep myself from going through the emotional stress I rather try to prevent pregnancy unless it is planned. I understand there are many different views on the herbal prevention of pregnancy and that some see it as aborting, but is it any different than taking a bc pill? Doesn’t bc pills prevent implantation also? I am not educated in this field and I am not being negative this is purely a curiosity question.

    • Yes, Margarita, there are drugs that are identified as “contraception” but actually prevent implantation, not conception. These drugs are also morally problematic for the same reason: destroying an already-formed embryo before it has a chance to implant.

  27. Thank you for this post. We practice FAM and this would be nice to in cooperate into the routine. God gave us all the plants of the earth to use. This includes plants that effect fertility, whether they increase or decrease it. If He didn’t want them to be used that way, then they would not be effective. He gave us very clear signs of fertility so as women we may understand when to best achieve pregnancy or to avoid. He gave us FREE WILL and that’s why these things are known and work for us. We have the choice to conceive or not to.

    • Think more about what you are saying here about the free use of plants. If I give someone I don’t like a fruit salad with deadly nightshade mixed in, that would be okay, just because it’s effective at killing a person? Is that really the plant’s intended use?
      I think our free will gives us the responsibility to say – just because we can, should we?

  28. Emily Upchurch via Facebook October 22, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    Curious as to how exactly the first three work to prevent conception. You say that stoneseed has been used for permanent sterility and thistles for temporary…how does that work? By shutting down the ovaries /temporarily preventing ovulation? Just wondering–aren’t there long-term health effects from preventing a bodily system from functioning normally?

    • Preventing ovulation repeatedly would throw a woman into estrogen dominance and its whole host of negative effects; diabetes, breast cancer, etc., – good question that deserves a scientific answer.

  29. Very interesting, thankyou! However, you don’t include the mechanisms by which these herbs induce sterility or menstruation. Presumably they act on the endocrine system in some way… is there research on whether or not this is optimal for health?

    PS – Love your blog! :-)

  30. Sarah, I really enjoy your blog and am grateful for all I have learned from you.

    To this discussion of whether preventing implantation is in fact abortion, or ending human life, I would like to offer the following information:

    This is a quote from Dr. Jerome LeJeune, the renowned French geneticist who discovered the cause of Down syndrome, on the subject of when life begins:

    “Life has a very long history, but each individual has a very neat beginning, the moment of its conception. The material link is the molecular thread of DNA. In each reproductive cell this ribbon, roughly one meter long, is cut into pieces, twenty-three, or chromosomes. As soon as the 23 paternally-derived chromosomes are united through fertilization to the 23 maternal ones, the full genetic meeting necessary to express all the inborn qualities of a new individual is gathered, and personal constitution takes place. . . .To accept the fact that after fertilization has taken place a new human being has come into being is no longer a matter of taste or opinion.”

    When a woman makes a choice to try and prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg, she needs to know exactly what she is ending: the life of her own child.

  31. Thanks for sharing this important information, Sarah. Child spacing awareness and information about how our own bodies work are both too important not to share! Women are capable of deciding these things for themselves. To deny us information, to make our contraception decisions dangerous or impossible, is to call our bodies not our own. If we don’t own our bodies, then someone else does, and that is called slavery. Just imagine women ages 12-42 informed and in charge of their bodies worldwide, having babies because we are ready to, because the older one already nursed for a year or two and is happily weaned and thriving, because we are fully recovered from the previous pregnancy, because our husbands are kind and supportive, because we have completed our educations, because we are adults now and can be trusted with basic information about our own bodies.

      • And in this world that you speak of, all women would be over the age of 27 before they started having children. There would not be women who were saved by unplanned pregnancies, physically and mentally, or brought people together through unplanned pregnancies, or created new families. To play God is truly foolish. Trusting our bodies to do what is right is different than being a slave to them. We know how women get pregnant, it is easily avoided if we are “not ready”.

  32. I really appreciate your blog and the information you share. I know that you are trying to be informational but I agree that women need to know that if they willfully prevent implantation they are ending the life of their baby. The debate of if it is an abortion or not is not necessary.. If an egg is fertilized, yet never implants naturally then that is one thing, but for a person to use any substance to prevent the pregnancy then they are ending life. There is no way around it. Maybe you could add that into the post as a disclaimer? Life is so fragile and precious..

  33. I too couldn’t help but be disappointed by this post. From the moment of conception the child has a complete set of unique DNA and is a human being that is separate from the mother. What merely changes during implantation is the fact that the child starts to receive oxygen and nutrients from the mother to be able to grow.
    The evidence is hard to ignore if one is truly seeking the truth regarding when life begins. This has nothing to do with anyone’s religious beliefs.
    Sarah\’s last post: Preschool Inspiration

  34. Amina Sadr via Facebook October 23, 2012 at 12:01 am

    Ovulation predictors aren’t a good bet at all) first of all, women can ovulate more than once per cycle. Yes they can. Second, there is no sperm viability predictor.

  35. Lisa Olson via Facebook October 23, 2012 at 12:08 am

    Look into the Lady Comp. I love mine!!! (It’s a little “computer” that does the NFP calculations for you.)

  36. Lisa Olson via Facebook October 23, 2012 at 12:08 am

    Look into the Lady Comp. I love mine!!! (It’s a little “computer” that does the NFP calculations for you.)

  37. I have no desire to enter into an abortion debate.

    But I do want to urge you to add more information to your original article. Herbs are potent…that’s one reason we like them. When you discuss ways to use herbs to interfere with a positive control mechanism, it would be wise to add a few other things, such as symptoms to look for that would indicate a need for medical assistance (hemorrhage, ovarian pain, sepsis, etc) and also what to do if the herbs are not successful. You might also want to add a medical disclaimer, as if the herbs don’t successfully kill the human before implantation, congenital defects or other complications that result could make things messy for everyone involved.

    This was something I’ve had to learn about herbology discussion in general. People like to try things out and they like to pop things into their mouths. I ran into some discussions where people were actually destroying their gut w/ OLE, for example.

    Anyways, please just consider adding more context to the article and stressing the importance of being informed or of seeking guidance from an informed herbalist. Herbs are potent…that’s what I tend to repeat over and over to people who ask for info.
    Guggie Daly\’s last post: Today’s Links on Childbirth Myths

    • I agree with you, and to say that’s an overreaction is to dismiss our history of traditional medicine as impotent as some would say traditional food is for building health. It is hard on a woman to suddenly not be pregnant, no matter the chosen intervention. (It is hard on the body even when completely spontaneous!) To not offer any suggestion for post pregnancy care is not health promoting. Do we not gather around the table to both eat a delicious meal but to gain the long term benefits of nutrition from that meal? That is healthful and holistic eating. Let’s address the woman’s physical, emotional and spriritual state after the pregnancy is ended (or mensturation is initiated) – that is healthful and holistic care. A woman needs all the information, including risks and side effects, of a process to truly make an informed decision.

    • Absolutely! As a student of homeopathy, I see how many symptoms are overlooked by the regular medical profession already and then to think of people treating themselves with substances causing that much change, is really taking a risk for your health in general. I would only advise doing anything this drastic with someone who is a professional.

    • Thank you for your reply as it said exactly what I was thinking, only better!

      My concern would be for a woman to read only this article without being completely informed of what’s going on. However Sarah does say to go to an herbalist AND it’s an article online and I would think that anyone serious enough to search out jack pulpit stuff is likely to do their research. :)

  38. Weird article- take herbs to destroy a perfectly healthy condition- fertility?? NFP is easy with The Ovulation Method and no, you do not have to test the stretchy-ness of your cervical mucus. Abstaining from sex a few days a month is no big deal if you are postponing pregnancy with NFP. You don’t have to abstain from hand holding, talking, foot massages, going out to dinner- everything that will make sex after the fertile time passes great! That’s why they say people who use NFP have a honeymoon every month! :) They also statistically have sex more often than contracepting couples.

    • The Couple to Couple League has lots printed material and books for those of you who are interested in Natural Family Planning: http://www.ccli.org/ This is the safest form of control over your body without having to ingest anything. And it promotes a stronger relationship between couples because the husband has to understand what is happening with the wife’s body. I am really sorry to all the men who get forgotten in the picture when they contribute sperm to the creation of life– are we that selfish as women that we think creation begins and ends with us and our bodies? Hardly. I hope my son marries a woman who wants to be a partner in life and in deciding about their family… not someone who leaves pregnancy up to chance by taking herbs or drugs (which by the way did not work for me and I have two kids to prove it!). I have many friends who’ve used NFP (one actually works for the CCL) and it is the healthiest way to go and they have the strongest marriages.

  39. Guggie L Daly via Facebook October 23, 2012 at 12:36 am

    As I mentioned in a comment…please consider adding more context to your article! Herbs are potent! Tinkering with the endocrine system to disrupt/suppress it or attempting to end a positive control mechanism are big things…obviously I do not believe bloggers can take responsibility for what other people do, but a quick note about side effects, dangers, etc is in order.

    For example, you emphasize that vit C prevents implantation as opposed to an abortion. But that doesn’t change the possible risky outcome…if that human implants despite high dosages of vit C, there is a possibility for congenital defects. And other issues, such as having severely impaired kidney function while pregnant.

  40. Isn’t it about time we respected our fertility and asked the men in our lives to do the same? We are only fertile about 100 hours a month and there are signs that indicate we are approaching ovulation- if you know how to recognize those signs and how to act around them, you have a very effective way to plan your family!

  41. Ramona Frichtl via Facebook October 23, 2012 at 12:42 am

    So disappointed for the very first time. If the herb prevents implantation isn’t the process considered abortive. Life and all the necessary DNA are present with conception. If conception has occurred there is a life and there is a pregnancy. From that point on all the baby needs is nutrition…..so sad that this is something you would publish as a possible way of ending a life that has already begun….To prevent implantation is to deny the baby nutritions. This seems very odd since you are all about nutrition.

  42. Ramona Frichtl via Facebook October 23, 2012 at 12:42 am

    So disappointed for the very first time. If the herb prevents implantation isn’t the process considered abortive. Life and all the necessary DNA are present with conception. If conception has occurred there is a life and there is a pregnancy. From that point on all the baby needs is nutrition…..so sad that this is something you would publish as a possible way of ending a life that has already begun….To prevent implantation is to deny the baby nutritions. This seems very odd since you are all about nutrition.

  43. Sara Sharp via Facebook October 23, 2012 at 1:43 am

    I agree with many of the above comments. Using herbs to mess with your fertility is a bad idea and can be just as dangerous as drugs, including being abortifacient. NFP works when done properly. Take a class. If there isn’t one in your area you can take one online at nfpi.org. And NFP can also be used to help you get pregnant. Same skill set. Same information you record. You just change what you do with that information.

