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No! Castor oil seeds are poisonous – there are better ways of preventing pregnancy

“You can make love a year and you will not get pregnant using this natural contraceptive method,” claims a December 2019 post on Facebook in Nigeria.

It reads: “Unlike other modern methods, this method not only is natural but also has no disadvantages. With this seed, you can make love every day without condoms and do not get pregnant. Just search for dried Ricinus communis fruits. In fruit, there are three seeds. For one year of contraception, simply take a seed and swallow it with water. If your partner takes two seeds, that means that for one month she can not get pregnant.”

Ricinus communis, or the castor oil plant, produces oil-rich seeds containing the poison ricin, which is extremely toxic. Chewing and eating castor oil seeds can be life-threatening.

Not medically proven

“It is not an orthodox medical practice and I am not familiar with the significance of the fruit to avoid pregnancy or serve as a contraceptive,” Adetunji Adeniji, a professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at Nigeria’s Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, told Africa Check.

“Contraceptives are medicines used to prevent pregnancy. There are appropriate medications meant for that purpose which are medically approved by medical agencies.”

Not a natural contraceptive

Abdulkarim Garba Mairiga, a professor of reproductive health at the University of Maiduguri in Nigeria, told Africa Check that castor oil seeds have no backing as a contraceptive by any established health agency.

“There are various natural contraceptive methods approved by all gynaecologists and all health agencies, including the World Health Organization,” he said.

“What we mean by 'natural contraception' is the use of natural signs and symptoms in the woman to control her fertility. Examples are woman's body temperature, cervical (vaginal) mucus discharge, menstrual cycles, the calendar method and its modifications. And of course not the use of herbs, roots, leaves or any preparations.

“For us, clinical practitioners, use of herbs (roots, stems, seeds etc) are not natural contraceptives but traditional contraceptives, which we consider ineffective in providing contraception. Dried Ricinus communis fruit is not a natural contraceptive and has not been approved for that purpose medically.”

Use a safe, effective contraceptive

There are a number of effective contraceptives that can be used to prevent pregnancy, including the pill, caps and diaphragms, patches, injections and implants.

And according to the World Health Organization, male and female condoms are the only devices that reduce the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, and prevent unintended pregnancy.

Don’t eat poisonous seeds. Visit a doctor or clinic to get safe, effective contraception.  – Jennifer Ojugbeli


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