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World Health. 1978 Aug-Sept; 16-19.Although no plant has yet been scientifically shown to have fertility-regulating effects in humans, peripheral evidence warrants an organized effort in this area. And although large numbers of people in the world use plants as drugs, most notably in China, at present the only plant principles found useful in humans for conditions relating to fertility regulation - the alkaloids sparteine and pachycarpine - cannot be used in a practical way. Perhaps the most interesting agent in plants which has been extensively studied in humans is m-xylohydroquinone, isolated from the common pea. Its antifertility activity was studied in Indian women, but found to be only 60% effective. A thorough reevaluation of this agent might prove useful. The Task Force on Indigenous Plants for Fertility Regulation at WHO has initiated a collaborative effort to conduct laboratory tests on plants alleged to have fertility-regulating properties. The testing procedures are complicated, and although it is too soon to determine results, the untapped potential for development of a plant-derived, safe and inexpensive fertility-regulating agent, is significant.