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10 Ancient Methods of Birth Control

Iva Cheung . . . Comments

This year marked the fiftieth anniversary of the birth control pill, which many considered to have empowered women and sparked the sexual revolution. But as this list will show, women have had some control over their reproductive rights for millennia, although some of these ancient birth control methods were, admittedly, more terrifying than most of the methods in use today.

To be included on this list, the birth control had to be at least plausibly effective to some degree. Records exist of women in ancient Rome and Greece relying on dances and amulets to prevent pregnancy, and we can safely assume that those probably didn’t do much. At the risk of stirring up controversy, I’ve listed both contraceptives—which prevent sperm from fertilizing egg—and abortifacients, which induce abortion. For the sake of interest, I’ve focused on methods that would be unusual today, and not on methods that are still regularly practiced—like abstinence, coitus interruptus, or fertility awareness—to similar effect now as a few centuries ago. These items are in no particular order.




Citric acid is said to have spermicidal properties, and women used to soak sponges in lemon juice before inserting them vaginally. Mentioned in the Talmud, this was a preferred method of birth control in ancient Jewish communities. The sponge itself would act as a pessary—a physical barrier between the sperm and the cervix. The great womanizer Casanova was said to have inserted the rind of half a lemon into his lovers as a primitive cervical cap or diaphragm, the residual lemon juice serving to annihilate the sperm. Lemon- and lime-juice douches following coitus were also recommended as a form of birth control, but this method was likely less effective, since sperm can enter the cervix—and hence out of reach of any douching—within minutes of ejaculation. Incidentally, some alternative medicine practitioners today suggest that megadoses of vitamin C (6 to 10 g a day) could induce an abortion in women under 4 weeks of pregnancy, but there’s no evidence that citrus fruits were used in this way in ancient times.


Queen Anne’s Lace

N3 Queen Anne's Lace

Queen Anne’s Lace is also known as wild carrot, and its seeds have long been used as a contraceptive—Hippocrates described this use over two millennia ago. The seeds block progesterone synthesis, disrupting implantation and are most effective as emergency contraception within eight hours of exposure to sperm—a sort of “morning after” form of birth control. Taking Queen Anne’s Lace led to no or mild side effects (like a bit of constipation), and women who stopped taking it could conceive and rear a healthy child. The only danger, it seemed, was confusing the plant with similar-looking but potentially deadly poison hemlock and water hemlock.




Pennyroyal is a plant in the mint genus and has a fragrance similar to that of spearmint. The ancient Greeks and Romans used it as a cooking herb and a flavoring ingredient in wine. They also drank pennyroyal tea to induce menstruation and abortion—1st-century physician Dioscorides records this use of pennyroyal in his massive five-volume encyclopedia on herbal medicine. Too much of the tea could be highly toxic, however, leading to multiple organ failure.


Blue Cohosh

Caulophyllum Thalictroides Leaves

Blue cohosh, traditionally used for birth control by Native Americans, contains at least two abortifacient substances: one mimics oxytocin, a hormone produced during childbirth that stimulates the uterus to contract, and a substance unique to blue cohosh, caulosaponin, also results in uterine contractions. Midwives today may use blue cohosh in the last month of pregnancy to tone the uterus in preparation for labour. The completely unrelated but similarly named black cohosh also has estrogenic and abortifacient properties and was often combined with blue cohosh to terminate a pregnancy.


Dong Quai

Il Fullxfull.87787175

Dong quai, also known as Chinese angelica, has long been known for its powerful effects on a woman’s cycle. Women drank a tonic brewed with dong quai roots to help regulate irregular menstruation, alleviate menstrual cramps and help the body regenerate after menstruation. Taken during early pregnancy, however, dong quai had the effect of causing uterine contractions and inducing abortion. European and American species of angelica have similar properties but were not as widely used.


Common Rue

Rue Anemone Thalictrum Thalictroides Flower 2479Px

Rue, a blue-green herb with feathery leaves, is grown as an ornamental plant and is favored by gardeners for its hardiness. It is rather bitter but can be used in small amounts as a flavoring ingredient in cooking. Soranus, a gynecologist from 2nd-century Greece, described its use as a potent abortifacient, and women in Latin America have traditionally eaten rue in salads as a contraceptive and drunk rue tea as emergency contraception or to induce abortion. Ingested regularly, rue decreases blood flow to the endometrium, essentially making the lining of the uterus non-nutritive to a fertilized egg.




In the ancient medical manuscript the Ebers Papyrus (1550 BCE), women were advised to grind dates, acacia tree bark, and honey together into a paste, apply this mixture to seed wool, and insert the seed wool vaginally for use as a pessary. Granted, it was what was in the cotton rather than the cotton itself that promoted its effectiveness as birth control—acacia ferments into lactic acid, a well-known spermicide—but the seed wool did serve as a physical barrier between ejaculate and cervix. Interestingly, though, women during the times of American slavery would chew on the bark of cotton root to prevent pregnancy. Cotton root bark contains substances that interfere with the corpus luteum, which is the hole left in the ovary when ovulation occurs. The corpus luteum secretes progesterone to prepare the uterus for implantation of a fertilized egg. By impeding the corpus luteum’s actions, cotton root bark halts progesterone production, without which a pregnancy can’t continue.




In South Asia and Southeast Asia, unripe papaya was used to prevent or terminate pregnancy. Once papaya is ripe, though, it loses the phytochemicals that interfere with progesterone and thus its contraceptive and abortifacient properties. The seeds of the papaya could actually serve as an effective male contraceptive. Papaya seeds, taken daily, could cut a man’s sperm count to zero and was safe for long-term use. Best of all, the sterility was reversible: if the man stopped taking the seeds, his sperm count would return to normal.




Silphium was a member of the fennel family that grew on the shores of Cyrenaica (in present-day Libya). It was so important to the Cyrenean economy that it graced that ancient city’s coins. Silphium had a host of uses in cooking and in medicine, and Pliny the Elder recorded the herb’s use as a contraceptive. It was reportedly effective for contraception when taken once a month as a tincture. It could also be used as emergency birth control, either orally or vaginally, as an abortifacient. By the second century CE, the plant had gone extinct, likely because of over harvesting.




