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Carrot seed for contraception: a review.

Introduction

The seeds of Daucus carota L. (DC) have been described as an abortifacient, emmenagogue, contraceptive, and aphrodisiac in a variety of publications throughout European history. These documents also indicate use by women for over 2,000 years as a means to control fertility. (1,2) More recently, ethnobotanical investigations have documented the use of DC seed as a method of fertility control by women in India (3) and North American grassroots herbalists have documented its use for contraception. (4) Scientific investigations have begun to assess the efficacy of DC seed as an anti-fertility agent and indicate between 40-100% anti-implantation activity in rodents. (5) This paper aims to review the historical, traditional and scientific evidence in an attempt to identify the mechanisms of action and evaluate the efficacy of DC seed as an anti-fertility agent.

Methods

The following electronic databases were searched: Pubmed/Medline, Scopus, Web of Knowledge, Science Direct, AMED, CINAHL, EBSCO and Google Scholar. The search was conducted in May 2012 and search terms included "Daucus carota", "Queen Anne's Lace", "Wild Carrot" AND/OR "seed", "anti-fertility", "fertility", "contraceptive", and "hormone". Additional texts were included when referenced in aforementioned publications, as were a range of classic historical texts.

Botany

Daucus carota belongs to the family Apiaceae (Umbelliferae). Common names include wild carrot, Queen Anne's lace, and Gajar in Hindi. (6) Unlike the cultivated carrot, wild carrot has a small, white, fleshy taproot. The root can be eaten before the plant flowers. DC is a biennial herb with a branched stem rising 30-120 cm, leaves are finely divided, twice or thrice pinnate with upper leaves reduced in size; stems are rough with tiny hairs. (7,8) The white flowers are densely clustered in terminal umbels, some containing a central purple flower which is regarded in herbal lore as an indicator of medicinal quality. (9) The umbels almost completely flatten whilst in bloom but close up as the seeds ripen, to take on a nest-like appearance, giving rise to another common name, 'Bird's Nest' (Figure 1). The seeds are 2-4 mm long, oblong with bristly hairs, brown in colour and have an aromatic flavour.

DC is one of 22 species in the genus Daucus, ten of these are found in Europe. Wild carrot is sometimes referred to as the subspecies carota, whereas the carotene-rich, orange-rooted cultivated carrot is D. carota subsp. sativa (Hoffm.) Arcang., with some modern cultivars crossed with D. capillifolius Gilli. (10,11) It has been suggested that the carrot has been in cultivation for over 5,000 years, and it was possibly depicted in Egyptian temple drawings around 2000 BCE. DC was also discussed by ancient Greek medical writers in the first century CE. The ancestor of the cultivated carrot is native to present-day Afghanistan from where it spread to China in the 13-14th centuries and subsequently reached Europe by the 15 th century. It was later introduced to North America by European settlers. (8) The population of DC in North America grew from introduced weedy materials rather than escaped cultivated varieties. (12) DC is now found almost worldwide and is considered an environmental weed in many temperate areas, including parts of Australia and most North American states (Figure. 2).

Most of the literature does not clearly identify the taxonomic status of the plant material used, and it has therefore not been possible to discriminate between results obtained with "wild carrot" and cultivated forms of the plant. Most chemical and pharmacological work on carrot seed has undoubtedly been conducted using cultivated material, but information is not available to establish the degree to which this may differ from "wild carrot" seed in terms of chemistry and pharmacological activity.

Chemistry of carrot seed oil

The chemical composition of steam distilled carrot is complex and variable. Most published analyses have been of seed oil distilled from cultivated plants or from various subspecies of D. carota.

Steam distilled carrot seed oil typically contains significant amounts of the sesquiterpene alcohol carotol (<67%) and the monoterpenoid ester geranyl acetate (<25%) (Figure 3), with highly variable amounts of the monoterpenoids alpha-pinene (2-25%), sabinene (<32%) and linalool (<6%), and of the sesquiterpenoids P-bisabolene (<16%) and daucol (<10%) (13,14,15,16) Three flavones, luteolin, luteolin 3'-O-P-D-glucopyranoside and luteolin 4'-O-P-D-glucopyranoside have been isolated from a methanol extract of carrot seed. (17)

Historical evidence

A note on identity

Confusion and debate surround the correct identification of the carrot in the classical era and it is possible that varieties of carrot and the closely related parsnip were used interchangeably. The writings of Galen and Dioscorides suggest the actions of Staphilinos, Daucos and Pastinaca were so similar one could be used in place of another. These herbs are discussed as having both fertility and anti-fertility activity, yet these ancient works do not form consensus. (2)

