Herbal abortion

Experts warn against ‘Herbal Abortion’ Remedies on TikTok

Some people on social media suggested that herbs could be used amid the confusion and fear surrounding abortion options in the country. Experts warn against being too cautious.

You might have thought that you could get an abortion by going to Whole Foods and buying a few pieces of parsley while scrolling through TikTok during the period after Roe v Wade was overturned by the Supreme Court in June.

TikTok users shared mythical-sounding herbs from Hogwarts for days as ingredients. They claimed they would cause miscarriage or induce menstruation and were known as herbal emmenagogues. The creators suggested that tea be made by boiling the herbs or using tablets or liquid form. One creator said, “Definitely don’t use these herbs to remain pregnant,” in a caption to a video that was later removed.

However, medical experts and trained herbalists warn that herbal abortions can be deadly and that there is no data to prove their effectiveness.

Aviva Romm, a woman’s health doctor and midwife, stated that “they are not reliably efficient” for 35 years. She also posted a href=”https://www.instagram.com/reel/CfgseYoMiV9/?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=” title=””>an Instagram video urging her followers to stop listening to what she says on TikTok. After witnessing the disturbing spread of misinformation online she posted an Instagram video urging her followers to not “listen to anything you hear on TikTok.”

Input MagazineRolling Stone reported on the TikTok trend in June. They noted that the hashtags #pennyroyaltea & #mugwort were viewed millions of times. The social media platform eventually removed many videos due to the reporting.

Misinformation propagation

Many herbs making the rounds these days can have side effects. The popularly-revered Pennyroyal plant, which has spiky purple flowers and is famous for its appearance in the Nirvana song. It has been used as an insect repellent for many years. However, when it is taken in concentrated oil form, it can be “highly poisonous,” according the National Institutes of Health. Even a single tablespoon can cause fainting and seizures, heart attack, liver injury, multiple organ failure, and even coma. In 1978, there was one case of death from an 18-year old woman who had taken one ounce of pennyroyal to induce abortion. If taken in high enough doses and in certain forms, parsleyblue cohosh and mugwort are also reported to be toxic.

A few studies have shown that about a third of women tried herbal abortions to end their pregnancies. However, it is not clear if those herbs actually worked. Researchers found that five of the 14 respondents to a one survey who attempted to induce an abortion had tried different herbal preparations, including parsley, black cohosh, and ginger root. One respondent had placed parsley leaves into her vagina. You could also try other methods such as taking supplemental vitamin, drinking vodka for three or four hours, and taking ibuprofen, antibiotics, and taking parsley leaves in your vagina. Nearly half of the 14 participants said they had stopped trying to conceive after having failed. A 2020 survey of over 7,000 women was published in JAMA Network Open. It revealed that 38 percent of those who reported having managed their abortions themselves had used herbs. Only a third of the nearly 7,000 respondents said they had succeeded in terminating their pregnancies.

Recent interest in alternative methods to medical abortion pills has skyrocketed. Experts said this is a sign of increased fear and confusion about how to deal with an unexpected pregnancy, as the issue regarding abortion access returns to state legislators. Google Trends data indicates that D.I.Y. searches are increasing. The searches for D.I.Y. have increased in recent weeks than in the five years since the Supreme Court draft decision was released in May.

Dr. Nisha verma, an OB/GYN and fellow at American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said that some people might choose unsafe abortion methods if they don’t have any other options or based on information from social media. It is crucial that people understand that social media posts are not reliable and can spread misinformation.

Dr. Romm stated that aside from potential side effects, women who try unproven herbal remedies can delay or lie to emergency physicians, which could put them at greater risk. She said, “The truth is, it won’t work all the time. So you’re still going have to get medical treatment.” But now, when it comes to getting the treatment, you have tried to inhale something that isn’t going to be understood or seen by the medical community. This increases your chance of not being treated as you wish.

The attraction of ancient remedies

Women have used herbs to control their reproduction for centuries before medical and surgical abortions were available. Historiographers have found references to herbal birth control methods and abortifacients in ancient texts from India, China, and across the African and Latin American continents.

Londa Schiebinger of Stanford University’s history of science, said that in Europe the “savin” tree, which is distinctly prickly, was the preferred abortifacient. “You can usually identify a midwife just by looking at the tree outside her home,” said Londa Schiebinger, a professor of history of science at Stanford University. Schiebinger’s research.

The Western world didn’t really crack down on abortion until the 15th Century. Historical records show that midwives who provided herbal reproductive care for witchcraft were accused and persecuted by authorities.

Even those who honor and respect the history of abortions caution against using them now. In a TikTok video, Leslie Rae, a herbalist, stated that “I don’t take away from the importance abortifacient plants and emergency contraceptive drugs because our ancestors did it.” She added that “when you go online and tell people you can take X,Y, and Z to end your pregnancy,’ what do you know about how to make that herb? Are you able to accurately dose it? Are you familiar with the parts of the plant that should be used?

She said, “TikTok witches & fake herbalists: Please stop giving advice about abortifacient plants to people.”

Furthermore, evidence of safety and efficacy should not be confused with historical use of a substance, Dr. Jen Gunter, an OB/GYN and author, stated. The lure of ancient remedies is based on the false notion that they are safe and time-tested because they are natural. She said that they are often viewed out of context and come from an era when understanding of the human body is more advanced than today.

Some proponents of pennyroyal are convinced that it is a valid remedy, as it was used by Hippocrates, an ancient Greek physician and considered the father of modern medicine. Dr. Gunter stated that Hippocrates believed that the uterus roamed the body.

This information can be used to map modern shipping routes.

Also, remember to stick with what scientists have thoroughly tested and researched when you are considering abortions or emergency contraceptives.

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