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Sun shines on dandelions standing on a meadow in Duesseldorf, western Germany, on May 9, 2017. (MARTIN GERTEN/AFP/Getty Images)

‘Molecular condoms’

Could dandelions hold the secret to a new form of birth control?

May 22, 2017

Researchers believe they may have discovered a new form of birth control in the molecules of plants such as aloe and dandelions. Scientists at U.C. Berkeley found that molecules found in those plants could function as “molecular condoms,” by weakening sperm tails and therefore preventing the meeting of egg and sperm. If developed into an actual medicine, this could be great news for women. A birth control drug developed from such components would not involve any hormones and could eliminate some of the current pills’ nastier side effects. Another benefit would be that a potential plant-based contraceptive could be used as an emergency contraceptive after sex. “Because these two plant compounds block fertilization at very, very low concentrations — about 10 times lower than levels of levonorgestrel in Plan B — they could be a new generation of emergency contraceptive,” Polina Lishko, an assistant professor of molecular and cell biology, said in an official statement. Whether this plant-based plan B will be available in the near future remains to be seen: clinical trials still need to prove whether this works outside of a laboratory, and the process of extracting the chemicals from the plants could be extremely expensive.

Read the full story at The New York Post.


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