Civilizations the world over, from the ancient Assyrians and Egyptians to the Greeks, were fascinated by mercury and were convinced that it had medicinal value and special curative properties, using it to treat everything from skin rashes to syphilis. In ancient China, women were advised to drink hot mercury to prevent pregnancy. It was likely pretty effective at convincing a woman’s body that she wasn’t fit to carry a child, leading to miscarriage, so in that sense, it worked as a contraceptive. However, as we know today, mercury is enormously toxic, causing kidney and lung failure, as well as brain damage and death. At that point, pregnancy would probably be the least of your worries.

  • Lucas

    Nice list. I would have never thought of a list with this topic haha

  • timothyjames

    Huh. Interesting stuff. The amount of trial and error that had to go into discovering some of these must have been enormous. With no scientific knowledge to back these things up, it's amazing they were discovered at all. As I was reading, I was wonder about male contraceptives, and I came across #3 just in time. I never knew about that. Wasn't the picture for number 1 used in a previous list also? Cool fountains or something?

    • Nic Swaner

      It wasn't necessarily trial and error, but simple observation.

      • timothyjames

        Maybe in the case of things being eaten (where they could make the leap from someone having a diet high in vitamin C to that person not getting pregnant), but it would see that the ones that needed to be inserted would have to have some aspect of guessing.

  • Xoxo

    Hmm I would like to know how popular birth control was in these indivisual socities because taking birth contol was higly tabooed until recently.

    • Svey

      In some societies it's tabooed even now

    • ArtemisFox

      True. But taboo doesn't mean you don't do it. It means you do it secretly of suffer the consequences.

    • mom424

      Baloney – only in recent times, with advent of christian missionaries, has this been the case. Same with homophobia and a host of other idiocies. Christianity is responsible for much good, but also much bullshit.

    • Birth control wasn't an issue because women just took care of it and men didn't have to be bothered. Christianity came along and made lots of things "sinful" that were not before.

  • Hii

    The anciet greeks used to take mercury baths too because they thought it improved your skin.

  • Alia

    For number 4, how did the women get them out, or would they the stay in forever.

    • They just pulled them out. Or, if they did their keigles, they could have pushed them out.

  • cambered

    Hmmm… a well researched and written list. As a man trying desperately to get my partner pregnant again (woe be me!), I guess I need to check my daily papaya intake.


    • Alex

      How come high schoolers always get pregnant on one night stands while married men have to try for months? Damn world.

      • aditya arya

        send your girl to me for a night and you will see the result.

  • Tronman

    Haha I feel sorry for guys who might be eating papaya seeds and don't even know what it's doing to them.

    • Nic Swaner

      What, they're guaranteed to go on Maury and have him proclaim "You're not the father!"

    • ::))


    • rsjesh07

      is it true it ll count the sperms to zero or its fake..wat ll happen pls reply to my mail…[email protected]

  • Nic Swaner

    Err… what an appropriate list for a Sunday?

    For the list itself it shows how ancient societies observed the effects of what they ate and/or stuck into themselves and how it interacted with them (i.e. am I still alive).

    • Moonbeam

      I'm honestly not sure what it being Sunday has to do with this topic. Of course, maybe you're Catholic? My Mom who was Catholic and had a very large family used to say, "If men went through pregnancy, labor, and delivery just once – birth control would be a sacrament."

      • Nic Swaner

        Well, I think I meant it's not a very leisurely list for a Sunday, it seems like a weekday list to me, if that makes any sense.

      • KabirBhai

        Great Reply… I saw my cousin being pregnant and heard her cries when she was delivering. That was one of those days when i actually thanked God Almighty that i cannot become pregnant.

  • astraya

    My wife and I are trying to have a baby, so maybe I shouldn't even read this!

    • Surya

      You MUST read this, so that you won't accidentally start a diet of papayas.

    • mom424

      Good luck! Relax and enjoy the trying is my only bit of advice. Keep us posted.

    • The Mick

      no, don't worry about this list. There are plenty of other places on the 'net that can show you how to have a baby ;)

    • lalabhaiya

      all the best. and spend more time 'at it' with your wife than replying to these comments.

  • timefillmyeyes

    I wonder if any of these are used in modern pharmaceuticals. I imagine the more dangerous ones aren't, but it seems that maybe extracting the DNA that codes for the production of the active chemicals in these plants and inserting them into bacterial producers would be a cheap way to provide birth control and morning after pills.

  • The Man

    This list could have been entitled; "Top 9 plants that most that most likely dont do shit."

    • mom424

      oh come on, do you actually believe that it makes a difference whether chemicals are man-made or naturally occurring….? There are many plants, fungi, etc that have pharmaceutical properties. Aspirin comes from tree bark eh? Penicillin from fancy bread mold…etc. etc.

      • cambered

        Morphine comes from poppies… try telling me that gear "don't do shit".

        • lalabhaiya

          and marijuana. how can that be excluded? you do it and then you don't worry about shit.

  • Ninja_Wallaby

    Fantastic list, was surprised not to see the early leather condoms. Heres a very interesting wiki page on the history of condoms.

    I too wonder just how long it took peoples observations to realise that some of these things worked.
    The mercury entry is rather disturbing as even having too many of those old mercury fillings of which I have one can cause untold medical problems, let alone drinking the stuff.

    • mom424

      See even back in the day women would do anything to have control over their own bodies.

  • =__=

    I think papaya is still commonly used in rural southeast asia. Don't know if it really worked tho.

    • julesmaine1

      Well considering in Thailand that Papaya is the staple ingredient of the national dish Som Tam, I would suggest that it is highly ineffective.

      Think of Som Tam in the same way we think of potatoes or bread as part of our staple diet and you still arent really seeing how much papaya Thais eat.

      The birthrate where I live is equivalent to an 1800's coal mining town. They seem to be popping them out with extreme regularity.

      • jroache

        I don't think the seeds are eaten as part of the regular diet,(i could be wrong), and it's the seeds that are a contraceptive.

  • KabirBhai

    1. Read half the list.
    2. Closed The Browser.
    3. Searched my external hard disk for a song.
    5. Missed Kurt Cobain.
    6. Came back to read the full list.
    7. Nice List

    • Trill

      Well aren't you the clever one?

      • KabirBhai

        Thanks but I am too humble to accept your compliment though its quite accurate…

        • Trill

          Oh no! Smug, narcissistic, atheist assholes are voting my comments down as they vote their own comments up!

