Contraceptive seeds used within Ayurveda, India, 1970-1981

Made:
1970-1981 in India

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Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Glass bottle of Abrus Precatorius seeds, used as a contraceptive in India, 1970-1981

The red and black seed ‘Abrus precatorius’ is commonly known by several names within the Ayurvedic medical tradition. These include ‘crab’s eye’ and ‘rosary peas’. The seed has several applications. It is an aphrodisiac, a contraceptive and stimulates an abortion. The plant grows wild in India. It is said to be highly potent. One dose reputedly gives contraceptive cover for over a year. The seeds can be boiled with water or milk. They are drunk to release their aphrodisiac qualities or eaten whole to provide contraceptive protection.

Biomedical researchers have become interested in testing for the chemically active components of traditional remedies. These seeds were donated by the Department of Pharmacy at the University of Nottingham.

Details

Category:
Materia Medica & Pharmacology
Object Number:
1981-1583 Pt2
Materials:
bottle, glass, screw cap, plastic and seed
type:
herbal medicine
taxonomy:
  • drug
  • drug
credit:
Gift of Nottingham University (Pharmacy Dept.)