The aim of this review was to provide a comprehensive summary of medicinal plants used as antifertility agents in females throughout the world by various tribes and ethnic groups. We undertook an extensive bibliographic review by analyzing classical text books and peer reviewed papers, and further consulting well accepted worldwide scientific databases. We performed CENTRAL, Embase, and PubMed searches using terms such as “antifertility”, “anti-implantation”, “antiovulation”, and “antispermatogenic” activity of plants. Plants, including their parts and extracts, that have traditionally been used to facilitate antifertility have been considered as antifertility agents. In this paper, various medicinal plants have been reviewed for thorough studies such asPolygonum hydropiperLinn,Citrus limonum, Piper nigrumLinn,Juniperis communis, Achyanthes aspera, Azadirachta indica, Tinospora cordifolia,andBarleria prionitis.Many of these medicinal plants appear to act through an antizygotic mechanism. This review clearly demonstrates that it is time to expand upon experimental studies to source new potential chemical constituents from medicinal plants; plant extracts and their active constituents should be further investigated for their mechanisms. This review creates a solid foundation upon which to further study the efficacy of plants that are both currently used by women as traditional antifertility medicines, but also could be efficacious as an antifertility agent with additional research and study.
Conflicts of interest: The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest related to the subject matter or materials discussed in this article.
Corresponding author. Dr. Muhammad Daniyal, Faculty of Eastern Medicine and Surgery, Hamdard University, Karachi, Pakistan.