Ancient Greece to the Middle Ages

A work attributed to Hippocrates (c. 460-370 BCE) appears to be the oldest reference to the antifertility activity of DC seed, which are described as an abortifacient. (1) Similar uses were later recorded by Pliny, Dioscorides, Scribonius Largus and Marcellius Empericus. According to Riddle (1), Pliny (Gaius Plinius Secundus 23 CE-79 CE, also known as Pliny the Elder) was against contraception and abortion and therefore stated that DC was an emmenagogue, so as not to transmit the lore relating to its anti-fertility action. Around the same time DC appeared in an abortion-inducing recipe by Scribonius Largus (47 CE), a Roman court physician. (18) DC was regarded as a strong emmenagogue by Constantine the African and was recorded in a work by Petrus Marancius later in the 13th century as an emmenagogue, but not as an abortifacient. (18)

The late Middle Ages and witch trials

The confusion regarding the origins, applications and identification of DC has not been helped by the great loss of herbal knowledge believed to have occurred in the Middle Ages. It is widely accepted that information regarding birth control was orally transmitted and therefore, as a consequence of the persecution of 'witches', who were often female midwives, herbalists and healers, much of this information was lost. (1)

Culpeper

Culpeper's Complete Herbal was first published in England in 1653 and was considered the herbal authority for the common people of its time. Culpeper noted that DC possessed both pro- and anti-fertility actions. According to Culpeper, the carrot root and seed work similarly to promote menstrual flow ("women's courses") and can be used to treat "the rising of the mother", which may refer to menstrual obstructions. Culpeper also suggested that the seed boiled in wine may help conception. Culpeper advised that DC is governed by Mercury, which is said to rule wind (colic and spasm). (19)

The nineteenth and early twentieth century

DC is mentioned in a number of publications during the 19th century, including those written by the American Eclectics and Physiomedicalists. However, some publications that include DC do not refer to either profertility or anti-fertility activity, (20,21,22,23,24) while other such publications contain no reference to DC at all. (25,26,27,28,29,30) King's American Dispensatory includes DC, stating that it may possess emmenagogue properties. (31) Culbreth (32) asserted that DC was indicated for amenorrhea, while others regarded it as a useful "deobstruent". (33,34) The recommended remedy to be taken when menstruation was absent was one third to one teaspoonful of bruised seeds, repeated as necessary. (33) A late nineteenth

century "pharmacographia" of the medicinal plants of India includes DC and states, "In India, the seeds are popularly supposed to cause abortion and are kept by all the native druggists". (35)

Ethnobotanical evidence

India

DC has been included in a number of Indian materia medica and medicinal plant texts. The taproot was considered an aphrodisiac, and a decoction of the leaves and seeds was used as a uterine stimulant during parturition. (36) Throughout India and specifically in the north-west state of Punjab and south-west state of Konkan the seeds were considered an aphrodisiac; in Punjab they were also given for uterine pain. (36,37,38) The seeds have also been listed for procuring abortion. (39,40)

Ethnobotanical investigation has reported that the seeds of DC, commonly known as Gajar in India, have been traditionally used as an abortifacient. (6) Tribal peoples of southern Rajasthan have used DC seed to regulate menstruation and in higher doses as an effective abortifacient. (41) Tribal people in the north-west Himalayas and central Uttar Pradesh also used Gajar seeds for female fertility control; here a decoction of seeds along with old jaggri (a sugar additive) was prepared as an abortifacient. (42)

North America

The modern use of DC seeds for female contraception has been documented in North America. Here some herbalists have described DC seeds as an 'implantation preventer', suggesting that oral administration of the seeds causes the endometrium to become inhospitable for the implantation of a fertilized embryo to occur. The suggested method of using DC seeds for the prevention of pregnancy is to chew one teaspoonful of seeds once daily for up to one week at the time of ovulation or immediately following unprotected intercourse during the fertile period of the menstrual cycle. (9,43) An anonymous gynaecological self-help publication lists DC seeds as an emmenagogue, an implantation inhibitor or abortifacient, and states that this activity may be attributed to oestrogenic activity and/or inhibition of progesterone synthesis. (44) Traditional evidence is regularly cited as informing dosage, viz. one teaspoonful chewed after intercourse or daily around ovulation. (44)

