Reliable remedy

Published: Saturday 15 November 2003

India is all set to gift another ayurvedic preparation to a market that is decidedly turning herbal -- this time in the form of a herbal contraceptive pill. Using the formula mentioned in an ancient medical text, Indian scientists are working towards developing a cheap and non-toxic birth control drug. Its ingredients will be drawn from two shrubs -- false pepper (Embelia ribes) and long pepper (Piper longum) -- that grow in the Himalayan foothills.

The drug's clinical trials on humans are to begin shortly, and it is expected to hit the market within two or three years. To be taken by women daily for three weeks in a month, the pill would work to inhibit ovulation. "This would be a great gift from India to the rest of the world," said an optimistic Ranjit Roy Chaudhury, president, Delhi Society for Promotion of Rational Use of Drugs.

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