          • lalabhaiya

            unlike you, eh?

          • Trill

            Your rapier wit astounds…

    • AngelHair

      My thoughts exactly.

  • fairtwiggy

    Great list! I remember reading somewhere that they also would use dung and honey. Make some kind of paste out of it and insert. Yeah I think I would rather just get pregnant than insert crap in me. But that's just me.

    • mom424

      back in the day? with no epidurals, no emergency c-sections, no drugs to help with postpartum hemorrhage, no hospitals…..I highly doubt it.

    • twink

      Yeah, I bet that would keep any woman from getting pregnant. Don't know any men that would bring their meatstick within 10 yards of that nastiness.

    • Prashant

      great thought….Keep up the gud work

  • badabing

    How about pulling out, that has to be the oldest method! It'still around today!


    • Ninja_Wallaby

      Read the introductory paragraph

      btw are u the badabing i used to play poker wit in yahoo?

    • Pulling out is how I got my first daughter. Not really that effective.

  • Double O'Seven

    Well,for your enlightment, did you know that condoms were invented in ancient Egypt? It was made of papyrus and soaked into a spermicidal solution before use…

  • Miss_J_Bean

    I finally stayed up late enough to see the list get posted! What an interesting topic, my compliments to the author. :) Goodnight now, or good morning…. or rather, how about "Good day to you!"

    • TheBeav

      You stayed up past 9:00? Mom's gonna be sore at you!

  • Jacob

    I was expecting to see the chastity belt on this list.

    • Ninja_Wallaby

      Seems chastity belts aren't ancient, another great wiki page on them here.

    • lalabhaiya

      that reminds me of robin hood: men in tights.

      • Chineapplepunk

        Haha, I think a few recent lists are reminding people of that film… The speeches one did that to me!!

  • oouchan

    Some of these I knew but most I didn't. The papaya was a surprise. It's amazing that people use their own bodies as guinea pigs…..but it leads the way towards bettering ourselves.

    Great list.

    • bluesman87

      i kindve use my own body as a guinea pig too , im a big supporter of testing pharmaceuticles but never on animals , only on me , and only if they sound fun or are pretty colors .Why i bet that if we all do our part we can stop animal testing all together , once and for all .

  • Will Trame

    Amazing. You learn something new everyday. This list may cause a bit of controversy, but what the hell.

    The Queen Ann’s Lace and papaya surprised me. (“I left you a crate of papaya; they waited all night by your door”)

    Abstinence is still the best method of birth control; the principal side effect being a profound sense of frustration.

    • Roxanne

      Yes, not having sex prevents pregnancy. But the majority of people are still HAVING sex, just not calling it sex. Abstinance, as it's taught now, creates boundaries between different forms of sex which leads to all kinds of trouble.

      If you were referring to abstinance in it's purest form (aka, NO sex whatsoever), then I apologize good sir. Carry on.

  • ArtemisFox

    Great list! Papaya, silphium, and murcury (shudder at the thought) were new to me. I've long been fascinated with the idea that even in the most strict cultures women were taking matters into their own hands, as best they could.

    "There's rue for you and here's some for me… Oh you must wear your rue with a difference." -Ophelia

  • undaunted warrior 1

    Enjoyed the read thanks, and I agree you learn something new every day,

  • Interesting list, a follow up list could be something along the lines of '10 types of condoms from history'. Admittedly that title sucks a bit, but it's interesting to see the different things they tried sticking over their manhood in an attempt to stop not only pregnancy but syphllis too.

  • mom424

    Excellent list Iva. Chuckled to myself when I read this part of the introduction – "to similar effect now as a few centuries ago". We all know just how effective relying on last second self-control works. Near about as well as the Rhythm method. Best birth control ever – if you're looking for a nice big family.

    What's most amazing is that women have been attempting to exercise autonomy over their own bodies and biological functions since time immemorial. And rightfully so. Maybe all those do-good-nicks (mostly men eh?) that want to curb these rights should take a look to the past.

    • Ninja_Wallaby

      Agreed although im amazed that probably most of these arent in use today whilst the pill has possibly openened up a lot of things I'm sure the clinic is probably most used for todays world.
      If not the morning after pill

      • lalabhaiya

        Who knows? Maybe these are the ingredients for contraceptives around the world. Quite possible they are still in use although in a very refined and processed manner.

    • Arsnl

      "We all know just how effective relying on last second self-control works. "
      Wow mom, i didnt know you had your stats so right.
      Chuckled myself when i read that. Just cuz a method (condoms) works in "perfect conditions" that doesnt mean it will work the same in real life. People are so gullible, to say the least and stats are great for proving how naive we truly are.

      You laughed for the same reason as i did, right?
      Does Rhythm also work as good as condoms? For that ill have to see some nice charts. Talking about stuff you( a general you) dont have any idea. I call that bushism.

  • Zen

    can't imagine drinking hot mercury

  • Kobbin

    All the abortifacients made me feel just… horrible…
    Well, at least now I know what not to use.

  • Snorlax

    Punch in the stomach of the pregnant wife?, it is birth control, but also very gruesome.

    • mom424

      No, it's assault.

    • cambered

      What a moronic comment… I want those 5 seconds of my life back.


  • Thulas

    @mom424 and whoever that agrees with her. do you imagine that aborting little ones because someone raped you or you just don't want a child for whatever reason is "women having control"? And then these women fail to think about the child no matter your reason for wanting to abort it, its not its fault.

    Then there is the birth control pill thing which deceives men as to the level of promiscuity of women that seem to be still fresh when they are actually whores that have prevented pregnancies and aborted countless numbers of babies!

    • julesmaine1

      Idiot – go and troll another site you freak. This site is (or was) reserved for people with intelligence and some intellectual capacity.

