Ancient Chinese Medicine Might Be the Key to Better Birth Control
hat if there was a birth control that was hormone-free, 100 percent natural, resulted in no side effects, didn’t harm either eggs nor sperm, could be used in the long-term or short-term, and — perhaps the best part of all — could be used either before or after conception?
Thanks to ancient Chinese folk medicine, that’s not a far-out dream.
Research published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, identified two plant compounds that could hold the secret to preventing conception.
Here’s how it works: In order to actually penetrate the egg, sperm need to whip their tails faster to pick up momentum. But there are two plant compounds that can prevent sperm from doing this, no matter how valiantly they may try — lupeol, found in mango and dandelion root, and pristimerin, from a plant called the “thunder god vine,” the leaves of which had been used as birth control in traditional Chinese medicine. The sperm and egg are never actually harmed; they’re just never able to meet.