Q & A Library
Herbal Birth Control?
What are your thoughts about herbal contraceptives - i.e. Queen Anne's Lace or Wild Yam - as short-term and long-term birth control?
Answer (Published 8/3/2007)
I wouldn't rely on either. My colleague Tieraona Low Dog, M.D., an internationally recognized expert in the fields of integrative medicine, dietary supplements and women's health, cautions that wild yam, used in a number of hormone-containing medicines, is not an herbal contraceptive and definitely will not prevent pregnancy. Queen Anne's lace once was used as a sort of "morning-after" treatment; some limited evidence suggests that it might work - emphasis on might.
There are several non-pharmacological approaches to birth control. Of these, your best bets are the ""barrier" methods. Used consistently, diaphragms are 84 percent effective when coupled with a spermicidal cream; used consistently and correctly, condoms are 97 percent effective - and also reduce the risk of sexually transmitted diseases.
Combining two of the natural methods described below can also work. For example, the cervical mucus method plus the temperature method has a 98 percent success rate.
Andrew Weil, M.D.
Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.