An Herbal Contraceptive For Men
On this date in 1988, Chinese scientists announced that they had discovered an herbal male contraceptive. Extracts of the plant Tripterygium wilfordii (known as Lei Gong Teng, Thunder God Vine or three-wing nut in China) had actually been used in China for years, first as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis and skin disorders, then as a male contraceptive. In addition, Chinese herbalists knew it as a natural remedy for fever, edema and carbuncles and as an insecticide. Lei Gong Teng is a perennial vine grown in southern China, which contains various components that interfere with natural sperm production, mainly by decreasing sperm motility. Scientists are still studying the herb to determine its safety.
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