Experts warn against ‘herbal abortion’ remedies on TikTok

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Besides potentially unwanted side effects, trying some unproven herbal remedies can also cause women to further delay medical care or be dishonest with emergency physicians, which can put them at even greater risk, she said. Dr Rom. “The reality is that it won’t work most of the time, so you’ll still need to get medical treatment eventually,” she said. “But now when you go for the treatment, you’ve tried to ingest something that won’t be viewed favorably or understood by the medical community, and that increases your risk of not being treated the way you want to be treated.” .”

For centuries, before the advent of surgical and medical abortions or birth control options, women turned to herbs to control their reproduction. Historians have discovered references to abortifacients and herbal methods of birth control in ancient texts from China, India, and all continents of Africa and Latin America.

In Europe, “the distinctly spiny savin tree was the abortifacient of choice,” said Londa Schiebinger, professor of the history of science at Stanford University. “You can usually identify a midwife by seeing this tree right in front of her house.” And during the colonization of the West Indies, enslaved women used herbal abortifacients to avoid giving birth to offspring who would also be enslaved, according to Dr. Schiebinger’s research.

It was not until the 15th century that authorities in the Western world really began to crack down on abortifacients and, as historians have noted, to accuse midwives of witchcraft who allegedly provided reproductive care based on plants and to persecute them.

But even those who respect and honor the history of abortifacients have warned against turning to them at this time. “I don’t take away from the importance of using abortive herbs and emergency contraceptive herbs because our ancestors did,” herbalist Leslie Rae said in a video on TikTok. But, she added, “when you’re online and you’re saying to people, ‘Oh, you can take X, Y, and Z to end a pregnancy,’ do you know how to prepare this herb? Do you know how to dose it? Do you know what parts of the plant to use? »

“TikTok witches and fake herbalists: please stop advising people on abortive herbs,” she said.


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