There have been a number of anecdotal reports of contemporary women in the Appalachian mountains and Watauga County, North Carolina, using DC seeds for their anti-fertility activity. One such report concerns a woman who allegedly took one tablespoon of DC seeds with water immediately following intercourse for over ten years, and only became pregnant once when she had been on holidays with her husband and left the DC seeds at home. (1)

Uncontrolled human studies

Two 'grass-roots studies' using DC seed as an anti-fertility agent have been reported by North American herbalists. These trials have not claimed to be scientific and lacked the rigour to be considered as such (e. g. they were uncontrolled and did not use a standardised intervention or a standardised dosage regimen), and they do not provide evidence for DC seed being an effective contraceptive in women. However these observational studies remain the only documented attempts at investigating the efficacy of DC seed as a sole means of contraception in a human population and they highlight the continued usage of this herb by contemporary women.

In the first of these studies, thirteen women charted their menstrual cycles including times of ovulation and instances of intercourse. (9) Also recorded was the dose and mode of administration of DC seeds. Reported dosage regimens for the study were: (1) one teaspoon of DC seeds chewed once daily, or (2) one teaspoon of DC seeds chewed once daily prior to, during and three days post ovulation, or (3) one teaspoon of DC seeds chewed once daily for seven days immediately following sexual intercourse. DC seeds were not always the sole form of contraception used by the participants. Three pregnancies were reported during the eleven month study.

A second study assessed DC seeds taken postcoitally. (4) Thirty women aged 18-50 years participated in the yearlong study. Women consumed alcoholic tincture made from seeds and flowers of DC, 15 drops of flower and 15 drops of seed extract taken after each occasion of intercourse, three times with doses eight hours apart. Women also kept a record of menstrual cycles and charted occasions of intercourse and DC usage. Five participants completed the entire year with no pregnancies reported. Nine pregnancies were recorded amongst the greater cohort, some occurring when DC was not used as indicated. No abnormalities were recorded in infants born to mothers who had used DC seeds.

Scientific investigations

The anti-fertility activity of DC seed has sparked interest in the scientific community, and a number of animal studies have been conducted in an attempt to elucidate its pharmacological actions and potential efficacy. The following section reviews current scientific understanding. It should be noted that almost certainly, all scientific studies have employed carrot seed obtained from cultivation.

Ex vivo studies

Ex vivo studies have been carried out to study the activity of DC seed extract on isolated tissues.

An early study isolated choline from the alcoholic extract of DC seeds, but it was unclear if this was a native constituent of the seed or an artefact formed during the multi-step isolation process. (45) Predictably, the isolated choline had a spasmodic effect on smooth muscles of rabbit, guinea pig ileum and dog trachea, an inhibitory effect on the force and rate of contraction of perfused frog's heart, and caused a hypotensive effect in the anaesthetised dog. In a later study, the effect of the methanolic fraction of a petrol (sic) extract of DC seed on the isolated rat uterus was evaluated, with both spontaneous and oxytocin evoked responses being inhibited. (46) Spontaneous activity was inhibited at 0.2 mg/mL, and a dose of 0.5 mg/mL significantly reduced responses evoked by low and high concentrations of oxytocin. Additionally, the extract caused a marked reduction of histamine-induced contractions in isolated guinea pig ileum. Inhibitory effect on the rat uterus was concluded to contribute to the anti-fertility activity of carrot seeds, though the mechanism was not elucidated.

In vivo studies

Animal studies of the anti-fertility activity of DC began in the 1970s, with scientists attempting to demonstrate efficacy and understand the actions of DC extract in rodents. The anti-fertility action of DC seed successively extracted with petroleum ether, 95% ethanol and water was tested on early pregnancy in albino rats. (47)

At 100 and 500 mg/kg body weight (BW), the ethanolic residue prevented implantation in 40% and 67% of animals, respectively. The corresponding figure was 60% for the aqueous residue at 100 mg/kg BW, but the number of animals in each group was low. Petroleum ether extract at 100mg/kg BW did not prevent implantation in any rats, whilst 500mg/kg inhibited implantation in 40% of animals. Abortifacient activity of the extract was also noted in some animals. When the aqueous residue was administered at 500 mg/kg BW, implantation was inhibited in only 20% rats, while the abortifacient activity increased to 60%. The decrease of implantation inhibition and increase in abortifacient activity at a higher dose of the aqueous residue was not explained and may have been a product of the small number of animals used. In follow-up research, the effects of different chromatographic fractions of DC seed on fertility in albino rats were investigated. (72) Rats were fed DC seed extracts in gum acacia for 1-7 days of pregnancy. Results showed that pregnancy was inhibited most effectively by chloroform and methanol fractions of the petroleum ether extract; of five rats fed 20 mg/kg BW orally for days 1-7, none littered. Another five rats were fed a chloroform+methanol (9:1 v/v) fraction of the alcoholic extract at 50 mg/kg BW with one rat littering three pups. The chloroform and ethyl acetate fractions of the aqueous extract showed similar results with one rat littering three pups (chloroform) and no littering in the ethyl acetate group. No abnormalities were detected in young born to treated mothers, tested up to one month of age.

