Nicholas Culpeper, in his Complete Herbal (1653), described over ninety common European plants that have the properties of an emmenagogue – a plant that brings on menstruation, often a euphemism for a plant that acts as an abortifacient. The Garden of Virtues names those ninety plants and collects together historical references to their particular ‘virtues’. Individual postings on particular plants will add further information on how these plants have been used by women.

Chenopodium vulvaria

Miss Efficient

Bitter melon is known as Miss Efficient in Nigeria for its certainty as an abortifacient. In Cameroon the seeds are used as a pessary. In…
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Miss Efficient

Momordica charantia, aka Miss Efficient. A Cameroon abortive pessary: 10 seeds are ground to a past and divided into three small balls using saliva. One…
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