  44. Honestly, this just made my stomach turn–and that isn’t a “religious” reaction. If human life doesn’t begin at conception, then when the heck DOES it begin? I have been following (and greatly appreciating) this blog for a long time, but really wonder now if I can continue to support a site that encourages a practice that ends human life intentionally. Just because something is “natural” and from a “traditional culture” does not make it good. Native tribes in Canada also used to eat the hearts of warriors for courage (out of respect for the person’s giftedness, ironically). Let’s not pick that up, too.

    And Sarah: I am particularly disappointed and unimpressed by your snapping and refusal to actually engage the concerns of many of your followers. It’s really unprofessional, and a huge turn-off.

    • In addition, there is not even a need for this. Creighton NFP is as or more effective than the pill (both from the science and from TONS of anecdotal experience with many friends of mine). And the reality is that any large amount of something to end or stall a pregnancy–again, even if it’s “natural”–does not mean that it is automatically good for a woman’s body. By intentionally ending a pregnancy or forcing sterility, don’t you incite massive, sudden hormonal changes? Obviously this happens in miscarriages, too, but intuitively, it seems like making this kind of change happen more frequently than the body naturally decides can’t be good. Just because it’s caused by something natural doesn’t mean the changes caused are in their proper, natural course.

  45. Sarah, you poor thing having to deal with all the above comments on abortion. Sigh, please be positive that many many people are so grateful for all the information you provide!

    I was wondering if you knew much about Wild Yam? Sister Zeus
    Zeus tells accounts of women who have used the herb successfully as a daily contraceptive.

  46. It baffles the mind why some people are so concerned with how others choose to live their lives. If you don’t think it’s right to get an abortion or even use herbs to prevent pregnancy then don’t get one/use them. Although I don’t agree with everything Sarah says regarding nutrition I pick and choose the bits and pieces that suit me and how I choose to live my life. For me this post was relevant as I am currently looking for natural ways to treat my infertility. So thank you Sarah. Similarly if I see a post I don’t agree with/have no interest in I skip past it, as I suggest those who have a problem with this one do and let everyone get back to living their lives the way they choose.

    • These people aren’t concerned with how others choose to live their lives. They are concerned with others not allowing another to live theirs.

      • So let’s just make murder legal or child abduction… as long as it doesn’t affect you. This is an extremely weak argument. I suppose you get to decide on morality for the nation.

        • What I was saying is this is not the forum to be having a pro life/pro choice debate. I don’t believe that was sarah’s intention with regards to this particular post. Sarah’s blog is about empowerment over out bodies and what we choose to put in them, whether that be food or medicine and yes,whether we choose to have a baby or not. If you don’t subscribe to her beliefs then like I said before DON’T READ IT. There are plenty of other forums you can have that debate.

          As far as deciding on the morality of the nation, the majority has already collectively decided that a woman has the legal right to decide what happens to her body. So like I said before if you don’t agree with abortion DON’T GET ONE.

          As for me personally I could never have an abortion but far be it for me to deny that option to any other woman. What about the victims of rape or incest who fall pregnant? Would you deny them the right to control what happens to their body? What if that person was your sister, friend or daughter? Would you force them to go through with an unwanted pregnancy? Regardless of the circumstances the vast majority of women who come to the decision to abort do not come to it easily and it’s something they have to live with for the rest of their of their lives, but it’s legal for them do it and they should be left to do so without the judgement of others.

          • Hey Alex,

            Do you believe in slavery? If not, then don’t own a slave! That line of reasoning is completely illogical! “I would never actually get an abortion myself, but if anyone else wants to murder their unborn child, it’s their right.”

          • Jennifer your argument is the illogical one. Slavery is illegal abortion is not.

            Beth, The President of the United States appoints the supreme court justices “by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.” The president and senators are there because the MAJORITY have elected them, they represent the MAJORITY’S onions and values. Democracy 101.

          • Alex, slavery is illegal now (in the US; still legal and thriving in many other countries) but was considered legal and “normal” less than 150 years ago. Who’s to say that 50-100, 200 years from now, our civilization won’t look back at this point in time as the same scourge on our nation’s history? When we stood silently by (because that’s what your “don’t have one” reasoning suggests) and allowed millions of children to be murdered in the name of convenience? I can show you plenty of things that are perfectly legal that are not RIGHT!

            As for your democracy 101 lesson, the supreme court justices (all MEN, by the way, in the Roe v. Wade decision, for all those who use the “this is a women’s issue, men have no say” argument) are appointed by the sitting president and CONFIRMED by the senate (two senators per state). Those senator confirm the justices, not by a majority vote from the people they represent, but by a simple majority of the senate (as little as 51%) after a recommendation by the committee that does the hearing. Then that justice is on the court for LIFE. To insinuate that the justices who voted to uphold Roe v. Wade were a fair representation of the MAJORITY of the US is completely wrong. NEVER, in the history of our country (even NOW) has there been a majority of American people who support abortion without reservation. To say the justices would represent a MAJORITY’S values shows a very misguided understanding of the Supreme Court’s job. All they can do is decide the CONSTITUTIONALITY of a case, no more. The fact that Roe v. Wade paved the way for all abortions to be legal (and tax-payer funded) is such a gross overstepping of their legal purview, anyone using as a “just” reason in the abortion debate should be ashamed!

  47. Nathalie Farquet via Facebook October 23, 2012 at 4:01 am

    I also like NFP in combination with a barrier method (like a cervical cap) on the fertile days… and think about a natural sponge to enjoy the period days without making a mess :)

  48. Jennifer Stowe Konesco via Facebook October 23, 2012 at 9:11 am

    I agree 100% with Kimberly Schnitker above. Once you have an embryo it’s a baby. Taking herbs or Vitamin C to prevent the embryo from implanting is abortion. I love your blog but it’s kinda crazy that the blog suggests that we are horrible moms if we give our kids boxed cereal but it’s okay and normal to take herbs to abort a brand new fetus.

  49. Sarah, thank you. I know there are a lot of comments on here that do not accept what you have written and everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but as a 20-something who has only been married a year, I am just wanting to drop my birth control pills, as I have dropped the rest of my prescriptions and go to natural methods (herbs included) of family planning. Obviously, I am still learning and I am gaining knowledge on the best way to get rid of the pills, as I have been on them for WAY too long – I was prescribed them to “regulate” my periods and I definitely have disrupted gut flora :(

  50. Sarah, just wanted to say thank you for posting this. While I also believe life begins at the conception, I am aware that there is often opportunity for the egg not to implant without the woman ever being aware she had conceived. Thus, my lack of concern regarding the use of birth control, other than that of my own health so I may give birth to healthy children when I am ready.

  51. For those of you considering your options, I would highly recommend the Creighton Model Fertility Care system. This post points out the negatives of natural family planning. If that’s all you look at, I’m sure you will be dissatisfied with it, just as you would be if you only looked at the negatives of anything else in life. NFP does take some effort on your part. So does preparing traditional food, but we do it anyway because it’s good for us. Using NFP can really help your marriage. You’ll also learn to read your body and be much more in-tune with your health. I can see patterns in my charting based on stress and nutrition. I can also determine if the day is fertile or not in less time (combined time throughout the day) than it takes to make a cup of tea. You can use this method to avoid pregnancy (99% method effective, 96% use effective), or to achieve a pregnancy (76% by first cycle with normal fertility). This is empowering, freeing, and something wonderful to share with your husband! A functioning reproductive system is HEALTHY! Why do something to destroy or impair it?

    I am curious what action the herbs have that they could prevent pregnancy, implantation, or cause permanent sterility.

  52. There are a spectrum of belief systems out there, and some of us find this information useful. Thanks, Sarah.

  53. Abby Hartman via Facebook October 23, 2012 at 10:45 am

    Do the Implantation Preventers prevent the sperm from implanting the egg or is this if insemination has occurs?

  54. Your description of Natural Family Planning is inadequate. Yes, you do all the things you mention when you’re getting started. The female body remarkable in all that it tells you about your natural fertility. In the beginning you gather information; you’re not setting up a life long practice. Once you see how your cycle is running, you do NOT need to do all that. I’ve done NFP for years without charts and thermometers. It becomes pretty obvious.

  55. Just learn fertility awareness methods. No chemicals, either natural or artificial, needed. Just because something is natural doesn’t mean it’s safe or good for us or without risk. Arsenic is natural. Digitalis is natural.

  56. Patty Jess Conover via Facebook October 23, 2012 at 10:49 am

    I’m so disappointed to read this here. I never expected to see an article about how to go AGAINST our body’s healthy mechanisms.

  57. I love your blog! I read it everyday and this is the first time I am posting! This is obviously a HOT TOPIC! So, thanks for being brave to put this information out there. I myself, will look into this further….I have tried various birth control methods over the years and fall nothing short of a NUT CAKE. I remember 1 time I got BC from Planned Parenthood (young, no insurance) and became CRAZY…I mean crazy. In less than a month, I was angry all of the time and I remember clearly thinking about the knives I had in my kitchen drawer. It wasn’t until I went to dinner with my parents and my dad went to the restroom and my mom took a moment to ask me if I was mad at her and what she did to make me so angry. I called PP the next day and they assured me it wasn’t the pills! So, I took myself off the BC. I tried again years later with the Nuva Ring. It was supposed to be only local hormones. That time, I almost lost my job because I was crazy lady again. Fast forward several years and I’m now 37 years old and inbetween children. I just had my first baby 20 days before my 36th birthday. My husband and I were using nothing but the pull-out method prior to PG and wow! We were lucky and shocked when we concieved on our first try! Eeekk!!! So, after that, I decided I had to do something. This time I am on the IUD. No crazy lady side effects, but obviously, there could be other effects happening to my body I didn’t consider. SO…LONG STORY SHORT….THANKS SARAH FOR YOUR INFORMATION. AS ALWAYS, IT IS APPRECIATED! I’ll be looking into it :) ~Sarah

  58. As a previously devoted reader of this blog, I am also very disappointed in this post. I will be unsubscribing now.

  59. I wonder if there are long term effects of using these herbs? I doubt there are any studies since no drug company would fund it.

    Thank you, Sarah, for having the courage to post this information – even knowing the blowback you’d get from your religious readers. I always marvel at how strident anti-abortionist are. (I hate abortion, too, btw.). I wish more of that energy was directed at anti-war efforts – isn’t that every bit about killing the already born? Too bad there are no herbs to prevent war, huh?

