Michael Tierra L.Ac., O.M.D.
Traditionally, in India a barren relationship was considered a curse but too many children was also not recommended. The Rigveda states "A man with many children succumbs to miseries." One or two well cared for children is better than a larger family of neglected offspring. An interesting book entitled Ayurvedic Cures for common diseases by Dr. Bhawan Dash (publ. by Hind Pocket Books) dedicates an entire chapter to this subject and offers a number of intriguing non-poisonous natural contraceptive procedures used in India. Of course what comes to mind is either that these approaches are not working very well or that this is a country that most certainly would be intimately concerned with the issue of family planning and limiting the number of offspring. I'd like to pass along some of these in case any one would be interested. I have no direct knowledge or experience with these procedures but would certainly like to know whether they work.
A common technique is to place a piece of rock salt smeared with sesame oil in the vagina before coitus to prevent conception. After coitus a tampon consisting of rock salt and oil can be used as a contraceptive. Evidently, the rock salt acts as a spermicide. This procedure will have no adverse effect on either a woman's fertility or the menstrual cycle.
An oral contraceptive that produces sterility in males from the ancient classics involves taking powdered turmeric root mixed with goat's urine. This supposedly causes instant sterilization. If it works it might at least be more appealing to some than a vasectomy.
Old sugar candy taken orally with milk is described as preventing conception. Another method described in an ancient text is sugar-candy taken with rice-wash in the form of a linctus to produce sterility in a woman without lessening her passion. That's nice.
Again, especially for those who may be unsure what a linctus might be, we return to turmeric. One piece of the rhizome of turmeric can be taken daily for six days; three days during menses and three days after will produce sterility, yet the woman will continue to have a normal period.
A paste of white black pepper made with sugar water and taken for three days during menstruation is described to stop future menstruation.
Three-year-old ghee made from cow's milk taken for 15 days will make a woman sterile.
A powder of mustard seed, sandalwood and sugar taken in equal quantities mixed with rice-wash water is administered to make a woman sterile.
Many other preparations were given but they used ingredients that are not familiar to many people but you can try to find the book if you are interested.