Medicinal Plants with Potential Antifertility Activity
M. Umadevi, P.K. Sampath Kumar, Debjit Bhowmik*, S. Duraivel
The Nature has been a source of medicinal agents for thousands of years and an impressive number of modern drugs have been isolated from natural sources. Plants as abortifacient and as contraceptive were well known to the ancient physicians of India. Various medicinal plant extracts have been tested for their antifertility activity both in male and female animal models activity and the active agents. Numerous herbs have been used historically to reduce fertility, and modern scientific research has confirmed anti-fertility effects in at least some of the herbs tested. Herbal contraception may never reach the level of contraceptive protection as the pill, but it offers alternatives for women who have difficulty with modern contraceptive options or who just want to try a different way. Very little is known about many of the herbs, or about long term side effects or safety concerns. Many herbal methods were tried with mixed results. People who are not interested in getting pregnant are usually not interested in mixed results." With any method of contraception, there is some risk of pregnancy. Each woman has to decide how much of a risk is too much. Most modern forms of birth control are 70% to 99% effective depending on the method chosen. For women who can't use modern forms of contraception, herbs can offer alternatives, and reducing fertility would be better than no birth control. Some herbal contraceptives have a cumulative effect in the body, they need to be taken regularly to maintain the contraceptive effect. Often needing a period of time to establish effectiveness, so a barrier method should be employed.