On Herbs and Contraception

Ok…I’ve seen a lot of people pushing herbal abortifacients lately and while I’m fully pro-choice, I’ve been horrified to see random lists of herbs given with no indication of how to use them, no mention that they can kill you if mis-used, or sometimes destroy kidney and liver function (and kill you) if even slightly overused, no contra-indications, etc. etc. 

People. Consult a skilled herbalist or you can die. Herbs are not harmless. Also, if you’re on any medications, there can be contraindications. There is actually a Physician’s Desk Reference for Herbal Medicines (did you know, for instance, that taking St. John’s Wort can render certain types of birth control pills ineffective? Seems like this is info people might want to know, before taking a tincture). 

Today, I saw this list: tansy, rue, pennyroyal, queen Anne’s lace. All of these are contraceptives or abortifacients/emmenagogues but taken incorrectly, three of the four can kill you. Tansy depletes the body of vitamin C, can cause scurvy, and in one of the cases that I read when I studied herbalism in my twenties, in severe cases, fatally damage the organs. The dosage one has to take to rid the body of baby is very, very, very close to a lethal dose. Don’t use this. Rue is likewise an emmenagogue and I can’t speak to its use because I just don’t remember my class notes but I’d sure as hell consult a qualified practitioner before just taking it. 

Pennyroyal will act as an emmenagogue if taken as a tea, but you ingest the oil and that is lethal. In one case we studied, a woman began to miscarry after just rubbing the oil on her abdomen. Taken internally, it will kill you. 

Queen Anne’s Lace will not kill you but how do you take it? It functions as contraception, making the lining of the womb too slippery for a fertilized egg to implant. I was taught a teaspoon of the seeds daily, CHEWED thoroughly. Taking it as a tea does no good at all. 

One amusing (and useful, not deadly) means of contraception that I read about today (and have read about in my historical studies prior to this – Casanova mentions it in his memoirs for one) was used by courtesans: cut a lemon in half and insert half, with the cut end facing out. The lemon juice is a mild spermicidal and the lemon itself blocks the cervix. Hey, if it sounds weird, it’s an improvement on what ancient Egyptians did. They used little caps of crocodile dung, which I suppose WOULD have the desired effect. LOL. One way or another. 

These are not the only herbs that have emmagogic functions but one needs to know what one is doing. That takes study, certification, and common sense. Go to a professional herbalist. Better yet, find a OB/GYN who will tie your tubes. Then you don’t have to worry. 

You think herbal is safer? Well, belladonna, henbane, and fox glove are all 100% natural. 


About ganglerisgrove

Galina Krasskova has been a Heathen priest since 1995. She holds a Masters in Religious Studies (2009), a Masters in Medieval Studies (2019), has done extensive graduate work in Classics including teaching Latin, Roman History, and Greek and Roman Literature for the better part of a decade, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Theology. She is the managing editor of Walking the Worlds journal and has written over thirty books on Heathenry and Polytheism including "A Modern Guide to Heathenry" and "He is Frenzy: Collected Writings about Odin." In addition to her religious work, she is an accomplished artist who has shown all over the world and she currently runs a prayer card project available at wyrdcuriosities.etsy.com.

Posted on May 14, 2022, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Considering there’s bills in some state legislatures already on the floor to start also going after birth control, like IUDs, and some crazy politicians saying America has lost its position as a leading nation because of our declining birth rate… even tubal ligation could be on the chopping block. Seriously any woman that knows their womb is closed for babies should seriously consider getting it done now.


    • ganglerisgrove

      It’s actually incredibly difficult for a woman to get a tubal ligation in this country. The majority of doctors will still refuse based on “she might change her mind” or (I am not joking) “her boyfriend/husband may want children in the future.” If you can find a doctor to do it, you’re lucky, really lucky. In the UK in 2019 a 25 year old woman who, like me, had never wanted children had to sue the NHS for the right to tubal ligation. She won, but the excuses I note here were repeatedly said to her as reasons for refusal prior to her lawsuit. I’ve talked to numerous men who’ve been fixed and not one has said their doctor questioned the decision. there was no, “you might change your mind” or “maybe your future wife/gf will want children.” it was assumed that men know best how to handle their fertility. So if you find a doctor willing to do a tubal ligation, don’t hesitate and share the information with whomever might want it. They’re as rare as hen’s teeth even now.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pennyroyal will kill in a particularly horrific way no less, and Rue can be lethal though I admit this isn’t a part of herbalism I’ve studied extensively.

    Herbal medicine, is still medicine, that it “can’t hurt you” is such a frustrating mistake to see people make time and again. Is it less likely in a wide swath of cases where the herb is being used properly? Oh yeah…but blanket statements do no one any good.

    Considering there is an entirely reversible form of the surgery that is nearly as effective as the non-reversible (but still not infallible against pregnancy, though almost so) no doctor has any excuse to use the ‘she might change her mind’ nonsense.

    And where do these people get these ideas, America is Not one of the countries with a critical demographic (ie survival of the country in jeopardy) issue. At all. These are really getting to be the curse form of “interesting times”.


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