  60. Everyone has a right to their own opinion…but how about common sense here! If you are not interested in this subject…then DON’T read it. Everyone doesn’t have the same beliefs, there are different circumstances for different people. The facts are simple…don’t believe in it, go to the next post and enjoy that one.

  61. It would benefit all to realize that there is only one TRUTH when it comes to life. It has nothing to do with ‘our beliefs’. We don’t change when life begins simply because we ‘believe’ it to be different than someone else’s. A truth , such as when life begins, as easily defined by logic, reason and science, is either being ACCEPTED or REJECTED. There can’t be ‘your truth’ and ‘my truth’. That is moral relativism. It has lead to a very slippery slope and truly divides mankind.

  62. I lived off ginger candy during pregnancy to help with nausea (recommended by a doctor btw) so it is not an abortion causing chemical. Geeze people get over yourselves! And some people who want to have regular periods and can’t need a forced period, because after about 3-4 months the cells could mutate causing cancer. Doctors have to force periods for health reasons all the time. Some people would rather try natural remedies to avoid a doctor visit or are unable to afford expensive constant trips to the doctor. Trust me any help is appreciated.

  63. Thank you Sarah for braving the negative comments and posting. This information is informative and truly appreciated. I am currently not healthy enough to be pregnant and if I did get pregnant it would likely result in a baby with health issues. I’ve been through enough with illness to feel that I would not want a brand new life to start out that way. It’s helpful to know there are herbal ways to prevent pregnancy. I was on the pill for years and wasn’t educated by any doctor about what long term use does to your body. Only now after battling health issues (the biggest one a horrible gut imbalance) have i found out that the pill was one of the contributing factors. I think your website is great and very helpful. I learn a lot from you and appreciate the time is takes you to research and write. Thank you. Even if I don’t always agree with you or use all of your tips, it’s good to read it, it’s informative. I also then do my own research. Keep posting information, let people criticize and comment. They should learn to do their own research. If they feel so strongly then they should start their own website, not bash others. We have free will to follow or not follow any information provided. Thanks Sarah!

    also, fyi, wikipedia really isn’t a very good source of information…anyone can edit the entries…it’s not a bad jumping off point, but only if you go to the original source of info…not cite the wikipedia article itself

  64. I’m curious. I know that herbs can actually alter hormones, which I imagine is how they work to “prevent pregnancy.” But is this SAFE? I am one of the many women desperately struggling with jacked up hormones and gut flora thanks in part to 6 years of the Pill. It is SO HARD to recover hormonal balance… at least, that’s my experience. I would be afraid that once I finally had a child, these anti-fertility herbs would throw off my hormonal balance all over again…

    So, are these safe for hormone balance or what? Thanks!
    Mindy\’s last post: Wedding Guest Book MAD LIBS – Advice for Newlyweds – PDF – Classic by TheHomespunArtisan

  65. Wow, can’t believe the debate going on here. THANK YOU for posting this! I’ve been thinking about taking out my copper iud because it seriously messes with my cycles but didn’t know what other options I could have. NOT everyone wants to be blessed with a baby like the other commenters here appear to be.. Sure it’s natural, but I also think about the state of affairs in our country, the economy and things like that before considering bringing another child into this world. I am happy with my one child and want to invest as much of my time into his development! So thank you, thank you :)

  66. I have been very thankful for the information on this blog and all I have learned about traditional diets. However, this article is really disappointing and your comments are even more so. Of course it is your right to provide all the options available for fertility management and as readers we should think critically before blindly accepting the advice of others. Personally, I believe life begins when an egg is fertilized, therefore anything that prevents implantation would be an abortifacient. Since you believe life begins when a fertilized egg is implanted, you would not see these herbal methods as problematic or an attack on life. You are not the authority on life and do not get to define when life begins. So please do not belittle others in your comments when they have serious concerns with some of the herbs you have recommended above, for ethical and for health reasons. Your tone has been very unprofessional and honestly a turn off from reading your blog.

  67. This is important and interesting information, and thank you for posting this article.

    I have studied herbs and do think, however, that a caution is wise in any article like this; herbs ARE potent and must be taken seriously and often this means going to an herbal practitioner for advice. Just please be careful/cautious in your use of herbs.

    Also, I am past the age of fertility, and over the years I tried various birth control methods. I have three beautiful children, almost fully grown. I am just going to offer that each individual has very individual needs, our bodies are different, our relationship situations are different, our economics are different. I have had different situations at different times in my life. I can attest that birth control pills “worked” but I paid a price (they affected my moods and anxiety levels as well as other things). I felt so much better and “myself” when I went off them, finally. The FAM worked the best of all for me, but the sad irony of that method is that at your most fertile time of the month (when you abstain) is the time when you most want to do “it.” So it is not perfect, either. I tried condoms and to be quite honest — I hate them. Here’s why: the power of human touch is muted when your body parts are encased in rubber. Seriously. Lovemaking is more spiritually intense (the connection between the two of you), without condoms, in my experience. I even tried an IUD after my 3rd child and got pregnant while on it, “sensed” my pregnancy … and then of course the pregnancy ended (IUD did its job) and I experienced the grief, loss, guilt. So my *personal* experience with an IUD was horrifying and not at all what I expected.

    I am both relieved to be at the end of my fertility, and grateful that I still have all of my organs intact and working (no tubal ligations, etc.). I think our whole (not surgically butchered) bodies are the best way to go — if at all possible.

    My main point, I guess, is that all of us are on our own fertility journey that evolves individually over the years. My awareness of my body, my spirit, my health has and continues to evolve. It is nice when we can allow each other the freedom to evolve, without berating people for being at a different place in their path than we are (or on a different path entirely).

  68. Brittany Mayer via Facebook October 23, 2012 at 11:55 am

    As an active follower of your blog, this post shocked me. It is so different than your usual posts which show how to build up our body’s natural strength and avoid unhealthy practices that can damage it. The fact that you pencil out how to interfere with a fertilized egg to prevent implantation is so disturbing and even dangerous and seems so backwards to your usual posts. Not happy about this.

  69. Religious / political beliefs aside, I don’t think any woman is “pro-abortion”…it’s an awful physical and emotional experience. I’ve never had one, but I’ve been the friend who’s accompanied plenty of “nice” girls from “good families” who found themselves unexpectedly pregnant and opted for an abortion. Plenty of women get abortions every year. Whether we like or not, women are the ones expected to take sole responsibility for “family planning”. And, certainly, when it comes to contraception, the onus falls on women….which usually means being willing to subject our bodies to patches, caps, pills, spermicides, etc…all containing synthetic hormones with potentially dangerous side effects (from anxiety and depression, to INFERTILITY–yep, that’s right!!)…or metal toxicity as in the case of copper. Since family planning often falls to the women ANYWAY, why not explore traditional natural means of family planning. Bravo to Sarah for offering FAMILY PLANNING alternatives that do NOT put a woman at risk for cancer, stroke or heart disease. THANK YOU Sarah!!!

    • How do you know these natural substances do NOT put women at risk? Infact, some do by causing increased bleeding and miscarriage. They may cause cancer, we don’t know. OR stroke, or heart disease. We DON’T KNOW!!! Just because a substance is natural doesn’t make it SAFE.

  70. Jennifer Stowe Konesco via Facebook October 23, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    Abby, preventing implantation means that the sperm has already entered the egg and an embryo has formed. This means there is now a baby. There are some herbs (and now maybe Vitamin C) that can cause the embryo (baby) to not implant into the mother’s uterine lining, thus killing the embryo. Very sad. Many people are also not educated on how birth conrol is an abortifacient. Birth control pills work in 2 ways…1) the pharmaceutical companies hope that this first method works first. It is that the pill prevents the egg from leaving the woman’s ovaries. But as we all know, sometimes an egg will still leave the ovary despite being on the pill. If the sperm enters the egg and an embry is formed, then the pill does the following with step 2. 2) The pill works to thin the woman’s uterine lining so that the embryo cannot attach to the uterine lining. Very sad that many women on the pill will never realize they were pregnant but the baby was sloughed off due to the effect of the thin uterine lining. Please read your pill box or pamphlet and see for yourself the 2 ways the pill works. Very sad most of our OB/GYNs are not telling their patients this. Knowledge is power. Your body wants to work naturally. Being fertile and monitoring your body through Natural Family Planning is a good thing. Many studies also prove NFP will help your marriage which is always a bonus!! :) It will open up communication lines and have your husband understand your body. Very cool!

  71. Hmmm. All very interesting thoughts and opinions . We live in a nutrition depleted world and our babies and children are going to take the brunt of the lack of nutrition. We all know when we are personally done having children. We opted for my husband having a vasectomy, still not a perfect way ,but he said I had gone through enough and he would take responsibility from here on out . Thank you Sarah for being willing to give information that is so controversial . Without info we cannot learn. Many of us have friends and loved ones who have suffered horribly because of the pill and IUD’s . Lets keep the information coming

    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
      Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist October 27, 2012 at 2:31 pm

      Thank you Sue! I appreciate your supportive comment. I respect everyone’s views who have commented and I am disappointed with the condemning and nasty attitude that some have shown supposedly in the name of life and love? Makes no sense whatsoever if they are actually attempting to influence someone’s opinion to their viewpoint.

      • Telling someone they are overreacting is not particularly respectful but condescending and nasty. I found all the comments to be enormously respectful until that one, as others have pointed out.

  72. Thank you so much for this post. I have always refused to use any kind of hormonal contraceptives and I have been charting successfully so far, but I worried that the copper IUD was my only guarantee. Good thing I listened to my instincts and didn’t get one! I believe charting is the best option and we should be raising more awareness to this (thanks to the two of you who mentioned the Lady Comp – I’ll be looking into that) because until recently I had no idea this was possible, and I sure didn’t learn about it in high school health class.

    I am against abortion but I am not morally opposed to preventing implantation and I think there’s a difference. That said, it would bother me if I personally had to do it, so I will stick to charting and stoneseed/thistle and accept the small risk. BUT over the existence of hormonal pills and plan b and whatever which do so much more damage, I’d promote the herbs any time. Still, I would like to see a post here that shows that charting is not so hard to do and is the most reliable and natural method.

    • Something I think a lot of women don’t realize, is that many of these herb ARE hormonal contraceptives of their own – the actually change the hormones just like you would if you took the actual hormones. So in essence, if you don’t want to use hormonal contraceptives, don’t use herbal hormonal contraceptives either, because they are BOTH hormonal – meaning, they alter or disrupt healthy hormonal functions. If you think, oh, I’m just taking an herb…. well yes….. but what does that herb do? Many natural hormones are made with ‘herbs’ – such as progesterone is made from wild yams, etc. I want to be as healthy as I can be, so I will refuse to take hormone disruptores, both as a pure hormone, or as an herbal hormone. You may already know this, but I wanted to let others know who may not be thinking that taking herbs is disruptive to your hormones.