Further research was undertaken by Garg (49) to assess the time course of anti-fertility activity in rats. The chloroform and methanol fractions of the petroleum ether extract and chloroform:methanol (9:1 v/v) fraction of the alcoholic DC seed extract significantly inhibited pregnancy on days 1-3 of pregnancy at 50 mg/kg BW. It was suggested that these fractions were anti-zygotic. It was also concluded that the chloroform fraction of the aqueous extract acts as a blastocystotoxic and/or anti-implantation agent, as pregnancy was inhibited in most rats when it was administered orally on days 4 and 5, or 6 and 7. The ethyl acetate fraction of the aqueous extract showed 80% anti-fertility activity when administered on days 1-3 and days 4-5 of pregnancy. Hence, this fraction may be an anti-zygotic and/or blastocystotoxic agent.

Another study assessing the efficacy of different extracts and their fractions was undertaken, demonstrating that alcoholic (500 mg/kg BW) and aqueous extracts (100 mg/kg BW) of DC seeds inhibited pregnancy in rats by 67% and 60%, respectively. (50) Interestingly, anti-fertility activity increased to 80% when rats were administered 50 mg/kg BW of the chloroform-methanolic (9:1 v/v) fraction of the alcoholic extract. At the higher dose of 100 mg/kg BW the chloroform and ethyl acetate fractions of the aqueous extract showed 80% and 100% anti-fertility activity, respectively. The chloroform and methanol fractions of the petroleum ether extract (100mg/kg BW) demonstrated 100% efficacy, however the number of animals in each experimental group was low (5-10). Complete anti-implantation activity was found for the chlorofom and methanol fractions of a petroleum ether extract at 20 mg/kg BW. (51)

The (presumably steam distilled) oil of DC seed had 40% anti-implantation activity when administered 1-7 days post-coitally in rats at 500 mg/kg BW. (51) The volatile oil of DC seeds was also found to terminate pregnancy in mice and rats, with an [ED.sub.50] of 2.9 mL/kg BW in mice for the terpenoid fraction administered subcutaneously. The peripheral plasma concentration of progesterone in pregnant rats decreased significantly 24 and 48 hours after subcutaneous injection, suggesting the anti-fertility activity may be related to the inhibition of progesterone. (52)

An alcoholic extract of DC seed was evaluated for oestrogenicity and anti-implantation effects in mice. The extract completely inhibited implantation when given orally at doses of 80 or 120 mg/mouse 4-6 days post-coitally, whereas when administered 8 to 10 days post-coitally pregnancy remained unaffected. (53) DC seed extract at doses of 60 and 120 mg/mouse caused a significant (p<0.001) increase in uterine weight of ovariectomised mice, indicative of oestrogenic activity, but this effect was very weak compared with that of oestradiol. Conversely, when administered concurrently with the hormone, the DC seed extract significantly inhibited the uterotrophic effect of estradiol and thus exhibited anti-oestrogenic activity, likely via competitive inhibition at the oestrogen receptor.

A study of the anti-ovulatory activity of an alcohol extract of DC seeds in rabbits showed a 40% inhibition in ovulation with 100 mg/kg BW orally once daily for three days. (54) Ovulation was stimulated using a 0.4% solution of cupric acetate i.v. A petroleum ether extract of carrot seeds (0.2-0.8 mL per 100 g BW) administered subcutaneously on days 7-13 of pregnancy caused abortion in most rats, with profuse vaginal bleeding within three days. Uterine and ovarian weight was considerably reduced, and adrenal weight significantly increased, although it was difficult to ascertain whether adrenal hypertrophy was caused by stress, toxicity or weak oestrogenic effect. (55)

Another study evaluating the abortifacient effect of DC seed extract found that pregnancy was terminated in rats subcutaneously administered petroleum ether extract of DC at 0.2 mL/100 g BW from day 7 of pregnancy onwards. (56) The same study found that progesterone administered at 4-6 mg/100 g BW maintained pregnancy in 82-89% of rats when given alongside the DC extract on days 7-19 of pregnancy. Progesterone treatment also increased ovarian and uterine weight that had decreased with DC treatment. Adrenal glands hypertrophied with both DC and progesterone treatment, though this may have been an indicator of stress.

