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J Toxicol Clin Toxicol. 2003;41(3):235-9.

Herbal infusions used for induced abortion.

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  • 1Toxicology Department, Clinical Hospital, Faculty of Medicine, Montevideo, Uruguay.

Abstract

Plants and herbs have been used to induce abortions but there is very little published information describing the commonly used ones. The purpose of this report is to describe the herbal products used to induce abortions, and to enhance awareness and understanding of their toxic effects. A descriptive retrospective survey was conducted on the calls received by the Montevideo Poison Centre between 1986 and 1999 concerning the ingestion of herbal infusions with abortive intent. A total of 86 cases involving 30 different plant species were identified. The species most frequently involved were ruda (Ruta chalepensis/graveolens), cola de quirquincho (Lycopodium saururus), parsley (Petroselinum hortense), and an over-the-counter herbal product named Carachipita. The components of Carachipita are pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium), yerba de la perdiz (Margiricarpus pinnatus), oregano (Origanum vulgare), and guaycuri (Statice brasiliensis). Abortion occurred in 23 cases after the ingestion of parsley, ruda, Carachipita, celery, Cedron, francisco alvarez, floripon, espina colorada. Out of the 23 cases, 15 involved the only the ingestion of plants, 4 cases used injected drugs (presumably hormones), and in 4 cases there was associated self-inflicted instrumental manipulation. Multiple organ system failure occurred in those patients who had ingested ruda (alone or in combination with parsley or fennel), Carachipita, arnica, or bardana. Deaths occurred in one case of Carachipita ingestion and in 4 cases of ruda ingestion (2 cases of ruda alone, 2 cases of ruda with parsley and fennel). Self-inflicted instrumental manipulations were found in 4 of the patients with multiple organ system failure and in one of those who died. The results of this report are not conclusive, but it appears that the ingestion of plants to induce abortion involves the risk of severe morbidity and mortality.

PMID:
12807304
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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