The global contraceptive market today worth almost around $17 billion. But this wasn’t the case centuries ago. Condoms, pills, IUD’s were not even in existence back then. During ancient times people used methods that might seem very bizarre when compared to the present modern age contraceptives. Let’s have a look at some of the most bizarre ancient birth control methods that will surely leave your head dizzy.
1. Diaphragms Made Out Of Crocodile Poo- The ancient Egyptians were pretty cool ancient humans they had a solution of their own for every problem they faced during the medieval time. Probably they were the first ones to find out a method for birth control. They kind of figured it out that in order to stop the sperms to reach the egg they need some sort of blockage down there. But still the facilities and resources that time were very limited so they used what they had with them and used it in the best possible way. Egyptians used crocodile poop mixed with honey as a sperm barrier. There is also a scientific reason behind it, that the crocodile poop is alkaline in nature which makes it an effective spermicide.
2. Mercury- Though nowadays mercury is considered as a toxic metal which is extremely harmful for the body and which may lead to several serious ailments, was once considered as an effective method for birth control. In the ancient China in order to prevent pregnancy women were advised to drink hot mercury. And it did prevent pregnancy, but had a few small side effects like kidney failure, brain damage and death which were definitely not the concern at that point of time.
3. Diaphragms Made Of Gold And Silver- Diaphragms doesn’t sound that bizarre. But diaphragms made out of gold and silver is definitely not something that you would want to stick up into your vagina. This method was very common to the richer cult of the society and it was effective to a certain level but it like all other ancient birth control method was not that practical. There were several risks and side effects associated with the use of these, such as toxic shock syndrome, infection, unusual discharge, odor and as well as pregnancy, since the protection provided by these was not 100% effective.
4. Animal Intestines- We must admit that our ancestors were pretty amazing at dealing with problems in the most innovative and disgusting ways. During the old age animal intestines were used as natural condom. The oldest condom known to mankind was made from pig’s intestine that came with a user manual suggesting to soak the condom in warm milk before using it.
5. Lemons- Use of lemons as one of the birth control method came into existence in the 1700s. It would have been such a relief for women who were thrusting up weird metal things up their vagina. Lemons sound so much better when compared to them. This method involved either shoving up half a lemon up into your vagina or placing a cotton soaked in lemon juice in there. When they came up with this idea they probably did it because of the shape of the lemon and aware of the fact that the acidic nature of the lemon kills the sperms thus prohibiting pregnancy.
6. Coca Cola Douche- Not all horrendous ideas date back to the 18th and 19th century, in the 1950’s an idea of douching vagina with coca cola became extremely popular. Instead of taking a morning pill women would use coca cola to wash their vagina post sex. They developed this theory that the carbonic acid present in the coca cola would kill the sperms and the sugar kind of explodes the sperm cells. The women used a well shaken up bottle of coke so as to make the drink flow up into their vagina, making it clean and sperm free.
7. Cotton- Actually it was not just cotton that was used to prevent pregnancy. Ancient ingredients such as ground dates, acacia tree bark, and honey mixed together into a paste was applied to seed wool and then it was placed in the vagina. It was actually the other ingredients other than the cotton that worked as contraceptive. The acacia fermented to release lactic acid, a well-known spermicide and the cotton was used as a physical barrier. Women in the ancient American slavery days used to chew on the bark of cotton root which prevents pregnancy. Cotton seed bark contains enzymes that obstruct with the corpus luteum, the hole left in the ovary when the ovulation occurs. The corpus luteum is responsible for secreting progesterone which prepares the uterus for the implantation of the embryo. By obstructing the actions of corpus luteum, the cotton root bark stops the production of progesterone thus putting a halt at pregnancy.
8. Papaya- In south Asia and Southeast Asia, unripe papaya was popularly used to prevent and terminate pregnancy. Unripe papaya contains photochemicals that interfere with the progesterone that helps in terminating the pregnancy. The seeds of the fruit act as an effective male contraceptive. If consumed on a daily basis the seeds of papaya can bring down the sperm count to zero and is absolutely safe for long term usage. But the good thing was that the effect of these seed was reversible. Once the man stops consuming the seeds, the sperm count returns back to its normal count.
9. Queen Anne’s Lace- Also known as wild carrot, Queen Anne’s lace and its seeds have been long used as an effective contraceptive. The seeds prohibited progesterone synthesis, disturbing implantation and are very effective as an emergency contraception when consumed within eight hours of exposure to sperms. It may or may not have little side effects like constipation. The only drawback of this plant is the deceivingly similar looking but possibly deadly poison hemlock and water hemlock.