  73. I don’t think you need to fear herbs and herbal medicine. Just be aware that it is serious medicine for your body. It is interesting that a lot of people take OTC ibuprofen, etc. without a thought, and yes I was one of those people. I was unaware of the harmful damage which can be done over time to my body.

    My view is that those of us who are interested in being as healthy as possible, look into natural and healthy alternatives for yourself, and do not be afraid. The more you learn, the more confident you will be in taking care of yourself and your family without resorting to harmful pharmaceuticals.

    As for herbs which affect female reproductive health and fertility, this is important stuff to know! I should think for those of us who do not wish to interfere with a pregnancy, knowing which herbs can cause miscarriages is very valuable info — then you will know what to AVOID!

    Sometimes a woman has been advised by her doctor not to have any more children. This happened to me after I had my twins (#2 and #3). I would have loved to have had more children but was told it would be unsafe for me (I could die). I was just 34 years old at the time with many years of fertility left in me.

    So yes, I chose birth control, though I DID NOT WANT TO. It is not easy to find the right one. Your husband has to be supportive of the method, too. It is true that some birth control methods work by preventing implantation of a fertilized egg. I think it is important for women to know how the different birth control methods “work” in order to be able to choose one which aligns with her conscience, sensitivity, health and needs.

    These things are not taught in a complete or effective way to young girls (and boys), and it is a shame.

  74. I have been trying to conceive for quite sometime so I read this blog in hopes you would mention something to help fertility at the end. Thank you for always posting information. I look forward to the email of a new blog!

    We were all created with a moral right and wrong. Years have taught me that our own ambitions in life will suppress our very moral code. Scientifically everyone is going back and forth with the definition of the moment of conception. All of us can decipher between right and wrong. It’s great to point out your convictions to help inform another. As long as we stand for something then we are still standing!

    There is an old proverb that says “He who corrects a scoffer gets shame for himself, and he who rebukes a wicked man only harms himself. Do not correct a scoffer lest he hate you; Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.” If indeed the intended ears are willing to become wiser, they will listen and benefit. I am sure everyone’s comments have assisted someone who was on the fence about this issue.

  75. I too would be interested in learning what the stoneseed, jack in the pulpit, and thistle do to your hormones and body in general. I’ve always had the thought that anything that interferes with your hormones is probably not healthy, so I would like to know how this is better (that is, with all the chemical and autoimmune side effects of the pills aside). Just talking hormones and the reproductive cycle here.

  76. Sarah is right, this blog is not about religions which are most of the times fanatisms. This is a blog about health. And health is about all that makes us whole and happy, not something that makes us be bound with concepts and precepts that in the long run will make us feel bad.
    Come on people! Be free, be happy! Do not defend something you do not understand. Sarah is right, that is not an abortion! And abortion is not completely bad at all! Think about it! God is not going to condemn you, but society is? What an imperfect world we live in! I thank the just and merciful God I beleieve in! Search for Him. He is there!

    • Another humanist response. Do what is completely convenient to you. Do your morals change every time you’re in a difficult situation? I think many of these women who commented are smarter than Sarah!

        • Not as an insult… just calling it what it is after you described people talking about their religious beliefs as “fanaticism”(mine is correct spelling). You are quick to think of anyone who practices and speaks about those beliefs as fanatical so I think that’s an insult given that most of these comments were full of good information and personal experiences. I’m not sure what God you believe in, if you do, but I’m pretty sure that most Christian, Jewish and Muslim women don’t believe that abortions are God-sanctioned. Not to mention the science behind what happens can’t be changed to fit what you morally think is not abortion. I think that there are a lot of blog readers that do know a lot more about herbs and many have stated stronger cautions about using them… that is wise.

  77. wow, how very tragic and deeply disappointing to read directions for ‘naturally’ aborting children on this blog. i sincerely hope, sarah, that you haven’t chosen to post this just because such a controversial topic will increase your blog traffic. i know you enjoy increasing your blog traffic by posting controversial things, but this is a bit too far. i am really, really sad about this…

    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
      Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist October 25, 2012 at 2:06 pm

      I posted this information as I have found it personally helpful over the years myself and wanted to share with others who are trying to avoid synthetic contraception as I have managed to do for over 20 years and still space my children as I wanted to and maintain my hormone and gut health. That is all.

      • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
        Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist October 25, 2012 at 2:16 pm

        I certainly was not intending or wanting to offend anyone or make some sort of statement with this post. If there are some parts that you don’t like or don’t agree with, that is of course always fine. Just ignore what you don’t like and use what you find useful. We don’t have to insult each other and denigrate each other’s beliefs do we? Let’s just accept each other and enjoy what we each have to share!

      • Sarah, I get what you’re saying here. But why then didn’t you consider that when posting about such a sensitive topic, you should handle disagreeing commenters with more grace and kindness? Of course you know that when bloggers write about controversial subjects, there will be those that debate in the comments. Anticipate it, and respond with some maturity! It is such a turnoff when you are rude and snappy to your readers.

        When I first discovered this blog a few months ago, I noticed a short/rude comeback to one of your commenters, and thought, “That was weird. I guess there is an inner circle in these food/health blogs in which they can respond like that…” Then it kept happening! I was shocked! I have since learned to just skip the comments so I could still learn from you. Of course, with this topic, I had to read them. I too feel strongly that this is offensive.

        One more thing. Those that believe that implantation preventers are not abortifacients are using ‘exact words’ or technicalities. If we removed those terms, and said “The willful use of a substance or action of preventing a fertilized embryo, which is a life, from implanting to continue its young life, is choosing to end that life.” … How would you answer that?

  78. Christianna, I am thankful to have learned to live my life in freedom and in love! I do not judge, for not to be judged myself. I respect other people’s experiences and beliefs, because I like to be heard and respected myself. I have been in your shoes and left a bad and bitter savor all over me. I have changed because I understood that nobody is perfect. Only God is. And He gave us the freedom to choose. Learning that I am in pece with myself and got rid of hatred, and quit using my accusatory finger on others. Now I just use it for myself. At the end of the day, I will give account of my life, not other people’s lives. Think about it! There is only one redeemer. He already died for the ones who want to embrace His grace. And by the way, Sarah wants to help, she does not deserve being treated badly. Shame on you!

    • Sorry Gloria, but I need to point out: YOU just made a judgment on someone. You need to re-evaluate the way you look at things–right now it’s sadly inconsistent. I hope you can see that.

  79. I am extremely disappointed in both your post and your responses, Sarah. Whatever lingo you choose to use, when the egg and the sperm unite, that is life. Life is precious whether you believe in God or not.

    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
      Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist October 27, 2012 at 2:27 pm

      Some Christians identify the beginning of life at the sperm and the egg. The definition of life beginning at the union of the sperm and the egg is far from the gold standard amongst Christians.

  80. I realize this is a health blog and not a religious blog. But protecting our health cannot be used as an excuse for destroying another life. Even if we do it “healthfully”. One life does not have more value than another. I am so surprised that the brightest minds cannot see the truth of the beginning of a life. So many worship at the altar of Science but will not see what is clearly there. Life is complete at conception. To ignore that is to make your own truth. We make our own truths to justify our actions. To justify destroying a life by saying it did not exsist in this case is ridiculous. If you want to destroy a human life, at least call it what it is.

  81. You guys! Come on! Whose blog is this?

    Some of these comments are incredible in their judgment (condemnation) of Sarah. This is not a blog with your own personal and correct point of view. It is Sarah’s blog, to be about whatever she wishes it to be about. Just as she is free to post her own topics, you are free to read them or not. And comment or not. Or to use your judgment (discernment), to take in the information which is helpful to you, and ignore the rest. It does not have to be a black and white, dealbreaker type of thing — unless you want it to be.

    As I posted previously, I should think that someone who supports natural fertility and believes that any union of sperm and egg that results in an embryo is sacred and must be protected — then this is very USEFUL information! A lot of people take herbs without realizing what they can do — and if you don’t want to inadvertently abort your embryo, then Sarah just told you want to AVOID, for heaven’s sake.

    Telling other people what they *should* think about something truly interferes with and squelches their development of wisdom. Sarah did NOT do that, but plenty of people commenting here ARE. It is actually possible to consider the ideas of others in an open-minded way, without judging the person if their views are different from your own.

    I am also here to tell you that people can and do evolve in their views, if you allow them the freedom to do so. But harsh, condemning criticism never helps to develop that, in others or in yourself. This can be complicated for some people to get.

    • Yes, Eliza…couldn’t have said it better myself!!! People are always quick to rush in and condemn a point of view different from their own. Period. Sarah is offering natural options to EXPLORE here…not an Rx!!

      • A natural option to taking life? Lots of people have points of view, but if they use it in a way that can be harmful to others (like unborn babies) they should be questioned vehemently!

        • What God wants us to do with regard to how we view embryos (as life, as people, as potential people) really is not *known.* And anyone who thinks they know — please tell me where you are getting your information on this.

          Anyone who wants to prevent pregnancy deserves to know the truth about how all forms of birth control, including herbs, work. Informed choices help so you do not inadvertently do something against your beliefs. Too many of us don’t bother to really learn how birth control pills work, how IUDs work, and yes we should know how herbs work, too, because they are potent.

          This includes sex. Some people believe that sex outside of marriage is a sin. Some people believe that sex is only for procreation. Some people believe that abortion in the case of rape and incest and for the life/health of the mother is OK. Some people believe that elective abortion is OK. Some believe that abortion is NEVER OK. But back to sex.

          People do it. People enjoy it. A lot of people do it with their spouses. And a lot of people do it with someone they are not married to. A lot of people would love to be married but aren’t. Maybe they are widowed. Maybe they never met the right person. Some people do it after menopause so if it is only for procreation, then I guess that woman is sinning.

          There is a real need for knowledge about fertility — promoting and protecting it, and avoiding pregnancy — yes, if that is “inconvenient.” I would not want to be born to parents who find me “inconvenient.”

          There really is not enough truthful and factual information that is systematically given to girls and boys when they reach puberty, about how people get pregnant and if you want to prevent it, what you can do.

          Natural family planning/FAM works pretty well, but it is imperfect as are all methods of birth control. What then? Is it always wise to bring that baby into the world? Is it murder if you don’t (and the egg doesn’t implant)? That really is a matter of opinion.

          Is a fertilized egg “life?” Yes, but so is the “pork” and “beef” you ate for dinner. Is a fertilized human egg a person? I think that is the question that no one actually knows, though a lot of people believe that they know. How does the soul get in? What does God think of birth control? Again, if you think you know the answer, then please tell me where you got your information.

