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Bulletin of the World Health Organization. 1978; 56(3):343-52.The WHO Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction has established a 6-center program to investigate new fertility regulating agents from plants for use in humans. Establishment of the project was preceded by a comprehensive search of the literature, including the following sources: 1) articles on medical botany; 2) reports of testing crude plant extracts for fertility regulating purposes; 3) reports of in vitro effects of plant extracts; and 4) reports of a limited number of experimental studies in human subjects. The limitations of these sources of data are discussed. Information on 3000 plants was collected and computerized, using a weighting system, in order to assign priorities on the plant substances most promising for further study. The 6 centers will then procede to initiate pharmacological and chemical studies on the priority substances. Both male and female antifertility agents are included in the study. (Summary in FRE)
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.