A viral tweet that purports to list natural ingredients for birth control isn’t based on science and could be dangerous, an expert told BuzzFeed News.
“There’s no science or medicine to it at all,” Nathaniel DeNicola, a board-certified OB-GYN and assistant professor at George Washington University, said. “It’s hardly even worth diving into it because it’s so unsupported by science, but some of them are actually worth looking at because they can be dangerous.”
Here’s a closer look at the supposed remedies. The tweet itself has more than 14,000 likes.
Although some of the treatments may have a history in traditional medicine, none of them should be tried. And many of the plants listed can be very dangerous and toxic. For example, pennyroyal is used in pesticides, DeNicola said.
“Some of these things shouldn’t be consumed at all,” he added.
If people are excited at the idea of natural birth control, it may be due to a growing wariness of other options. The number of women using hormonal birth control methods has been dropping. Part of that is due to a desire to avoid side effects, but there are also a lot of nonhormonal options out there. DeNicola said they include Paragard, a nonhormonal intrauterine device, or even just condoms.
There’s also the fertility awareness method, also known as the rhythm method, although DeNicola cautioned that carries a higher risk of conceiving.
Although the tweet has gone viral, DeNicola said he was heartened to see how many people were calling out the bad information in its replies.
“Among the first 50 or so, virtually all of them are coming to the correct answer,” he said.
If you want to discuss birth control options, or you have menstrual issues, or you need help with anything to do with your reproductive system, the best thing is to go to a professional, DeNicola said.
“The doctors are there for you,” he said. “We’re always available for this kind of counseling.”