The ability of progesterone to maintain implantation in rats treated with DC seed extract has been evaluated further. A subcutaneous injection of petroleum ether extract of DC seeds 0.6 mL/100 mg BW in rats from day 1-7 of pregnancy inhibited implantation, and 2-8 mg/100 g BW of progesterone on the same days was found to reverse this effect. (57) A significant reduction in the uterine weight and significant increase in the adrenal weight was observed in rats administered the DC seed extract. These results concur with those found previously and support the hypothesis that the anti-implantation activity of DC seed extract could be due to either gonadotrophin inhibition affecting ovarian steroidogenesis or to a progesterone-oestrogen imbalance.

A study was conducted to further evaluate the postcoital contraceptive activity of DC seed extract and assess the mode of action. (58) An ethanolic extract of DC seed was administered intramuscularly to rats for three consecutive days post coitus at dosages of 50-250 mg/kg BW. At a lower dose (50 mg/kg BW), the extract produced an anti-oestrogenic effect, inhibiting implantation with cessation of the oestrous cycle and continuous diestrus, suggesting secretion of oestrogen from the ovary was not occurring. At a higher dose (250 mg/kg BW administered on day 14-16 post-coitus), the extract had oestrogenic activity, prolonging the oestrous phase and causing foetal resorption (89% by day 20). At 100-250 mg/kg BW the extract caused a dose-dependent decrease in myometrial and endometrial mast cell populations. The author suggested this disruption of mast cells may have been associated with increased release of histamine, which may in turn have disrupted the luminal epithelium and attachment of the embryo, causing rejection of the foetus.

Another potential mechanism for the anti-fertility activity of DC seeds emerged from a study that found that in mice, a DC seed petroleum ether extract and a fatty acid fraction thereof (both injected intraperitoneally) significantly lowered levels of two key enzymes involved in ovarian steroidogenesis, 3-[beta]-hydroxy steroid dehydrogenase and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase. (59) This study also found that both the extract and the fatty acid fraction arrested the oestrous cycle; the extract at 10 and 3 mg/kg BW produced this effect after six days of treatment, while the fatty acid fraction (3 mg/kg BW) did so after just two days. Both treatments significantly reduced the weight of the ovaries. Of five chromatographic fractions of the extract, only the fatty acid fraction was active; hence it was concluded that the activity of the petroleum ether extract resided in this fraction.

More recently, a study investigating the anti-fertility activity of an aqueous extract and aqueous suspension of DC seed powder administered orally to female mice and rats revealed a significant disruption to the oestrous cycle in both groups of animals, resulting in a continuous dioestrous phase. (60) This study also found an accumulation of cholesterol and ascorbic acid in the ovaries, suggestive of hypofunctioning of the steroidogenic activity of the ovary. Simultaneously, a considerable reduction in enzymatic activity of 3-[beta]-hydroxy steroid dehydrogenase and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase was found, suggesting this as the possible mechanism for anti*fertility activity. After withdrawal of treatment, regular oestrous cycle returned from day 10 post treatment, and animals showed no abnormalities in hepato-renal function. This study did employ various chemicals during the extraction procedures, but failed to adequately control for any potential effects of these chemicals.

Safety and toxicology

Inadequate evidence exists regarding the safety of long-term administration of DC seed by women or children born to those women. However, anecdotal evidence indicates conception is possible following a ten-year usage of DC seed for contraception but does not provide information about potential health impacts on mother or child. (18) In one study no abnormalities were detected in pups born to rats orally administered DC seed extract during days 1-7 of pregnancy, with testing up to one month of age. (48) Ethnobotanical evidence reports the "healthy pregnancy and healthy baby" in the case of a woman, who stopped taking DC seed in order to conceive. (9) The duration and dosage regime of seeds was not recorded, neither was the time between ceased usage of carrot seeds and subsequent conception, nor was there follow-up data relating to the health of women or children.

At present there is clearly inadequate information about the safety and potential toxicity of DC seed, and until further information is available, DC seed should not be used during pregnancy.

