Please do not give up on contraceptives in favor of using fruits, vegetables and herbs.
We should not have to say it, but a tweet that offers a list of "home remedies" to use as a contraceptive has gone viral, with more than 12,000 "likes".
Most remedies are not effective in preventing you from becoming pregnant and some of them are even toxic.
Botanist James Wong tweeted: "As a botanist, I can tell you that this tweet with thousands of actions could lead to the death of women." It needs to be knocked down, fast. "
One particular advice that was particularly worrying was the use of the Pennroyal plant, because if you eat it or drink it in large quantities, it could make you very sick.
The chart says that Pennroyal promotes menstrual flow and helps initiate self-abortion. It is often prescribed with other herbs to prevent pregnancy. Boil 8 ounces of distilled or spring water.
Actually, too much pennroyal can cause liver damage, seizures and even death.
Other recommendations include papaya, figs and ginger.
It says: "Papaya is an effective remedy for birth control, you can eat papaya twice a day for 3 to 4 days after having an unsafe sexual relationship, it will help prevent pregnancy, and papaya seeds reduce the risk of sperm count in males. "
For figs, he adds: "It is one of the best methods of conception control, eating 2-3 dry pieces of figs after having unsafe sex, preventing pregnancy and treating many other irregularities in the body."
"Ginger promotes menstrual flow, drink 2 cups of strong ginger tea every day to postpone pregnancy."
The list also suggests injecting neem oil, from the neem tree, to the "uterine horns." We have no idea how you are expected to do it, but it is probably not a good idea to start trying to inject anything that has not been recommended by a health professional within your own body.
Many of the others on the list can cause side effects such as vomiting or irritation if you take too much.
Bethany Fawcett, sexual and contraceptive health nurse for the sexual health and well-being of Brook youth, says: "Herbs and fruits should never be used as contraceptives and some of those listed in this tweet can be toxic and dangerous" .
"We encourage all those seeking information and advice on contraception to access accurate and reliable sources provided by health professionals such as brook.org.uk or the NHS website."
Bethany added that there are many different types of contraceptives available and that it is best to talk to your GP if you do not like the current method you are using, instead of using the Internet.
"There are 15 contraceptive methods available, and what works best for you will depend on your body and your preferences.
"For those who do not want to use hormonal contraceptives, options include barrier methods such as condoms and internal condoms, diaphragms and caps, as well as the IUD (also known as the coil).
"The IUD is a long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) method and is one of the most effective methods available, it is also the most effective type of emergency contraception.
"It is important to remember that condoms are the only contraceptive method to protect against sexually transmitted infections and against unwanted pregnancy."
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