          Christians ought to know that the New Testament is where the new commandment that supersedes the others, the one about “Love” comes in. Time for a re-read?

          • Eliza, I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt, on my own life… that zygote or embryo or “fertilized human egg” is definitely a person! It is not a chicken or a cow or a dog. It is definitely a human being. Unless someone is doing genetic modification and these days you never know.

          • While you have your Bible out, you might want to check out Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…” just in case you actually really did want to know if God actually thinks embryos are human beings. that seems like a pretty clear answer to me. Unless of course you were being sarcastic. Jesus does tend to shock his critics. You may actually want to do that re-read now. Just to be sure us crazy Christians arent trying to pull the wool…

          • Elizabeth, I think this Bible verse means much more than you are attributing to it. I think it means God knows even before the union of sperm & egg. And why wouldn’t God know this??

  82. “Anti-fertility” and “Sterility” are conditions of an unhealthy person. Why would I not want to embrace fertility and just abstain if I felt that there needed to be adequate spacing or if there were other health issues? I am sorry, I don’t want to be unhealthy. That is why I read your blog to begin with. I also don’t want any child conceived to miss their chance of implantation because of something I did to deliberately cut short that life. No religion here. Just being a mom that wants to give herself and her family the very best I can with every choice. I think fertility is an awesome gift in every way. I hope I get the chance to be fertile as long as possible!

  83. I too am disappointed to read implantation prevention methods. A life begins at conception when sperm and egg meet. I didn’t decide that. God did.

  84. Dear Sarah,

    Your blog has been so helpful to me over the past year. Thanks for helping me understand the crazy world of food in America! As a newly married young woman, I might not be doing as well as I am if my Father had not led me to your blog. :) Understanding how food affects my body has been invaluable. Thank you. :)
    I know this is a sticky subject, but for the sake of your readers who have little knowledge about birth control/contraception (and their little ones), and would be horrified to realize they had unknowingly used an herb that prevented implantation, or caused a miscarriage, it is imperative that you define clearly what each herb does by calling it what it is. If it is an early miscarriage, call it as such – not starting menstruation. You can’t force someone to believe what you believe, but you can give them all the information. I’m sure the last thing you want is to lead someone down a road they may later regret as they get more information.

    With gratitude,
    Amy

    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
      Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist October 27, 2012 at 2:12 pm

      As I mentioned earlier, it is always best to seek the assistance of an herbalist or some type of professional in these matters. This blog is only intended to provide an overview of some of the options available and to open up women’s minds about what they can do besides using synthetic contraception.

  85. 1). Respect for all human life is not the exclusive domain of religion; and

    2). There is just enough information within this post to make it dangerous. While I usually find myself advocating for freedom of speech, I believe there is an element of irresponsibility here considering the potency and side effects of herbs. Don’t underestimate the power and ease of google for a desperate young woman.

    • 1) No, but the notion of when life begins often is, as demonstrated all over this page.

      2) Very much agreed.

      • @Jade –

        1) The ‘notion’ of when life begins is “the exclusive domain of religion”? That’s like saying the notion of the world being round is “the exclusive domain of cartographers”.

        Life:
        a : the quality that distinguishes a vital and functional being from a dead body
        b : a principle or force that is considered to underlie the distinctive quality of animate beings
        c : an organismic state characterized by capacity for metabolism, GROWTH, reaction to stimuli, and reproduction

        Zygote: a cell formed by the union of two gametes; broadly : the DEVELOPING individual produced from such a cell

        Somehow, I don’t think you’re suggesting that there’s some debate over whether the zygote is alive or not. If so, perhaps we’d all better drop this entirely and go back to a basic biology course.

        I believe what you meant was “the notion of when the unborn become worth defending” is really what you claim to be exclusively in the domain of religion. Though, come to think of it, I’ve seen several compelling arguments, none of which bring religion into the picture at all.

        • Jennifer,

          You are suggesting that there is no debate within the scientific community over when life begins. Sean Tipton of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, for example, does not agree with the idea that life begins at fertilization. In short, this is because a fertilized egg must undergo more processes, including implantation, before it can successfully grow into a life. There are many more examples.

          So ignoring the fact that this debate exists, and clinging to the side of the argument that supports your beliefs (which is a distinctly unscientific position), is religious – or dogmatic, or ideological. I use them interchangeably. As a medical student, I understand the definition of a zygote. But thank you for your concern about my competency in basic sciences.

          Furthermore, much of the definition of life you provide (which, I should not have to tell you, is incredibly mercurial and ethnocentric) could almost perfectly describe a cancerous tumor. Like a zygote, a tumor requires an attachment to a developed life in order to survive and grow. Without this developed life, there is no tumor. There is no zygote.

          In light of this fact, I personally believe a much more elegant – and humanistic – way of seeing zygotes and fetuses is as growths within the mother, with some previously extracorporeal substance (sperm) mixed in. As ‘lives,’ these beings do not hold up very well. They cannot grow without the mother’s nutrients, womb, bloodflow and oxygen, along with potentially infinite as-yet unidentified components. It cannot survive and grow on its own, not with even the most advanced technology. It is a part of the mother. Like a tumor, like an infection, like a virus, like a parasite. Just because it has the potential to be a human life, does not mean that it is.

          Now, you can of course disagree with my opinion and stand on whichever side of the debate most speaks to you. But the definition of life is scientifically contentious and culturally constructed, and to suggest otherwise is to succumb to blindness brought about by a fervent belief.

  86. Thanks, Sarah, for all the hard work and research you do!

    It sounds like the answer would be to be clear on the mechanism of each herb: which prevent ovulation, which prevent implantation, which bring on menstruation if there’s no implantation, which bring on menstruation even if there is implantation. Then people can decide for themselves which methods they ethically feel they can support.

    It’s hard to know the facts in these cases, because big-Pharma has pushed to change definitions in recent years. Conception and used to be defined as egg + sperm with implantation happening later, but since big-Pharma wants the morning-after Pill to be marketed as a contraceptive and not an abortifacient, they’ve pushed hard to have implantation= conception. That doesn’t make much biological sense, but it helps them to sell the morning after pill.

    Anyone wanting to learn more on this topic should check out the book “Embryo” by Robert George. The female body, and the human embryo, are really incredible!

    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
      Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist October 27, 2012 at 2:19 pm

      In the Philippines where a contraceptive rights bill is currently being heavily debated in the legislature, some of the male legislators are arguing that every sperm is sacred as it “might” end up fertilizing an egg. Therefore, they are arguing against even the use of condoms as they are drawing the line at the sperm and egg being the beginning of human life. Some commenting here are drawing at the embryo as every embryo “might” end up implanted in the uterus. Others are drawing the line at implantation. Others even later at some weeks into pregnancy.

      I think it best for women to read the information and use what they see fit based on their personal beliefs.

  87. Elizabeth Anne via Facebook October 23, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    Do you have any good sources for getting these herbs? I have been googling, but all I can find is wild carrot seed. I for one loved this post, and I wish all these negative people would grow up, and realize that not everyone is a Christian, or the same type they are. So childish!

    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
      Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist October 27, 2012 at 2:23 pm

      Yes, exactly. These herbs have been used by Indian women for centuries. If you are not familiar with them, however, it is imperative to seek an herbalist on the matter.

      • “These herbs have been used by Indian women for centuries.”
        I would love to see your source on this one.

  88. Dear Sarah, I would like to discontinue my membership to this blog….Your take on herbs that cause abortions are wrong….your attitude to people who disagree with you is disgraceful. If you believed in life, you would be grateful to the women who brought it to your attention.
    I took the bp for a very short time, when I asked my doctor about it, he said if you only realized what all this little pill does…that was the last time I took it….and people who care about life will also realize what the herbs do…because the woman on this site cared enough to bring it to their attention…..thank you…

    • Unfortunately, not all women have the empathy and concience that you do. I count myself among those horrible women who would use forms of contraceptives. I don’t want children. I never will. I like sex, and I don’t want to be in danger of becoming pregnant everytime I make love. I want to experiment with men without having to call each one of them up a few months later and say, “Surprise! You’re a father!” If there was a way I could become sterile premanantly without damaging my body, I would do it in a hearbeat. A fertilized egg holds no love in my heart. It is a burden. A thing of annoyance. Something to be dealt with quickly and quietly. I would not subject a child to living in this world. Never have I endured such a tedious chore as living, and I would not inflict the same fate on a child. I curse the day that my mother didn’t use protection, and her choice allowed me to be victimized and raped by her as a child. I would have rather been dead than be in her disgusting womb. And, call me selfish, but ruining my body and going through massive amounts of pain is not worth having a squaling brat. I could never love a baby if it was the cause of so much suffering.
      A fertilized egg holds no love in my heart. It is a burden. A thing of annoyance.Something to be dealt with quickly, quietly, and without remorse or thought.
      As a young woman, I find it disheartening that so many of my own gender feel that the only reason for sex is to create life. Sex is also for bonding. If sex was only for procreation, why is it also pleasureable for the woman? A woman’s pleasure is by no means essential to conception, as many ill-fated rapes are proof of. People who want children should be able to have them, but those of us who abhor the idea of a baby should be allowed to have sex without restricitons being forced upon us.
      Also the doctor you talked to was not very professional. He should have presented facts, not tried to convince you not to use the pill for moral reasons. The reason I searched for natural birth control is because I feel that the pill is dangerous. I am not a believer in God, (I am a proud Kopimist. ALL information is sacred) but I still feel that some higher power would not want me to use synthetic chemicals in my body, and nor would that higher power want me to bring a child into this world against my will.

      In closing, I would like to apologize for the somewhat late comment, but it seems it is never too late to speak of such things. I realize I will not change your opinion on this, and that is not my intent. My intent is only to let you know what I think, and hope you will give this comment some thought.

      Best Wishes,
      Mir

  89. I’m a bit more than disgusted after reading about these herbs that produce forced miscarriages. How awful! Sarah, I’m surprised at how poor your attitude has been in response to these comments. And to try and blame peoples opinion on religion? WOW!. I’m not religious and I’m not spiritual. I DO NOT in any way, shape or form believe in any type of higher power. I do however understand facts. And your recommendation of miscarriages on purpose is disgusting and shows a lack of value on life. You have certainly lost a reader in me and I will no longer be recommending you to anyone.