      I am guessing you are a religious nutjob. Therefore your whole argument is based on a work of fiction called The Bible. If i remember from my childhood the first page of the Bible says:

      "To my Darling Brian, all of my love Malcolm. All characters, prose, situations and parables are entirely fictional and the work of the author"

      Go and level your lack of intelligence on another website, I suggest you will like or

    • Kobbin

      As much as I dislike sexual promiscuity and abortion, many women who take part in it aren't doing so because they know they're being bad [not implying they are being bad] and get a thrill out of it. Most of them are living their lives and lovin' on their significant others. Many women who get abortions are young [sometimes not so young] and scared, some of them forced to get one, some of them so scared that they get one in secret, or so scared they make the decision too quickly because they don't want to think about having to deal with the stress anymore. Then there are the few that are horribly pretentious, repeating the same garbage of how it's their body, their choice, over and over and over again. The problem with them, though, is that they don't know what they're saying, they're just repeating something they heard without understand what it means. That's not to say, however, that there aren't people who use it and do know what it means. Mom424 was getting a bit on my nerves just by saying the things she did, but not everything she said got to me, and the things that did I just tried to ignore because I know she's a person and not stupid.

      You need to calm down, everyone makes their choices, everyone lives in their own universe. If you don't like it so much just try to change your perception so you don't have to deal with it anymore. Just ignore them and make your world different from theirs. It's crazy difficult, but what else can you do? :/

      • julesmaine1

        What is pretentious about personal freedoms? Isnt democracy built on just those tenets

        • Kobbin

          I wasn't trying to say that when people say that they're being pretentious, I'm saying when people are being pretentious they're being pretentious. I went on to mention that there are people who say things and understand what they mean, including the things that pretentious people say. But, we all have our fair share of retards throughout the world in every country and community [including this one], despite any intellectual boom or congregation there's going to be a stupid individual, mentally stupid or socially stupid and so on. We, however, do not have the right to judge who is the stupid and who isn't. One slip of the tongue can make you appear to be the most dim piece of meat out there, but it's not likely that you are.

          • julesmaine1

            So you agree that Bubba Thulas is a retard then?

            By the way thats me being pretentious

            I disagree completely with your statement regarding stupidity. We all have a right to judge, that is what most of our political systems are all about, if you think someone is just stupid, you vote them out.

            I think this may be reversed in America, thats me being pretentious again.

    • Moonbeam

      Wow…just wow…

      Think a moment about how impossible it is for women to know how many sexual partners a man may have had. Why is it more important for a man to know how many sexual partners a woman may have had? And for what reason? If it's to avoid STD's, then I suppose both partners may want to have a rough idea if the potential lover has been promiscuous.

      How lovely that you call woman "whores." (Sarcasm, by the way.) Are you also applying this word to rape victims? And what do you call the men who participated in creating the child or children? "Casanovas," "Don Juans," "virile," "studs"?

      What I find incongruous in your statements here is the very idea that you cast aspersions on a young woman who is with child, by calling her a whore. This very attitude leads to a terrible feeling of shame on the part of the woman, who then in a desperate attempt to hid her shame, may have an abortion. Cause and effect.

      How about a world where a new life begun is looked at as a beautiful thing? How about rather than spending countless hours protesting abortion, people help young men and woman find a way to support and raise their newborn children? How about a world where sex is seen as a perfectly natural, healthy physical act as long as it's between two consenting adults, instead of looking it as something dirty and shameful? If you believe in a god, hasn't this same god created the act of sexual relations in order to perpetuate the human species?

    • mom424

      The only thing that I imagine is that it is none of your fucking business whatever I choose. That's the entire point. It's my womb and my choice. Not yours. And I understand exactly what I'm saying. And me pretentious? bwahahahaha
      oh and btw – I have 4 sons and no abortions. I've been fortunate and have never been in the position where I had to make that awful choice.

      • cambered

        "…I have 4 sons and no abortions. I've been fortunate and have never been in the position where I had to make that awful choice."

        Good work, mom… 4 sons would be never a dull moment..?

        My wife and I have been forced into making a decision about aborting. Our baby, at about 15 weeks in-utero was diagnosed with an unspecified lesion in her chest. We took advice from many specialists and consulted intensely with each other… we decided to hold on and hope. As the weeks wore on, the lesion kept growing. The doctors prognosis was getting grimmer and grimmer… the baby had developed hydrops fetalis (severe swelling) as a result of the lesion. At 24 weeks, we were given the advice that the baby was about to die… there was no hope for our poor little angel… and we decided to induce to protect my wife's health. As it turned out, our little girl died in utero that afternoon. It took my wife 3 days to deliver her… she was so beautiful. We carry her ashes with us to this day.

        Sorry, guess I just needed to get that off my chest. I am not one to force my opinion about abortion on others… but in our situation, we had no option.

        • mom424

          I can't even imagine the torture and heartache that that decision would entail. Which is why no one should have the right to make it for you eh? That's why I get so het up over this issue – the arrogance required to think that you have the one answer for everybody is just galling.

          • cambered

            Exactly. It is such a personal and emotional issue… there is no one rule when it comes to abortion. According to some of these people, my wife and I would be considered murderers, when in reality I didn't really want to lose both my baby and my wife on the same day — selfish of me, huh?

            It wouldn't be that hard (for you) to imagine the suffering of losing a baby mid term… you've been pregnant four times yourself, so you understand the emotional attachment for yourself and your husband. It's excruciating saying goodbye.

            I also want to make it clear that I'm not seeking pity here, just trying to highlight that sometimes abortion is a forced hand… and despite that fact, some ("pious") people will not think twice to judge us; despite the fact we are the loving parents of one beautiful child and are desperate for another.

    • Lexi

      You sound like someone from the Taliban — go back to Afghanistan, this is civilization!

    • scalet

      hey hey hey stop there mister………how about countless men who hav gone around fathering athousand babies and dont giv a shit about them or claim they r not theirs
      its tym men also saw themselves as bigger whores than women only difference they hav nothing to show it for unfortunately for us women.

  • Toggle

    What does this even mean?

  • fairtwiggy

    I think someone got burned by a girl recently.Also what are you talking about mom never said anything about aborting a child.

    • Kobbin

      Heeey, why's everyone bein' so hateful?

      Aaaalso, julesmaine1, not all religiously minded people are like that, just as not all atheists are the way that religious fanatics make them to be. I know I hate it when both of them are bashed under such extreme prejudice. And just because Thulas disagrees with something that crazy people just HAPPEN to disagree with doesn't mean he is one. Come on, dude, why would you make that assumption and then go on to elaborate in such a spiteful way? We're all people here…

      • julesmaine1

        Please, Bubba Thulas above filled his comment with hate and obvious secularism.

