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Exploring Alternative Methods of Birth Control

by Nondace GarrettPEP Young Women's Leadership Council

When I think about self-care many elements that are crucial to my health come to mind - working out, eating right, ensuring I have ample relaxation and alone time, etc. Another extremely important element in my life is preventing pregnancy. As a young woman in my 20's, it's never something that is too far from mind.

I had the opportunity to attend a workshop on herbal contraception at this year's Civil Liberties and Public Policy conference - "From Abortion Rights to Social Justice". This workshop appealed to me particularly because I have been a consistent user of the "pill" for almost a decade. Throughout these years, I have always reacted adversely to the hormones - from sweating to weight gain to mood swings, no matter what brand I've tried, they all have had the same effect to varying degrees. I know that the pill is not the only form of contraception available but since I have relied on this one method for such a long time, I've become dependent on it.

So that's why I was excited to attend this workshop. I hoped to find another method that would work for me - one that I could ingest to provide the security I need without the negative side effects. The workshop was about a plant called wild carrot. It grows in dry open fields and can be found pretty much throughout the U.S. It's easy to harvest and relatively inexpensive to purchase. The seeds can be chewed or a tincture can be made.

The theory behind the plant's effectiveness is that when taken properly it will trigger your brain to release a large amount of progesterone, which confuses the body thus creating an inhospitable environment for an embryo, which blocks implantation. What's even more interesting is depending on where a woman takes wild carrot in her cycle; it can be used as a contraceptive or a fertility enhancer.

Part of what keeps me sane is the knowledge that I am doing everything in my power to prevent an unintended pregnancy. So at this point in my life, I'm not quite ready to give up the sense of security the pill provides me - but I intend to keep learning about alternatives, especially ones that do not pump excessive hormones into the body. I will be ecstatic the day I no longer have to take that little pill every day.

For more information about using wild carrot, please visit

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