  90. I just wanted to state one more thing after re-reading this post– I thought that spacing out children around 3 years apart was a smart thing to do… until my son was a surprise at only 15 months from my daughter’s birth. Guess what? They LOVE it! They are best friends and share many of the same interests. It is perfect. We would never change it and I’m so glad it worked out this way. So the reasoning of separating children according to a chosen schedule isn’t always the best solution. You are welcome to talk to my teenagers any day. They’ll tell you how great it is and blessed they are to have each other. They’ll also tell you that you are so wrong about when life begins. They are much more furious at the thought of killing a child for whatever reason! Out of the mouths of babes comes much truth… there is no selfishness clouding the issue.

  91. This post is based on a tiny portion of a single book by a single author who is self taught in herbal medicine. Nearly every example is from the aggregate of native American peoples. This is supposed to represent all traditional cultures? And where is the context of these peoples using these herbs, in times of war or famine? (I can’t fathom any traditional culture would use these herbs over a long period of time. They would have noted their cumulative ill effects.) What about the other forms of birth control practiced by the native Americans, most often abstinence, sometimes infanticide (as in twins or deformity like many other traditional cultures?) Native Americans did not believe the babies had “the spirit” until some days after birth, by the way. What about other cultures that were studied by Dr. Price? What did the Swiss do? What about the Maasai practice of female circumcision, is this supposed to be a good thing just because it is a tradition? This post is so wrong on so many levels, the entire blog loses credibility with me. There is no context given, and no comprehensive source of herbal use in traditional cultures. I will no longer read here or recommend this site as I have often done in the past. I am also disappointed Sarah has had little to say except to shriek about (the majority of) people overreacting rather than to actually respond to any sincere and well-founded comment.

    • Actually, this was not very well said.

      Just because Sarah gave examples of various fertility-suppressing herbs does not mean she believes that everything traditional cultures did is viable or right or moral for us now. Instead of legitimately questioning the nature of these herbs, or her academic citations, you have cried “Oh but what about female circumcision!” Come on. That makes no sense.

      And secondly, the majority of people overreacting to this post are arguing from a pro-life perspective. As Sarah has stated many times, she believes women have the right to decide what is right for them and their bodies, without the interference of the dogma of the masses. You have mistaken her differing opinion for having “little to say.” Just because she has not succumb to the arguments outlined here does not mean she has ignored them, just that they have not convinced her to change that belief.

      • Actually, you are misunderstanding me.

        Sarah is using the herbs as examples of options for women saying they are within the realm of tradition. There is no Dr. Price, or anyone else for that matter, to further investigate. Were the herbs used in conjuction with other things? (Thankfully Dr. Price’s research found Activator X. Were there similar foods or herbs used with the listed herbs? We have no idea.) How were they used? We have no idea. Anyone can look in an ethnobotany book for a list of what Indian tribes were using at the specific moment the scientist was gathering that information, but there is nothing else putting the use of the medicinal plants into context. Therefore, the herbs are touted as being useful only because they were traditional, at that moment in time, for the American Indian tribes cited. That they are useful is soley Sarah’s opinion, and the opinion is based on one book. (Note that I am not making a judgment on Sarah’s opinion, she is entitiled to think whatever she wishes, and I won’t call her opinions an overreaction.) However, someone else might make this same argument that female circumcision is beneficial because of a single source and the opinion of the author, because it is based on tradition.

        Today we have xenoestrogens everywhere which are putting women into a state of estrogen dominance, the hormone parallel to guy dysbiosis, and many aren’t aware of the symptoms or effects. I don’t consider this post informative. I consider it incomplete – sort of like telling people whole grains can be good without adding how to properly prepare them. Therefore, she is saying little. Let’s have the whole story!

        I also find it incomplete in that the information represents a small geographic area in one short time period. I don’t really want to change anyone’s mind, I just feel it appropriate to present enough information to allow a reader to actually learn something that isn’t going to potentially harm them and that’s not going to happen here.

        Many other people have said similar things in the comments. The criticism is not all about religion.

  92. Oh. My. God!! I was so excited to see, after reading this informative post, that there were almost 200 comments. I enthusiatically read on to see what people had to say and if anyone else had first hand experience on this topic. Instead I have been preached to and indoctrinated. What is this need for everyone to be heard about their religious beliefs? Do you go on blogs and discuss your marital problems? Your favorite sexual positions? No?? Because that is too personal? Well your religious beliefs should be too.

    If you don’t like Sara’s post, then move on. Unsubscribe if you need to. But please spare us all of your personal opinions. I don’t think it was in God’s plan for any of us to be so judgmental. That’s His job.

    • I would say that the over-200-comments = pretty important topic that people really care about. I am actually surprised and delighted at how many many awesome pro-life moms and women are on here! That really means that women who are pro-life are very much about life from conception until natural death– not just life-when-it-comes-conveniently-at-the-right-time. And this is evidenced by them all following Sarah’s blog and wanting to know what is best to put into theirs and their children’s bodies. It’s sad that so many of us will be unsubscribing. There will certainly be less diversity for sure. And that is never a good thing.

      • And I would say that the “awesome pro-life moms” need to get over themselves. Clearly, they have no need for contraception since they are “awesome pro-life moms,” but some of us out there do want/need contraception. And it’s nice to hear about possible other methods of birth control (or rather birth control-lite, IMO) compared to taking the standard birth control pills or IUD. The comments on other people’s experiences with either herbs or other forms of natural forms of birth control are the most helpful ones to this post. To the contrary, the “OMG!?! DO YOU REALIZE YOU’RE POTENTIALLY, ALLEGEDLY, POSSIBLY… DEPENDING ON HOW YOU VIEW THE BEGINNING OF LIFE … ABORTING THE BABY YOU WERE TRYING NOT TO HAVE?!?!?” comments aren’t really contributing much to the CONTRAception conversation….

        • Oh janel, I am so sorry I offended you. Your comment was so filled with hate. I hope you have a wonderful life and that you find happiness. God bless you.

          • @ Elizabeth – Not hate, annoyance. I just read the post and all the comments. Just calling it as I see it.

        • Janel –

          Do you realize that “how you view the beginning of life” is completely irrelevant? There is no “allegedly” there is no “possibly” there is no “depending”. It either IS or IS NOT.

          So let me ask you (again, since you’ve neglected to answer): what IS the zygote, if it is not alive?

          • The potential for life. Easy peasy. Because if that zygote fails to implant, the resulting mess would be extraordinarily difficult to categorize as living.

      • I wonder how you “awesome pro-life moms feel about the death penalty? And since you are pro-life & believe in a high quality of life, how do you feel about each “awesome pro-life mom” adopting a child whose birth mother cannot or will not care for the child??

        • I’m against the death penalty as most prolife people are, and is there any question about supporting adoption?

        • Pam – That’s a terrible strawman argument. I’d encourage you to steer clear if you really want to have any credibility on the issue. Asking pro-life moms how they stand on the death penalty and whether they’ve adopted any of those “unwanted” children is akin to telling the American Cancer Society to spend equal time, money and energy on curing heart disease and diabetes, not just cancer. Or me telling you that you don’t care about homelessness unless you spend 40 hours a week serving at a soup kitchen and host at least one homeless family inside your home. Or that you don’t care about starving children unless you grow a garden to increase the amount of available food, and eat fewer meals to allow the surplus to go to other hungry people.

          • Aww, what a sweet compliment. I’ve never been called an “awesome pro-life mom” before. Nice to know that our selflessness is appreciated instead of interpreted as self-righteousness by other women who are jealous that we can put other’s lives before our own. Oh, oh wait, maybe that was sarcasm…

  93. Where does one begin with this? Firstly, the funniest comment by far is from Sarah herself, telling her readers to stop overreacting. Ha! From the queen of sensationalism, selective, cherry picked information that is always, always incomplete. Even funnier than the reader who suggested going to the restroom as a method of contraception. Doh. At least there are comments such as: just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s safe, that restore my faith in humanity. Question everything. Even from your doctor, but especially from those whose only source to their ill-informed and intentionally controversial blog posts is an affiliate marketing link to the book she’s promoting. I can ignore the pro-life and the religious debate quite easily but I cannot ignore the complete failure to address the how and why this method ‘works’, and complete failure to address the potential immediate and long term heath risks that can result from something we know so dangerously little about. I used to think that your intentions were good though your research was severely lacking, but your true colors, your agenda and your arrogance keep creeping through with every post, and sadly I don’t think you’ll ever learn. A slow clap for your Sarah.

    • Yeah, I felt the same. One diminishes their integrity when they boast about how they “piss people off” just to increase their blog traffic. This blog can have good info but I ALWAYS filter it as coming from someone who desires to be sensationalist and controversial (and thus stretches, leaves out or even makes up a little truth here and there). I am bummed that such a well respected blog in the real food media world is ultimately about the bottom line. Also, I would be surprised if the negative comments from this post are that bothersome to her; she is getting exactly her stated goal: lots of increased traffic from the controversy! I am sad to have contributed, but couldn’t help but say something.

      • This posting of Sarah’s didn’t have the least bit of shock value to me. Some of us don’t have absolutists views on this subject.

        • But you’re right: often what Sarah puts out IS SHOCKING: how nearly everything you buy from the grocery store is bad for your health. I find that over the top shocking because once you realize how adulterated and deadly our food supply is, you are shocked. So where do you turn? To the internet and thankfully someone like Sarah who is working FOR US to find things out. You call it sensationalist, in fact she is far in advance in awareness over most other health bloggers. Case in point: questioning the safety of ultrasound scanning in the womb. NOBODY touches this subject. For me Sarah is the gold standard and she deserves your respect.

          • Admittedly, your country’s food system is way more messed up than mine, but that fact doesn’t shock me one bit, and it’s not what this is about. Regardless, for the fan club members, is deliberately omitting half the story here (and in most posts for that matter) for the sake of sensationalism, controversy and invoking fear (ironically in this case putting others’ health and wellbeing at risk) any better than downright lying, and any better than the fear-invoking tactics of big pharma? That, my friend, most certainly does not deserve my respect.

          • I’m so happy you’ve been spared being harmed by big ag and big pharma. That’s not the case for many of us. Sarah’s blog is a shout in the wilderness. I’m a person that wants to hear it.

          • Plus who paid you to write this? Disgusting accusations. Go off to another blog and spread your misinfo there.

          • She admits she writes just to piss people off. Sorry, but that makes what a person says less valid and their writing sensationalist. More traffic, more money, less truth. Bummer.
            Here it is, right from Cheeseslave: “According to Sarah, “If you aren’t pissing people off, your blog won’t grow.”” http://socialmediastrategyblog.com/how-i-increased-my-blog-traffic-by-25-in-one-month/

            The voice in the wilderness is laughing her way to the bank on this one.