        I will defend his right to say what he said with my last breath, however when it is that much of an idiotic statement, it is either a TROLL or someone who has been brainwashed and deserves to be re-educated.

        When you try take away other peoples rights or try and beat people in to submission with your Giant Flying Spaghetti Monster and absurd vitriolic statements about a whole range of subjects that you have little to no knowledge of, you become fair game in my book and deserve to be called out.

        Abortion is not a decision taken lightly by anyone, least of all the expectant mother, to denigrate it even further and turn it into a religious and political tool or to use it for ones own agenda is tantamount to a war crime in my book. "The big Boss told me to do it" thats what the Nazis said at Nuremberg.

        To those that say "Thou Shallt Not" what I say is "yes we F***ing shall".
        – Billy Connolly

  • Megan

    It's interesting that there is still so much contestation surrounding medically developed birth control when it's clear that people have been using various methods for so many years already. Furthermore, I know holistic medicine still has blends of Pennyroyal tea to induce menstruation in women.

  • Thulas

    @Those who commented on my above comment. first of all i never mentioned religion. Second my comment does not make me less intelligent, as to my using the word "whore", that is because women are special and they should treat themselves as such, guys sexual parts do not get ravished as does that of women and so they are not the same just like women get drunk faster then men due to their body make. Plus its the only word that i can find to show my dislike of such behaviour, i do not make words and i can not say a "boyfriend alcoholic" as you do in your talk shows. If you want to know what i think about religion here is my facebook note

    • julesmaine1

      Dude you are seriously in need of a personality makeover.

      Women and men have sexual urges and desires. Freedom to indulge in this is down to the individual. Are you not getting any? Try masturbation, this may release some of that pent up anger you have. Because right now you sound like a serial killer.

      I hope you find the woman of your dreams. She probably doesnt exist or if she says x, y and z number of partners previous to you, I would times that figure by at least 4.

      What are you talking about ravished parts? Are you extremely small, do they laugh at you and scream when you take your trousers off "oh no a man being eaten alive by a tiny maggot?"

      As far as I know, female anatomy being one of my favourite pastimes, I believe our female friends have a once size fits all.

      You really need to grow up and work out that liberal attitudes work in your favour as much as against it. Or you just need to get laid, I cant decide.

      Cant believe I am answering this, you really dont deserve the time. If narrow mindedness and sexual preference is a closet then you are trapped in a matchbox. I would come out if I was you, you may feel better about yourself.

    • jroache

      Who's talk shows are you talking about, and how do you know what these people are watching? Are you Big Brother, do you know and see all, the wizard of Oz maybe, could you be.. gasp… God.

    • bluesman87

      hi Thulas ,you need to get laid buddy . Seriously, you got semen intoxication its poisoning your blood making you crazy .

  • Arsnl

    Who would take a medicine/plant called dong as birth control. "Id take a dong cuz i dont want a baby". One dong after another but be careful at the order. One dong cancels another.
    Ive got dozens.

  • Great list. Ive actually used pennyroyal & black cohosh to bring on late periods before. Though I wonder how anything on this list could be controversial. Unless of course, you're referring to religious nutjobs getting butt-hurt over the thought of a woman having a say in her own reproductive health, which is just asinine.

  • Thulas

    @mom424 Its not your body its the body you are currently with. No human owns anything, we don't even own this planet. You will see that when the decision whether we should be destroyed or be let to continue destroying this planet must be made, we will be destroyed and the planet will continue. Your baby is not your body too. Its a life! You do not have the right to give it the death sentence as it is pure then you are.

    • KabirBhai

      I did not want to jump in this debate but after reading ur comment, i have to.
      You people must realize that its very easy to speak but when the topic of bringing up a child comes up, such preachers are nowhere to be seen.
      The ultimate right over a child is of her mother's. She can decide whether it should be born or not. 99% of pregnant women who undergo abortion or take contraceptives do not do so just for fun. they go through severe mental trauma to undergo abortion oar they take contraceptives only when they do not want to have a baby. Its simply their choice. The mothers have the full and supreme right to do whatever they want to do. If women want to take contraceptives, its their decision. Who are you or even who am i to question them.

      • Arsnl

        "99%" where did you get that number from? could i check your sources? Cuz 220000 abortions take place in france each year. That would be a serious of women with severe mental trauma. I thought abortion is also about asserting control over ones body. (like mom says: her uterus her body non of any guys business). Why would abortion rights people support something that would just traumatize women? Oh yeah i know why… cuz what you're saying is bs. Women that have abortions do so cuz they want to(im excluding exceptions, medical condition or rape) just like women that want to keep the kidd do so cuz they want to (again im talking in general here).
        Its their right to do whatever they think is necessary. But coming out with bs like severe trauma is stupid

        • KabirBhai

          OK. Let me rephrase it. They go through Severe Mental Pain when they take the decision of undergoing abortion. And No. Abortion is not an easy decision. Abortion is not as easy as deciding whether to have apple or banana for breakfast. Its a life-altering decision for women. Am not asking you to change your point of view but i am asking you to try to understand what i wrote.

          • Arsnl

            "Its a life-altering decision for women. "
            Isnt that the exact opposite of what activist want us to think? That abortion isnt difficult cuz it isnt a living being? That it shouldnt be life altering? That women should continue their lifes?
            I understand what you wrote, but you contradict yourself with "pro-choice" people. What about all the women that had an abortion and didnt feel bad about it? Does the fact that it didnt alter their lifes, mean that they are horrible people?

    • mom424

      It's not a life until it is capable of independent life – it is potential life. Living and life is not the same eh? you can grow skin cells in a petrie dish -those cells are alive, not a life. And I have every right to decide what to do with the potential life inside my body. You are very most mistaken.

      • Arsnl

        Technically once the foetus has "a working brain" it is no longer considered abortion.
        And you have to admit that the skin in petri dishes is a strawman :))
        A funny one but a strawman still

      • Ben

        Babies aren't capable of independent life.. but they still need help.

  • Thulas

    @kabirBhai so you are basically saying your mother has the right to kill you even now because you are her property. That is what i get from your argument because whether a baby is inside you or not doesn't make any difference seeing its the same as when someone visits at your house, you cannot say you own them and can decide to do with them as you will.

