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Reconciling truth and fact: Abortifacient herbs in a medicalized world

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  1. Are ancient practices in health and well-being recognized with scientific findings?
  2. The medical world's dependence on scientific experiments to validate itself.
  3. Herbalists specializing in women's health.
  4. Mechanism of action on fertility.
  5. Conclusion.

Today, we know everything. We not only know that the stars are pretty and move through the sky with the seasons, we know what they are made of and why they appear to move. We not only notice the soothing effects of the opium poppy, but have identified the neural circuitry involved in its effects on the brain. We not only see how different strains of plant tend to mix their attributes in the next generation, but can explain the exact action of chromosomes in the process of genetic inheritance. We have identified the essential parts in creating new life. And from this information, we know how to prevent new life, even end it.

[...] We will be liberated in a way that allows us to see further, deeper, clearer than we ever imagined, just by stepping out of the box and keeping our sensibilities we can finally start seeing the things behind the things, or within the things, or beside the things that we never cared to examine, let alone notice before. I think it is very important to know exactly what kind of monster we are dealing with, which is why I find it imperative that instead of fighting we come together and share our knowledge. [...]


[...] Around 421 BC Aristophanes joked in his play, Peace, that a woman would not become pregnant you add a dose of pennyroyal? (Riddle 1997). Aristophanes alludes to pennyroyal's power again in Lysistrata. Other accounts suggest that silphium, another herbal abortifacient and contraceptive, had such importance in Cyrenaica of the ancient world (Libya today) that it was used as a symbol on their currency (John Jencek 2006). Additional anthropological accounts detail herbal remedies that affect fertility the world over (Ember Ed. 2004). [...]


[...] In the following, I point to the rift that has grown between these two concepts and what I hope will be a site of a new copacetic relationship in the quest for comprehensive health care. The medical world relies heavily on new scientific experiments to validate itself and generally refuses the historical accounts of a drug or plant's efficacy. This assumed medical validity tends to be problematic when new drugs and treatments are touted as safe and generally applicable across situations. [...]

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