          • Yep. That’s why I stopped reading a similar blog after a few really over the top, made to annoy posts. They were both clearly written to get a long list of comments. Such a shame both blogs are connected to WAPF. It is a disservice to fragment our fragile whole foods group when we need to be united and strong right now to truly make a difference.

          • Helen T, it’s the blatant, obvious truth. Your worshipping of this blog is blinding you from the reality here, and is frankly a little worrisome. No one paid me to comment here, I’m just too frustrated and more than anything, disappointed, not to call it out. It really is a shame, as there is plenty this blog is good for without all the truth bending crossing the lines. All I can do is hopefully bring it to light for some readers (and T.R. thanks for finding the link). EC is right. United and strong, not using the same misguided tactics of the enemy. Enough of contributing to this bottom line. A slow clap for you too, Helen.

          • You are so right the marketing is like big pharma and big ag here. Hurt your customers to make a buck.

            If I lived in Sarah’s area, was new to WAPF and read this, I would never want to contact her to learn more about the foundation. I feel very fortunate to know a local leader who is a medical professional and advises women how to keep their hormones in balance when they are young BEFORE the damage really sets in.

          • You say your piece and leave instead of continuing to bludgeon its writer and readers – that’s normal civil discourse if you don’t like a blog.

            That’s why I think you are either an industry plant or someone who needs their SSRIs adjusted.

          • If you will notice, my dear, she is not begging for mercy or a cease fire. She said just enough to get the ball rolling and has moved on to other posts. She is letting you fight it out and keep the fires of sensation and controversy burning for her… Brilliant!

  94. I am fully against abortion. I am a christian. But this whole blog has got me wondering. How many untold pregnancies are “prevented” (say, by creating an environment in the body to prevent implantation OR to cause the embryo to be shed) without the woman ever knowing? In this case, couldn’t we look at processed foods, prescription drugs, sugar, etc. as ABORTAFACIENTS? Our lifestyle “intervenes” with God’s design for our bodies. Our hormones and nutrients are thrown off balance. And infertility and miscarriages result. We are still responsible for this… Ugh. Just wanted to throw this out there to see if anyone has ever thought about pro-life in this sense? Not trying to start more debate to an already hot thread. Just curious.
    Mindy\’s last post: MAD LIBS Wedding Guest Book – Love Story Classic – PDF by TheHomespunArtisan

  95. My ex-wife (who loves me dearly) noticed semi-recently that her period was 2 weeks late – by this time it was 4 weeks after the fight with her boyfriend. “Uh-oh.” But she knew how to tell the entity that was going to take possession of the body to “go away” and massaged the acupuncture points that are forbidden during pregnancy. *poof*, period arrives.

    We are more than our bodies, and the cancellation of a physical body does NOTHING to the immortal soul.

    I would happily write a followup for you, Sarah. :)

    -james
    james knochel\’s last post: Obamacare and Mandatory Coverage for Prescription Xeno-Hormones

  96. Pingback: Natural Birth Control Using Herbs – The Healthy Home Economist | uvicugypisib

  97. Hi Sarah,

    I’m engaged to be married and this post was very helpful because I’ve been struggeling to find a healthy form of birth control. But I’ve never even heard of these herbs before… Where can I find them?

  98. I’ve enjoyed this blog and sent many to it in the past. This post just doesn’t fit the mold at all and leaves me sickened. Don’t damage your body with pharmaceuticals, damage it less with herbs? It’s not natural to curb fertility, and even less natural to halt implantation! I’m due in a few weeks, and the fact is, had I taken “herbs” or “medicines” to prevent implantation, I wouldn’t be. I would have killed my baby by intentionally depriving him of nutrients. How are the facts not clear?? At the least please clarify your article, as naive women won’t know what they’re doing taking your advice. And naive women are the ones searching for it.

  99. After reading this post again and all of the comments, one of the most disappointing things is Sarah’s response to so many people’s concern about the tinctures causing what many deem to be an abortion (interfering after an egg has been fertilized). Rather than take those concerns into account and respond with understanding about the strong differing moral viewpoints on this topic (religious or not), Sarah came off haughty and inconsiderate and authoritative on this subject. Huge turn off and raises concern about her credibility. The fact that this is an extremely sensitive subject and there are strong opinions on both sides of the fence should have been disclaimed in the post by Sarah rather than coach women into unknowingly having what many see as an intentional ending of human life. Because of this post and the inconsiderate responses by Sarah following many readers’ concerns, I will be removing my following of this blog.

  100. Sarah,

    I’m still glad you posted this. Hopefully, anyone who is planning to take herbs will do complete research before consuming them. I feel safer with NFP and condoms. (What’s the big deal about condoms?! They work! They’re cheap! Maybe not quite so nice as without, but they work, and even foolish, immoral teenagers can get them and use them!)

    I don’t like abortion and I think it must be a very very sad decision for those involved. Contraception is the kindest realistic way to limit our human numbers. And our numbers WILL be limited on this planet within our lifetimes, one way or another. Will it be through the terrors of war and famine, or by empowering girls and women to only give birth to children that they are prepared to feed, protect, and educate? I know this may seem very far from your reality here in North America, but it is a fact that the climate wars have begun (Sudan, in particular comes to mind).

    I don’t think God is going to swoop in and rescue us from this one, and say, “Oh, the global human population has reached 20 billion and you have killed off 50% of the planet’s species, turned farms and forests into desert and killed the oceans? Here’s a new planet for you.” It won’t happen. Not this century or the next. WE MUST GROW UP as a species. The “just have faith” argument will not prevent our decline and I am horrified by those who think it’s okay to trash this beautiful planet because Heaven will supposedly be better. If you have ever looked at a beautiful scene from nature that was untouched by humans, picture that now. Then imagine people starving, murdering each other, neglecting their children…we all know which of these two scenes is beautiful and harmonious and which one is full of pain, and (I would argue) NOT spiritually elevating. I am NOT for a moment saying that even those tortured people are less valuable and important than the rest of Earth’s life, only that more babies at every opportunity is not the best policy by a long shot. Contraception is a very important part of the equation in taking responsibility for this miraculous gift of a planet. As much as I would like to help create another child, I’m trying to remember that I need to leave room for others, so we may all have a better chance at living in peace.

  101. This is like, my favorite blog of all time, but I was also dissapointed to read this article. I would never mess with my fertility in any way. Plus I would not risk aborting a baby, I am not 100% sure if it is a real abortion or not, but I feel it is and why not be safe than sorry? This was a good reminder that we have to think for our own selves and not swallow everything someone ( we respect and admire) has to say. I absolutely ADORE Sarah and all she writes about. She has changed my life! But I absolutely differ in this area! I would be scared to tell people it’s okay to prevent implantation, I feel that is not our place, it is God’s. I use NFP and it works perfectly! Anyway, not disrespect to Sarah, I still admire you and your writing!! :)

  102. Geez, people! Sarah is not posting this information to try to convert people to believe what she believes about conception or abortion – these are natural alternatives to synthetic contraceptives!! THAT’S ALL. If someone here absolutely HAD to use a form of contraceptive, regardless of whether you believe in them or not, wouldn’t you rather use a natural one?? I personally believe life begins at conception, but I still think that the info Sarah has posted here is a great alternative for those who might use synthetic contraceptives instead, and in the process destroy their gut!

    • Except this post has the potential of inspiring a lot of women to destroy their hormonal balance . . . which can lead to as many problems as poor gut health.

  103. Sarah,
    I have never been so surprised by your blog as I am by this post. Using a condom does not add to the “very natural, uncomplicated and enjoyable event” of lovemaking. It certainly does not add to the spontaneity, as it interrupts the flow, if you you know what I mean :-). I am surprised that you downplay NFP. The publishing company of Nourishing Traditions has a book on fertility, Honoring Our Cycles, that is all about NFP. http://www.newtrendspublishing.com. If you use the Creighton method of NFP, a woman need only check her cervical mucus (not check her BBT) and this takes no more time than using the bathroom when heeding nature’s call. If one can learn to soak grains and beans daily, and make bone broth and lacto-fermented food regularly, one can surely learn to check cervical mucus. It’s just part of a naturally healthy life as the one you espouse, living in harmony with nature. Using anti-fertility herbs and inhaling smoke does not sit right with me as healthful.
    I am also surprised that you recommend using condoms with anti-fertility herbs. Why do you recommend using them together? Either they each singly work alone, or they don’t.

  104. Just got on the site, read the article and saw the comments. Dear Sarah, you must have known your article would bring out the Pro and Choice people. Not worth reading anymore because everyone has their opinion locked in stone – no discussion; no debate; no solutions.

  105. A few things I want to address.

    Whether or not you have religious beliefs that say there is a Creator or abide by more of an evolutionary and scientific view of life, one fact is starkly shared by them both: an instance of abiogenesis (life arising from non-life) occurs in both, and this only occurs once throughout the Earth’s history in either scenario.

    To this day, there are no observed acts of abiogenesis. Abiogenesis itself was never observed under either of the aforementioned scenarios and are both theoretical (purely in the scientific sense) explanations for the beginning of life.

    That all being said, fertilization, conception, implantation, etc. doesn’t matter. Life does not arise from non-life. Again, this has never been observed or successfully and substantially tested.

    There is also a vast difference in quality of life. We can go into comparisons about plants and humans and what constitutes life all we want, but also important to acknowledge is that a plant seed never results in intelligent life. There is not consciousness. But a human blastocyst is set to develop one way, and that is into an intelligent life form. At the initial joining of gametes, cell reproduction is set in motion and begins developing an intelligent being. This does not stop in regard to the blastocyst a unless there is an interference in the continuing reproduction and division of cells to cause cell death stop life from developing.

    I was disappointed in the post as well. Not in the particulars of validating moral aspects, but it lacks a firm understanding of what science explains quite adequately while arguing otherwise.

    As well, preventing implantation naturally, while not necessarily holding the artificially toxic effects on one’s body, does affect the hormonal structure you experience during the ending of a [potential] pregnancy. You have to recover from this as well, and you do go through a hormonal recovery period, whether you are aware of the conception or not. And this is harder on the bodies of some than others. This is not acknowledged anywhere in this post, and I felt that the consequences of natural interference were glossed over in favor of simply preventing artificially interrupted processes.

    • Eliza, if, for the sake of argument, we want to say that plants have consciousness, then that’s fine. There are some people who refrain from eating animal flesh for that very reason. I would expect then that the same people would refrain from eating plants as well.

      The whole point of what I said, however, was to point out that arguing that herbs preventing implantation are not abortifacients purely disregards science.

      Anything interfering with the advancement of a human life is an abortifacient for the reasons I described above. This blogpost neglects to acknowledge any of what science teaches us in that aspect.