    • KabirBhai

      Common Brother, lets not get in the mud to wrestle. All i am saying is Mothers are the ones who love their children the most. The child is not dropped from a stork and just borrows the womb to live. A mother loves a child and delivers it. But sometimes its not possible for her to bring that child. So she takes a tough decision. But am concerned with Contraception as thats the list all about. If u want to discuss abortion, wait for a related list.

      Contraception is the best way to control a family otherwise there will be 10-10 children in each family. If a mother does not want a child then its her wish. She should be free to take decisions. It concerns the future of her family and hers too….

      • Arsnl

        "If a mother does not want a child then its her wish. She should be free to take decisions. It concerns the future of her family and hers too…."
        Are you saying that in a family, only a woman should decide? Dude its called family planning not woman planning.
        "Mothers are the ones who love their children the most. " If im a guy, that means i will not love my kidd with the same intensity? What next? Men drink and women gossip?

        • KabirBhai

          Am not comparing mothers and fathers. But the decision of abortion should rest with the mother. Not the father. He can help in deciding.
          As you wrote earlier, Men – 49, Women, 51.
          I say, Men – 40, Women – 60
          And thus the final decision lies in the hands of mother.

          Also, 'Men drink and women gossip?' shows your mentality, not mine…

          • Arsnl

            "But the decision of abortion should rest with the mother" If i want to buy a ferrari and my wife is a housewife, can i still buy one and feed her less food. Cuz hell, its mah money, man. Dude a family is a family, you take decisions the both of you. Its called being morally attached. Plus what kind of family is it if you do whatever you want. Can i cheat? Can i beat my beat my kids cuz i provide everything to them? Oh wait no :))
            you still didnt say why its called family planning and not womenly planning.
            And the men drink women gossip was an (sarcastic)equivalent of your women luff kids more

  • Thulas

    @kabirBhai contraception is not my concern here but abortion. Everyone has the right to live. All those women who abort their babies are murderers. I don't think by law of politicians or whoever thinks they have authority over Life but by Divine Law. Divine Law has its rules and those rules demand that for every action there comes an equal but opposite reaction and thus those that terminate a life will get the same treatment by it sooner or later.

    • KabirBhai

      Well I fully and entirely DISAGREE… I think i cannot change your point of view, and you can never change mine…

    • Arsnl

      "All those women who abort their babies are murderers."
      Maybe first take a chill pill, then talk about the great circle of life or whatever.
      "Divine Law has its rules and those rules demand that for every action there comes an equal but opposite reaction and thus those that terminate a life will get the same treatment by it sooner or later."
      Are you saying newton's 3rd law means dont eat chicken?

    • Lexi

      And this guy said he wasn't bringing religion into it…

    • fknairii

      So, Thulas, were you born an idiot? Or was it a slow mental deterioration over the course of the years? Just out of curiosity.

  • Thulas

    @Asrnl you are thinking using the false scientific belief that says "matter is supreme", rather make your argument using Quantum Physics because i am not talking about matter here but the deepest interaction of this Energy called Life.

    • Arsnl

      No man. you just used newtons 3rd law to say that what ever you do, will happen to you. (and thats not actually what newton/the universe means; that law isnt about karma or whatever). So im asking: if i eat chicken, does that mean that eventually a chicken will kill and eat me?
      "Energy called Life" wow that sounds like a logo BP would love to use

    • julesmaine1

      You really have no clue what you are talking about do you?

      Quantum physics is a branch of science that deals with discrete, indivisible units of energy called quanta as described by the Quantum Theory. There are five main ideas represented in Quantum Theory:

      1. Energy is not continuous, but comes in small but discrete units.
      2. The elementary particles behave both like particles and like waves.
      3. The movement of these particles is inherently random.
      4. It is physically impossible to know both the position and the momentum of a particle at the same time. The more precisely one is known, the less precise the measurement of the other is.
      5. The atomic world is nothing like the world we live in.

      Look at number 5 in particular here and try and understand what it says. As Niels Bohr said, "Anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory has not understood it." You clearly havent understood it.

      The only energy in life is what we take in as nutrients to support our cellular structures. Again you are a prime candidate for a lobotomy, please do not use terms that you obviously do not understand.

      Quantum mechanics is a mathematically based theory system. It has nothing to do with belief systems, it is backed up by empirical evidence via mathematical equations.

      As I said previously you seem to be educated beyond your intelligence.

      • Arsnl

        Yeey he read a physics article. Sure he didnt get to de Broglie and the wave-particle duality but nice try jules.

        • Arsnl

          PS: kids dont read what jules said. He was trying to show off with some knowledge he doesnt posses

          • julesmaine1

            Dude, I really hate to do this to you, but in all honesty the superiority complex in this statement deserves a reply.

            It seems to be written by a college freshman; you know the type, they grow a beard, put on glasses to make themselves seem intelligent. It was seemingly written by a Tarquin and Cressida that sit in the wine bar on a Friday night and point out the flaws in the world today.

            Pseudo-intellectualism at its very finest.

            You may write what you want, however in this instance a sharp tongue is no indication of a sharp mind.

          • Arsnl

            Dude you pretend to be some kind of genius yet you got de Broglie's principle wrong. And im sorry but you hsould've gotten it right, cuz i have yet to study quantum mechanics properly

  • Thulas

    A man should not trust that a women who can kill a baby from inside her body and turn it into a grave and think she would not kill him.

    • mom424

      oh bullshit.

    • cambered

      Honestly man, what a complete load of bollocks.

      My wife and I made the decision to abort our (dying) baby, primarily in order to preserve the health of my wife. You mean to say that I should be watching my back because she is now some form of black widow? Bollocks.

      • lalabhaiya

        why do you even have to listen to this shit? no one can tell you and your wife what to do or what not to. don't worry. some people bark. just ignore them.

    • akiraronin

      Ok man, that's just batshit crazy talk. I've followed this debate from the start trying to understand the reasoning and belief system that you hold so dear. With this comment I give up. It merits no debate. Get help or start a cult, what ever makes people like you ( and I hope to God there's not more of you) happy.

    • Becky65

      You are by far the most insulting disgusting degrading low life waste of existence and breath that I have come across here on the "Interwebs".

      Why are you even allowed to post that crap?

      OMG go abort yourself.