Discussion

The scientific evidence relating to the anti-fertility activity of DC seed reviewed above gives rise to three potential, not mutually exclusive, modes of action. They are discussed in more detail below.

Disruption of antioxidant protection

Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) was significantly inhibited in the ovaries of mice treated with DC seed extracts. (59,60) G6PD is a cytoprotective enzyme that protects the embryo from oxidative stress and DNA damage. G6PD plays a role in the hexose monophosphate shunt (HMS) pathway, which regenerates nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH). NADPH is essential for maintaining glutathione, required for detoxification of reactive free radicals and lipid hydroperoxides. Ribose is also produced by the HMS and is relevant for the synthesis of nucleotides used in RNA and DNA replication, and hence cell division and DNA repair. (61) As G6PD is essential for normal development of the embryo, the inhibition of this critically important enzyme by DC seed may result in the blastocyst not being adequately protected from oxidative stress, with negative ramifications for RNA and DNA replication. Under these circumstances the blastocyst may not survive.

Anti-progestogenic activity

Progesterone is necessary for the development and growth of the embryo, and inhibition of this hormone may contribute to the anti-fertility activity of DC seed. The enzyme 3[beta]-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3fiHSD) is required for the production of steroid hormones and is responsible for the conversion of pregnenolone to progesterone. (62,63) Two studies have found DC seed extract to significantly inhibit 3j#-HSD in the ovaries of treated mice. (59,60) These findings suggest that ovarian progesterone production may be impaired as a result of DC seed administration.

Significant lowering of progesterone levels and abortion were seen in rats following subcutaneous injection of DC seed volatile oil. (52) However, co-administration of megestrol acetate, a potent progesterone receptor agonist, reversed the abortifacient effect. Similarly, Kaliwal & Ahamed (57) found that co-administration of progesterone reversed the anti-implantation effect of DC seed extract in rats. These results strongly suggest that the anti-fertility effect of DC seed is at least partly due to its antiprogestogenic activity.

Effect on oestrous cycle

Treatment of ovariectomized mice and rats with DC seed preparations has shown a significant increase in uterine weight. (53,58) Since endogenous oestrogen is not present in ovariectomized animals, this is suggestive of estrogenic activity of DC seed. However, in comparison with oestradiol, DC seed extract was only very mildly oestrogenic, and the extract exhibited anti-oestrogenic properties when co-administered with estradiol. (53) These results suggest that DC seed extract acts as a competitive inhibitor of oestrogen binding to oestrogen receptors. Lower doses of DC seed extract (3-100 mg/kg BW) arrested the oestrous cycle and prolonged diestrus, while higher doses (150-250 mg/kg BW) prolonged the oestrous stage of the cycle. (58-59-60) Bhatnagar (58) found that the effects of lower doses were consistent with antioestrogenic effects resulting in anti-implantation effects, while higher doses produced an oestrogenic response resulting in abortifacient activity.

These results demonstrate that DC seed affects the oestrous cycle in rodents, likely through interaction with oestrogen receptors. Whether this interaction results in an oestrogenic or anti-oestrogenic response may depend on the endogenous oestrogen status and the dose of DC seed preparation.

Conclusion

Due to the great loss of oral herbal traditions, knowledge about fertility herbs and their applications has diminished. Historical and ethnobotanical evidence makes an essential contribution to multi-disciplinary research which broadens our understanding and appreciation of medicinal plants, and can offer clues to their therapeutic action.

Carrot seed has an extensive history of use as an anti-fertility agent, but further research is required to confirm and evaluate this activity in humans. Current evidence, based on rodent studies, suggests that the anti-fertility action of DC seed may be due to anti-progestogenic activity, disruption of the oestrous cycle, and/or disruption of antioxidant protection of the blastocyst. Further research is needed to elucidate the mechanism of action and identify the compound(s) responsible.

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Jansen, Gabrielle Claire [1,2] and Wohlmuth, Hans [3,4]

[1] School of Health and Human Sciences, Southern Cross University, Llsmore NSW 2480, Australia.

[2] Goulds Naturopathica, 73 Liverpool Street, Hobart TAS 7000, Australia.

[3] Division of Research, Southern Cross University, Lismore NSW 2480, Australia.

[4] Integria Healthcare, 8 Clunies Ross Court, Eight Mile Plains QLD 4113, Australia. Gabrielle Jansen

Email: gabrielleclairejansen@gmail.com
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