Many women look outside the realm of Western medicine to treat menstrual issues, fertility, pregnancy, birth, menopause, and many other issues. The options available for birth control from conventional gynecological practice are sorely inadequate. Synthetic birth control potentiates cancer and overrides our bodies natural delicate hormonal feedback systems, resulting in side-effects, hormonal imbalance, and compromises fertility when taken long-term. There are many personal reasons why the various barrier methods are inconvenient, uncomfortable, and at times unavailable, or worse, ineffective.
The fact is, people have used plants to manage women’s health issues, including birth control, for thousands of years. For reasons that surely have everything to do with patriarchal cultures coming into power worldwide, this knowledge has been ALMOST entirely wiped out. Taking full responsibility for our present state of health and mindset, we must also recognize that as women we perpetuate a disempowered status by continuing to believe that doctors have the only solutions, and undervaluing the great feminine forces of nature and our bodies.
The most successful technique that I know of for herbal birth control is the use of Wild Carrot seed. Wild Carrot is also popularly known as Queen Anne’s Lace, a delicate lacy white wildflower common to the temperate regions around the globe.
Research on small animals has shown that extracts of the seeds disrupt the implantation process, or if a fertilized egg has implanted for only a short period, will cause it to be released. The effect is most often described as changing the surface of the uterine lining so as to make it “slippery” so that the egg is unable to implant. There is also a great deal of empirical evidence in the form of women who have had personal success using Wild Carrot as contraception. I myself, as well as a number of my herb-minded friends and patients over the years have found Wild Carrot seed to be a great tool and ally in managing contraceptive needs – and freeing us from all of the less desirable options.
Wild Carrot seeds are ready to be harvested in the Northeastern USA right at this very moment, so if you’re serious about putting this into practice, get picking! One key identifying characteristic, is a hairy stem…. just remember Queen Anne has hairy legs! The flower head when ready for harvest curls into a vase-like, bird nest shape making it quite easy to identify.
The easiest method is to bring a paper bag and a pair of scissors to a meadow where you’ve seen the Queen Anne’s Lace grow. Simply clip the stems of the dried seed heads and put them upside down into the bag. Always practice grateful and ethical wild-harvesting which means don’t take all the seed heads, and lovingly scatter some seeds to help insure future seed supplies. Later shake the stems and the dried seeds will easily fall off and be gathered inside the bag. Store them in a jar in a cool dark place for future use (see below).
Most herb stores do not carry the seeds, so don’t expect to walk into any herb shop or health food store and pick them up. You can order from us or we can help you find a reputable source online (as our supplies are limited). This is the type of herb you need to have on hand before you need it! If stored properly, the seeds should retain potency for a few years.
How To Take:
The seeds, collected from the flower head in fall are thoroughly chewed, swallowed and washed down with water or juice. The taste is potent due to the active ingredient that prevents implantation, the essential oils. Personally, I don’t mind it; it’s a very strong parsley flavor. Chewing them releases the oils, if the seeds are simply swallowed whole, they will pass right through your system, with out releasing their oils and not be effective. The seeds may be chewed for a few days following sex, or others chew them only for a few days during implantation time (about 1 week following ovulation). I have also experienced the successful use of Wild Carrot seed when taken at the time the period is supposed to come. Waiting any later than that is not likely to work because the embryo has already taken hold to a degree that the Wild Carrot seed cannot reverse. At that point, other herbs would be needed. Chewing the seeds is the method used most commonly and with the longest historical use. This is the method I’ve always used and advise others to use, but I will share a couple of other methods as well in case you have difficulty chewing the seeds.
Fresh Seed Tincture – 1/2 to 2 droppers full (13 to 60 drops) taken in water, with the same timing as described above.
Dried Seeds Ground – One teaspoon is freshly ground just before use. Stir into juice or water. Drink one glass / day as described above.
Dried Seed Tea – One tablespoon of seeds lightly ground in a mortar and pestle just before use and brewed for tea by pouring boiling water over the seeds and steep them covered for 15 to 30 minutes.
Note: No more than 3 day’s worth of seed (one tablespoon) should be ground at one time and stored in an airtight glass container.
I have never seen any problems with fertility returning, even if a woman has been using QAL for years.
Cautions & Contradictions:
Queen Anne’s Lace should not be relied on for contraception by women who are coming off the pill, hormone replacement therapy, women who have had an abortion, childbirth, or who are not clear about their approximate time of ovulation. If you’ve had a major hormonal event such as the ones just listed, wait until your normal cycle has returned before relying on the Wild Carrot seeds.
Queen Anne’s Lace may be less effective if taken on a daily basis. It is suspected that part of what makes the herb work is that it is given and taken away, so it is best used as needed, and cyclically during the time of the month when implantation could occur.
Queen Anne’s Lace is best used in conjunction with the rhythm method and fertility awareness practices such as maintaining a Basal Body Temperature chart for long enough to have a clear sense of when you tend to ovulate and how many days your cycle is. You must be willing to pay attention to your cycle in order to use Wild Carrot seed effectively!
Some of these women have gotten pregnant shortly after they stopped using Wild Carrot.
The one noted side-effect of using Wild Carrot for birth control is vaginal dryness, which is much less noticeable with the tincture than with chewing the seeds daily. I have personally experienced extremely mild dryness which I would associate with long-term use of Wild Carrot. I am curious to know if other women have experienced possible side effects, had positive experiences, or have general questions about using Wild Carrot as contraception.