    • Apricot Jam

      People should mind their own business in private situations and cease judging other people.
      We ALL have reasons for our choices in life and NOBODY has the right to critisise , especially one who hasn’t been in their shoes.
      To those who appear to not have remorse ore not understand… We are only human, nobody is perfect. What one person may make good judgement, another one fails…vice versa.

  • GiantAssFace

    Boring. It was just a bunch of plants

    • oliveralbq

      thanks, brock jr.

      • lalabhaiya

        or maybe it is brock. he is not logging in because his reputation points are going one way. up.

        • oliveralbq

          good call, leaps.
          i was thrown off by the fact that sentence contains punctuation

          we better watch out
          he's getting crafty

  • woop

    seems like a few famous ones were missed here, like crocodile dung (rumoured to have been used by cleopatra herself), sea sponges, and bamboo pessaries.

  • gravy

    if #2 went extinct 1800 years ago, what is the flower in the picture??

  • Thulas

    @Asrnl you are trying to add ridicule to my point with your chicken question. I am talking about the interaction of energy here like when you touch fire and it burns you, that is an equal but opposite reaction. Everything is Energy and matter is made up of it too and so to understand what i said there you have to think deeper then the level you are currently thinking from.

    • Arsnl

      Sure….chicken roast energy

  • Arsnl

    "Physics is the study of matter and its correlations with space time. " So some guy talked about space time and you eavesdropped but thats not the definition of physics. No by a long shot;
    "atheists or sane people " one doesnt have any connection with the other. And you know it perfectly well.
    " launch a crusade and come and burn down your churches, temples and mosques " the crusades also burnt down christian orthodox churches. See you do care about religions, and religious people. You have a heart of gold

    "atheists understand and know"
    you dont understand what physics is, how can you build anything on that?

    "the big bang took place some 13.7 billion years ago. praise be to the big bang "
    Do you understand the difference between a theory and a theorem? Yes dude. BB is a just a freakin theory, you know the theory, that doesnt mean THATS WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED. it just means we really really hope that happened and we might have some proof for it. Oh btw a catholic priest came up with BB. How do you like them apples.

    "these first stars were fast living and through their nuclear synthesis created new heavier elements, with which to build the next generation of heavy element stars" huh what?

    " people responsible for mass genocide or mass destructions mum's had aborted them" That just doesnt make any sense. Imagine someone had aborted hugh heffner.
    In your infinite wisdom, write something with sense, not some mumbo jumbo

    Ramanujan looked for inspiration from his family god :))
    What a silly silly man. We both know you are so much smarter than him.
    I love it when atheist think that they have a superior intellect cuz they are atheists and when religious people think that they need to defend religion.

    • julesmaine1

      Dude, I am actually a physicist, a Geo-physicist to be exact.

      Please also read the context of what I wrote, I was being extremely sarcastic and facetious.

      If you do not understand how stellar evolution occurs that does not mean other people wont.

      If you are going to try and be pretentious I would suggest having knowledge with which to back it up and read items in the context in which they are written. Please provide me with empirical evidence of some all seeing being and not just a belief system and we can then continue this discussion. Until such time as you can do that, I really would give up defending your beliefs to atheists, you wont win arguments with an atheist as they will always ask you for proof which you cannot give.

      I dont deal in beliefs, I deal in empirical evidence of theory which is increasing our knowledge daily. I write this as you obviously do not understand what a theory is. It is not a best guess, it is backed up by empirical evidence, look that up then come back and try and make a distinction. Results back up all true theories, it is not what we think or what we wish would be true, a theory is something that is added to from the truths and from the proof that we already know. You add evidence to support the theory, this is the point that all people who do not understand what we do make the mistake.

      This is called the scientific method.

      Creationists are the worst for this as they call their mumbo jumbo a theory and yet they have no empirical evidence to back it up therefore, by definition, it cannot be a theory.

      • Arsnl

        Oh my freakin god. You are a physicist and you dont get wave-particle duality?
        One BB wasnt an explosion,furhermore "created new heavier elements, with which to build the next generation of heavy element stars" heavy element star? what is that? why would said heavy element star need heavy elements (tiny incredibly tiny minuscule heavy elements like carbon oxygen boron, iron) to form?
        Im sorry but this is your job and you do it poorly. And im an engineering student. How did you get your diploma btw?

        "I dont deal in beliefs, I deal in empirical evidence of theory which is increasing our knowledge daily."
        Bwahahahaha please i laughed too much today. Thank you man.

        • julesmaine1

          Where did I say I dont get wave particle duality? Read the post further down before making idiotic statements. What has Quantum Mechanics got to do with what I wrote? At the moment WPD is a concept trying to define matter, I didnt mention this in the above post.

          Again as for stellar evolution, please check out what that actually is, as a star burns through its life it creates heavier and heavier elements. When the star finally ends its life, depending on its relative size etc etc, the heavier elements are distributed around its stellar neighbourhood. When molecular clouds then start to collapse to form the next generation of stars they have these heavier elements. Here is a good start for you, although this really is a starting point and nothing more.

          As an engineering student shouldnt you really be dealing in empirical evidence?

          What would you term the big bang if not an explosion? It was a rapid expansion of particles from a hot and dense state, I suggest you read Alexander Friedmann if you are having trouble defining that rapid expansion.

          • Arsnl

            "2. The elementary particles behave both like particles and like waves. "
            BS. all matter has a wave associated to it. YOU SHOULD KNOW THIS.
            rapid expansion is again not an explosion. As a physicist you should know this.
            and where are the heavy stars you talk of? they ellude me

  • julesmaine1

    I think your mother kept the afterbirth and threw away the baby to be perfectly honest. You are obviously a troll, now go back to sitting under your bridge like a good troll.

  • oxycinna

    Wow, Mercury. Didn't see that coming as a possible birth control from the past. It's a good thing we don't use Mercury, or some/most of the items listed here anymore for Birth Control.

  • Thulas

    And a solid argument causes administrators to delete it (that i just learned now). My comment to mom424 that you just deleted was to show her that everyone deserves to live. Life is always Life it makes no difference what is defined as alive by humans and their limited scope of thinking. Even a corpse is alive, try looking at it using a powerful microscope and see if nothing is moving.

    • bluesman87

      Thulas you seem like the kindve guy who never ever had a blow job . I feel sorry for you .go well my friend .

