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View Diary: Should VA's Gov. and AG be charged as accessories? (14 comments)

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  •  "Some herbal stuff" (2+ / 0-)
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    Sunspots, Diana in NoVa

    Taken properly, at the right time, is no less safe or effective than RU486.  It just doesn't pay a tax to Big Pharma for having paid for clinical trials and FDA approval.

    Herbal abortifacients were well-known in ancient civilization; one, the herb silphium, was so widely-used that it was eventually rendered extinct by over-harvesting.  These drugs were only pushed into the shadows of ignorance and thus rendered unsafe by unfamiliarity and misuse, by laws passed for the specific purpose of enforcing women's powerlessness over their own fertility.  University-educated male physicians drove earlier practice-based female professionals out of business on pain of torture and execution in deliberate efforts to exert a monopoly over the practice (and profits) of medicine.  They then spent the next three centuries re-inventing gynecology, about which they naturally knew nothing at all.

    There is plenty of real knowledge in the world which is not stamped with the Scientific Seal Of Approval or available as a Certified Corporate Product.  We should be demanding that the laws charging women with felonies for taking control of their own bodies FOR THEMSELVES be eliminated, not whining about how they need access to overpriced "treatments" for a perfectly natural condition that most women have known how to manage since the Stone Age.

    •  Just curious, ... (0+ / 0-)

      how can evidence of abortions by (long-extinct) herbal means in ancient times be proven today?  There were no writings, so how could modern man have any way of knowing this was done?

      "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

      by Neuroptimalian on Wed May 22, 2013 at 07:47:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No writings? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Kingsmeg, Sunspots

        In Imperial Rome?  Silphium was a major trade item.  Pictures of the plant are carved into iconic images from the province of Libya, where it was grown.  And writings abound.

        Pennyroyal was a major element of the Mysteries of Eleusis, and is documented by numerous references and asides.  Even Aristophanes makes a snide joke about it.

        A substantial lay-quality book on the history of herbal abortifacients and contraceptives came out in the late 1980's and was well-received by the academic press.  I think I read the review in the Chronicle of Higher Education, but it might have been Science.  Silphium and pennyroyal, as well as the speculations concerning ergot, I'm directly familiar with from my research in Hellenic and Hellenistic religion.

        •  Ah, when I think of "ancient" times, ... (0+ / 0-)

          I think of many thousands of years ago, not a time period as recent as you meant.  I retract the question.

          "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

          by Neuroptimalian on Wed May 22, 2013 at 08:12:23 PM PDT

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        •  I owned a copy of that book, don't have it now (0+ / 0-)

          It was written by John someone...Contraception and Abortion in the Ancient World, I think.

          And you're right about the sylphium and pennyroyal.  Sylphium apparently was a very tall plant, a member of the fennel family.

          There are several plants that can be used for contraception.  However, the knowledge of those pretty much went up in smoke with the Witch-burnings of the middle ages and so-called renaissance.  Native American women also knew about the plants in this country that can be used for contraception and abortion.

          "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

          by Diana in NoVa on Thu May 23, 2013 at 04:52:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Oh . . . (1+ / 0-)
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        and WRT practices that aren't recorded in writing, there's always archaeology.  For instance, we know that certain tribes of the Kurgan culture in the Caspian region were probably  using a combination of ephedra and opium in shamanistic rites around 2,000 BCE, because we've found seeds and traces of the materials buried with high-status persons along with other items that have continuous association with priestly/shamanic practices.  We generally know when various cultures started drinking wine and beer because they usually buried a cup or bowlful of their favorite drink with Grandpa when he went to the Otherworld.  Sometimes we can even reconstruct the recipe, and then whip up a batch.  Hang around with historical reconstructionists and you'll get to sample a lot of . . . ummm
         . . . interesting concoctions.

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