History of Queen Anne’s Lace as a contraceptive

posted in: Garden of Virtues | 0

In the summer of 2019 I collected wild carrot seed from waste ground and street verges within a one kilometre radius around my house in West Flanders and from the gardens of wild flowers planted in the city of Aalst by its head gardener Bart Backaert. The ripe seed heads are easy to identify as they turn inwards to take on the shape of a little bird nest. My intention was to see how much seed I would need to collect if I was to have a supply of the natural contraceptive, for one woman, for one year. I collected the seed heads on the stalk and bound them into bunches with the idea that this would make them easier to store and, later, to thresh the seeds loose. In their fresh state the bunches reminded me of bouquets and so I photographed them as bridal bouquets with the thought that they would make / have made wise gifts to a woman entering into marriage. I thought of them as a gift of knowledge between women, from an older woman to a younger woman.

There are numerous historical references to wild carrot seed as an anti-fertility agent. In works in the Hippocratic Corpus, Pliny the Elder, Dioscorides, Scibonius Largus, and Constantine the African, wild carrot seed is described as an abortifacient, emmenagogue or contraceptive. For a review of references and studies both historical and contemporary read the article by Gabrielle Jansen and Hans Wohlmuth (below).

For a grass roots study by women who have used wild carrot seed as a natural contraception for many years, see Wise Woman Healing Ways blog of Robin Rose Bennett .