  106. As a naturopathic physician, I think I can confidently say that these herbs are NOT safe for breastfeeding mothers. In fact, as a doctor I would strongly discourage the use of these herbs in general. All abortifacient herbs (yes, I would consider them abortifacients) carry significant risks. I would highly advise all women who want to terminate a pregnancy or prevent implantation to use medical methods from a licensed physician. (And this is coming from a naturopath!) The risk of hemorrhage is higher using herbs, as is the risk of incompletely terminating the pregnancy. This could have disastrous results if the pregnancy ended up being carried to term, as many of these herbs are teratogenic as well.

    I agree with one of your readers who commented on Natural Family Planning as a much better, safer alternative to herbal methods as birth control. NFP takes no longer than preparing an herb, is completely safe, and has the added benefit of providing awareness and allowing women to become more in touch with their own monthly cycles. There is nothing wrong with using a barrier method, either.

    Once again, I highly discourage the use of these herbs.

    I wish all your readers the best of health,

    Erika Krumbeck, ND
    http://www.mtwholehealth.com

    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
      Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist October 27, 2012 at 2:39 pm

      Hi Erika, I appreciate your input, but I wonder if you actually read the post. You are against ginger and vitamin C and thistle? Also, these herbs have been safely used by Indian women of many different tribes for centuries. If a woman is unfamiliar with them and their usage, it is always wise to seek professional help but they are no doubt much safer than any of the synthetic options available. Many things can be used to abort an implanted embryo but none of these herbs was identified for that use. Only to discourage fertilization (most of them) and a few to discourage even implantation for those women whose beliefs would be open to that.

      • Natural doesn’t always mean safe. High doses of vitamin C can be pro-oxidant, rather than antioxidant, hence the abortifacient effect. Even ginger and thistle – if used as emmenogogues (to initiate menstruation) can cause hemorrhage (though likely in very high doses, which leads me to question their effectiveness in preventing pregnancy).

        The danger in using any remedy to prevent implantation (still considered an abortifacient, by the way), is hemorrhage, incomplete abortion, or, should the pregnancy completely fail to terminate, causing serious birth defects. Even “natural” remedies carry this risk. There is no data to support your claim that these remedies are safe. Even if they have been used for “centuries,” there still is no data. Also, there are very few traditional healers or herbalists to share their knowledge on how to prepare these herbs safely. Jack-in-the-pulpit and Stoneseed root are both considered poisonous in the conventional medical literature, and they recommend calling poison control center if ingested.

        I did a quick search of scientific literature before responding here, and I could not find any toxic dose studies of these plants. In other words, we have no idea how much herb it takes for a dose to be considered lethal.

        Sarah, I appreciate your blog – you have a great, engaging writing style, and I love how passionate you are about health. However, it concerns me that women may mistake your blog posts for medical advice. I couldn’t sleep Friday night after I read your post – the thought of women taking these herbs and hemorrhaging in their own homes, away from medical care haunts me. I read your post on Strep Throat on Saturday, and had dreams about rheumatic fever and post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis Saturday night. I am very, very concerned.

        I am close to tears as I write this. My number one priority as a physician is to protect the safety of my patients – but how can I shield people from the internet? From Dr. Google? There is no accountability for what Dr. Google can prescribe. There is no medical license to be revoked, no health department to oversee, no medical community to connect with.

        Sarah, I highly recommend that you place a more visible disclaimer in your blog posts, especially those that could constitute medical advice. I strongly urge your readers to see their health practitioner before following any internet advice. If they want advice on herbs they can visit a registered herbalist (someone trained by the American Herbalists Guild), or a naturopathic physician (they can find licensed naturopaths at http://www.naturopathic.org).

        In Health,

        Erika

  107. I am sad and disappointed in the post. I am also saddened to see the uncharitable responses to Sarah and other posters.

    I appreciate the women who stood up against the evil of contraception and abortion. They told the Truth and were persecuted for it.

    To be clear, there isn’t your truth or my truth. Truth is absolute. Truth doesn’t change.

    Yes abortion and birth control were around in biblical times and has been condemned by the Church since it’s founding by Christ 2000 years. Just because it was practiced in ancient cultures doesn’t make it good or right.

    Christ said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”

    Interestingly in the above quote, when we do it our way and not following the Truth of Christ, we no longer value life.

  108. Pingback: The Dangers of Doctor Google - Montana Whole Health

  109. Is ginger root in capsule form able to be substituted for the ginger root you mention in crystalized form?

  110. Sarah – thank you for sharing this information. I am a little surprised to see so much virulence aimed at the second category of herbs discussed and so little notice of the first. It’s exceedingly rare to find anyone who will tell you how to use herbal methods to completely prevent conception (as opposed to simply preventing implantation), yet this is a valuable and seemly unambiguous option for many people! I wish that more of us had this information when we needed it. Thank you for sharing it, despite the backlash.

  111. Preventing implantation is like refusing to feed a toddler. Yeah, they might still survive somehow, but that’s… just sick.

  112. So strange to me. With a blog concerned all about living a healthy lifestyle, it’s a shock to find something like this here. Fertility is natural sign of a healthy body. Just because Native American tribes did it, it’s not convicing enough. FACT: Pregnancy is the natural end of intercourse.

    Living a healthy lifestyle takes work. Charting a cycle, taking a temperatute, etc. isn’t a big deal to me because I think it’s very important for me to be healthy.

  113. Hi Sarah

    I am wondering if you know of herbal contraceptive that one could take that would prevent pregnancy but would not harm a fetus if pregnancy were to occur. I am particularly wondering about vitamin c and Queen Annes Lace

    Thanks, Carrie

  114. …*}*{* …This is a profoundly deep subject which incites deep passions spiritually as well as religiously. Respect for the Soul as well as the choice of the Mother, to allow a Soul to incarnate through her body. I thank and respect Sarah for this enlightening article. Thank you very much. Mother Nature provides the herbs for all matters and this is one where the control of one’s hormones can help aid pregnancy (make fruit*full one’s womb) or hinder it (to make sterile/barren).this is a matter of choice as well as respect for Life*….There also needs to be respect for people’s opinions, sharing kindly with empathic awareness. We are all on a journey including the souls that choose to incarnate through their chosen mother. If the mother chooses to become barren or reject the life that has chosen to come through her, as a Gateway as it were, then the Soul will either perhaps, incarnate again at another time, through this same mother, or through another being. This is deep Esoteric Soul Mystery *)O(*….Many Blessings to @ll Souls, @ll Ways …….Lucy*
    * >*<<<* @~:::* <3 *

    • It all comes down to one question- what is the unborn? Since science and the Bible both confirm that the unborn is a human being from conception, then there is no “choice” for the woman to make. We are told (and know by the conscience God gave us) that it is wrong to take the life of another human being. This is not something that we have the “choice” to make. I am all for women having choices- the choice of what job they work, who they will marry, where they go to school, etc- but it all goes back to what is the unborn. Since the unborn is a human being from conception this is not a “choice” a woman can make.

  115. Funny how people fight about what is pro-life and such nonsense, but yet somehow they all ended up on this site…. Planning on getting your fix of how to prevent pregnancy also? But I have to admit…. by the logic stated above birth control IS abortion…. most of them never prevents an egg from being fertilized…. they simply force your period to regulate and come at particular times. Some you you have probably been pregnant hundreds of times, but simply keep flushing out your fertilized eggs~ lol

    The real fact is if you are so “holier than thou” , then you shouldn’t try to prevent any kind of pregnancy… and personally I find that silly. I just consider it population control… because you have to consider the quality of life future generations will have if we didn’t control our birthrates.

    Pro-life rallys/ organizations, though they stand for a good cause, can be just as fundamentally unsound as anarchist groups…. in the end… a lot of their plans and methods sound great on paper… but just isnt realistic.

  116. I think that at times we tend to overreact. Yes, abortion and the prevention of pregnancy will always be hot topics, yet it was not for either or these reasons that I visited this site.
    As a writer, I do extensive I research, and in my field of writing – historical – they did not have scientific or synthetic preventative methods, they used herbs.
    Sites, or posts, like this make it easier and often points one in the right direction, or serves as a conformation which herds or plants could have been used (logistically speaking – if you live where they are found). Therefore it has its use, and should be viewed from the perspective of: It is what one does with the information you are provided, that raises the debate. It is not the information itself that is immoral.

  117. I think everyone has a right to their own opinion. Saying that, everyone has the right to disagree with that opinion. What I don’t believe people have the right to do is go into the webpage, house, or any other personal space and start an argument about what the owners’ opinions are. This is an information website for those women who wish to not get pregnant and don’t wish to introduce laboratory made chemicals into their system. I applaud Sarah in her effort to put this information out there so these women can access it. It sickens me to read these horrid comments from both sides of the fence. If you don’t wish to use this information for whatever reason you have, it’s very simple, don’t. Start up your own website saying how horrible this information is, if it pleases you. When on someone else’s property, either conduct yourself as a guest, or leave. (Yes, a webpage IS private property)

    • I agree HLRose :). Thank you for your comment. We need people who give unbiased advice and who are just. On the other note I wanted to say the best thing to do is ignore those types of people who like to argue for infinity, extremists etc. Its just wasted energy. We can acknowledge but we don’t have to get involved when we do we created a vibe that doesnt feel good and will bring whats not good. This is great page Sarah. Thank you so much :).

  118. This article and so many of these comments just break my heart. I have lived with infertility for many years. The first few years when I would become pregnant, I worked so hard just to get my baby to implant. I was very careful not to use any herbs or supplements or even to put anything on my skin that might harm my baby or prevent implantation. Finally, I was able to achieve implantation! What a celebration! But I always miscarried at some point.

    I can tell you all that losing a baby before implantation hurts just as much as it does afterwards. Each pregnancy produced at least one unique individual with his or her own hair color and eye color, etc. I am looking forward to meeting them all in heaven one day!

    And I consider it my responsibility as long as I am fertile to watch carefully what I eat and drink and put on my skin- just in case I might be pregnant. I do not even take large doses of vitamin C.

  119. Human life isn’t that special- if we didn’t have gigantic neo cortexes that made us worry about the past and future, we wouldn’t be that concerned with death. Personally, if I hadn’t spent so much life acquiring education, emotional healing, and nearly paying off my college loans, I wouldn’t feel death was much of a loss. If my mom didn’t feel capable of having me I would gratefully leave before I had to deal with having an awful life from not being wanted. Life itself is full of abortions, and gardens are full of seeds that don’t grow. What’s the big deal?

  120. Pingback: Contraception :The pill and how it doesn’t work? | Midlands House of Healing

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