      • oliveralbq

        @bluesman87; "Thulas you seem like the kindve guy who never ever had a blow job "

        ?? huh?
        he seems llike the kind of guy that gives blow jobs all the tim….ooohhhhh

        my mistake, you said never ever *had* a blow job

        sorry … carry on

  • Thulas

    nothing is as sweet as a solid argument, it makes people to shut up or start using fowl language.

    • fknairii

      Weren't you the one spouting off slurs about women being whores?
      You can't get mad at people who actually maintain a sense of intelligence for insulting your (diminutive) level of intelligence. It's not really as much of an insult as it is just a simple observation.

      Truth hurts, buddy.

  • michgirl

    Great list. It's amazing how many different ways women have went through to avoid pregnancy and how dangerous some of them were.

    btw…Where is brOck when you need him? After reading the intense debate going on we need something from him to lighten the mood. Hope he hasn't been chased away. This is the second day in a row without a brOck comment and that's just not like him!

  • Joshi

    I have met many a woman whose face was an excellent form of birth control.

    • General Tits Von Chodehoffen

      Whoever thumbs downed this has no sense of humor or is a really ugly girl.

    • fknairii


  • General Tits Von Chodehoffen

    Nice list!

  • bluesman87

    "Hey Pavros , have you ever tried to fuck your girlfriend in the other hole ? " -"No way Steffano are you crazy ?! Thats how they get pregnant!"

    • lalabhaiya


  • Um…

    Its surprising that in modern times, women have so many safe options to choose from (pills, condoms, diaphragms, etc) and yet quite a few people still walk around thinking douching with Cola will help.

    On the debate of abortion:
    I think the first step to being pro-life IS using contraceptives that prevent pregnancy, because if you can prevent the fetus/baby from coming into being, all your doing is fucking responsibly. If you prevent people access to contraceptives, all your doing is setting them up for more abortions (via doctor or coat hanger) or for a life of regret (too often have I seen my high school peers forced to drop out because of pregnancy). Thus being pro-life and anti-contraceptives really is counterproductive.

    The real solution: Sex-Ed (not just the "talk" but the whole 9-yards).

    • whtknt

      Yes, Sex education is the solution, but it won't happen. There are far too any parents who say "I want to handle that topic myself, when the time is right," but never do.

    • meg

      You are the first person to add something inteligent to the discussion. I am undecided on the abortion issue. I don't get it. It is so much easier to prevent a pregnancy than to terminate it.
      But honestly, I don't think ***Ed is the "be all" solution. My parents never had "the talk" with me, we didn't have a health class in school, and was surrounded by religion. I am from mexico, so the subject of *** was/is very taboo. Yet I knew the moment I decided I was ready to have ***, I was going to use a condom or the pill and I knew exactly where I could get them.
      So the people that don't use birth control, don't use it because they don't want to, not because they don't know it exists.

  • lalabhaiya

    amazing list. didn't know birth control has been in use since such early times. great idea for the list and nicely written.

  • Kairs

    Hmm for some reason I thought it would be a more physical list, you know, a DIY coat hanger style just obviously the ancient equivalent. I never knew there were ANY plants out there that were used for birth control.

  • lrigD

    Interesting list! I like seeing that women have always tried (whether with their husband's/partner's knowledge or not) to gain control over their own bodies. I like how nature sort of helped them with that :-)

    Plus, you know, if I'm ever out somewhere, accidentally pregnant, in need of a contraceptive or in need of a menstruation, I should remember this list ^^

    • Roxanne

      A word of warning about herbal abortifacients… They're incredibly, and I mean INCREDIBLY dangerous. Know why they induce a miscarriage? Because they're poisons. It's always best to seek medical help from a doctor, not a herbologist. Just because something is natural doesn't mean it isn't dangerous.

      I've heard though, parsley tea is good for inducing a late period (if you're not pregnant, of course). It's not dangerous either.

  • Northman

    Pretty sure they should have talked about having children before investing in a relationship. That way, said disagreement is easily solved: there are other fish in the sea.

  • just

    huh. i thought the chastity belt would be on here! :P

  • goofballreferee

    #1 Not having sex in the first place?

  • Peppercurls

    Excellent! Thanks for the tips!

  • Fuuko

    Still to this day, the #1 birth control is to NOT have sex at all .

  • Becky65



    Enter your comment here.



  • sarah

    where is the picture of mercury topic taken from? what is the name of the place?



  • Chandra Shekhar

    Can someone suggest , for contraception using the household things, found in kitchen.

  • HDPC

    If you like this, then you must see this:

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  • David

    nice infos but how real and effective are they

  • Dark

    oh fuck u guys you made this conversation so big…

  • 8a

    Very true but think of it this way less people meant less people to give the church donations… I think thats how it came about and possibly the church ministers always being stuck in a bible had no reason to comprehend any form of science, as most of “the unexplained” was “GODS WORK”

  • Kelly

    Being a child myself it makes me sad to think that someone would want to abort their child. If i was that baby that the person was thinking of aborting i would want the chance to live, i wouldn’t not want to live. I feel blessed that i was aloud to live and i love my mom for having me.

  • Perth Guy

    Another GOOD Birth Control is having a Face only a Mother could love…like me!…therefore No chicks are EVER Interested….hence NO Sex!…haha

  • janice

    interesting how many of the methods have potential toxic and/or fatal complications. food for thought, that the taking of a life can cost you your own

    also, people have been killing each other since the dawn of time, by a variety of different methods, some of which were very clever and even “natural.” doesn’t make it right!

  • regdwight

    My patients find the most effective method is to look at a picture of Michelle Obama just before bed.

  • Shri K.D.Mehta.

    I don’t have words for this Pictures and other collection of so many
    is wonderfully collected and given to people like us. thank you.please give
    us this type of knowledgeable things to us thank you.

  • Anindya RayChaudhuri


  • goutam


  • Spuriussmith

    We have been 10 different method to birth control.firstly we must aware for Population and secondly educated is Must.

  • Spuriussmith

    We have been 10 different method to birth control.firstly we must aware for Population and secondly educated is Must.

  • myghosthut

    thank god birth control was there, else we would be 10billion strong.

  • Shakia Nichols

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  • J

    Contraception is a sin. NFP however is permissible in that it still open to life.

    • J

      Even then, NFP isn’t contraception proper, and must SOLELY be employed for grave circumstances as taught by The Church.

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