Emmenagogue // Abortifacient

Ginger Powder

Non-chewable vitamin C


DISCLAIMER: I am not a health practitioner and the following information is not professional medical advice. Please use these remedies with a healthy dose of your own best judgment.

I believe that folks should have access to all options available to them regarding how to end or avoid pregnancy so that they are as well-equipped as possible to make informed choices. This blog entry is meant to supplement my earlier post about abortion clinics in Montreal. Described below are a few options one might try before deciding to seek an abortion or to continue with a pregnancy. Please share both of these posts with your friends and community if you find them helpful! For more information about contraceptives, please check out SexualityAndYou.ca.

Definitions (Merriam Webster):

  • Emmenagogue: an agent that promotes the menstrual discharge
  • Abortifacient: an agent (as a drug) that induces abortion

Sometimes shit happens (risky sex, broken condoms, missed contraceptive pills, etc) and one can miss their period and be concerned that they are/can get pregnant. If this happens, it is possible to concoct simple and cheap home remedies to bring on one’s period. I am listing a three abortifacients below, however, there are other options that are described in the zines I’ve recommended below. I’m basing these recommendations on the ones described in Wive’s Tales zine; the author of that zine notes that each of these remedies count as emmenagogues as well. The zine also recommends that if one uses an abortifacient, to avoid inserting anything into the vagina (penises, fingers, tampons, sex toys, taking baths) in order to avoid infection and notes that bleeding/spotting “up to a couple of weeks is normal. Your next period can be 3-10 weeks later than usual, but after that everything should be back to peachiness”.

  • Ground Ginger Powder: Put 1 1/2 tsp. of ginger powder into a mug and pour one cup of hot water over it. Stir it up and honey to help with the taste. Potential side effects are diarrhea and that it can burn your throat and belly a bit. Make sure to stir it every now while drinking as the ginger powder can settle at the bottom.
  • Vitamin C: Ingest 6000 mg of vitamin C each day for 5 days. This one is best taken before your next period is expected. This also can cause diarrhea and is not recommended if you have bladder issues. After risky sex, you can also insert one non-chewable vitamin C tablet into your vagina which works as a kind of spermicide (makes your vagina way acidic) immediately after your risky encounter.
  • Parsley: Steep 1 tbs. in one cup of hot water for 20 minutes and then drink. The WT zine recommends inserting a bunch of parsly in one’s vagina every 6 hours for 3 days, before missing your period. I’ve also heard of inserting a sprig of parsley into the opening of one’s cervix (the os) which acts as an irritant and will cause the bleeding. I would guess that this would work best before the next expected period as well. In order to insert the parsley, I would recommned that one use a speculum, a flashlight and a partner with washed hands to help. Here’s more on how to use a speculum to view the cervix.

Note: It can be helpful to record one’s menstrual cycle in an agenda/on a calendar/an on-line (ex: Google) calendar. This way one can become familiar with the length of one’s menstrual cycle and therefore possibly be more able to spot irregularities (like late periods, absence of a menstrual cycle) when they happen. Not everyone’s cycle is 28 days long, as is often suggested.

Important: For emergencies, dial 911. For non-emergencies and health-related questions, Quebec residents can dial 811, which is the nurse-run CLSC Info-Sante line.

Recommended Reading:

  • Hot Pants (zine): Originally produced by the now-defunct Montreal-based Blood Sisters, this is a lean and mean guide about DIY gynecology. There’s a bit of info on ShamelessMag.com about how to go about getting a copy, however one can get in touch with Head & Hands to review/photocopy the office copy.
  • Wive’s Tales (zine): A small write up can be found on ZineWiki. Also, the above mentioned remedies are based on instructions found in this zine. I believe that copies can be found here.

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