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Emmenagogues (also spelled emmenagogs) are herbs which stimulate blood flow in the pelvic area and uterus; some stimulate menstruation. Women use emmenagogues to stimulate menstrual flow, when menstruation is absent for reasons other than pregnancy, such as hormonal disorders or conditions like oligomenorrhea (light menses).

According to Riddle,[1][page needed] these herbs were also used to assist women whose menstruation was "delayed", for the reason that they had conceived. There are a large number of substances which can act as emmenagogues. Many, such as Mentha pulegium, European pennyroyal, or Tansy, may, as a tea, bring on menses, but if taken later in pregnancy, in strong or concentrated doses, such as pennyroyal or tansy oil, pose serious medical hazards including organ damage or incomplete abortions.[2][3] Rue (Ruta graveolens) and Peganum harmala are other commonly available emmenagogues which can result in serious harm.[4]


  1. ^ John M. Riddle (June 30, 1997). Eve's Herbs: A History of Contraception and Abortion in the West (hardcover) (1st ed.). Harvard University Press. p. 352. ISBN 978-0674270244. Retrieved May 8, 2022. In Haiti and Jamaica sage is taken to stimulate menstruation. The technical term for such an agent is emmenagogue.
  2. ^ "LiverTox: Clinical and Research Information on Drug-Induced Liver Injury [Internet]". nih.gov. National Institute of Health. March 28, 2022. Retrieved May 9, 2022. Pennyroyal is an herbal extract or oil derived from leaves of the plant in the mint genus (Mentha pulegium) that was used in the past as an insect repellent and an abortifacient. When taken by mouth, pennyroyal oil is highly toxic and has been linked to several instances of toxic liver injury and death.
  3. ^ "Tansy - Uses, Side Effects, and More". Webmd.com. Retrieved May 9, 2022.
  4. ^ Joseph Mosquera, M.D. (March 16, 2012). "Herbal danger: You'll rue taking rue". consumerreport.com. Consumer Reports. Retrieved May 9, 2022.

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