A University of California team found a new contraceptive method from traditional medicine. The researchers analyzed some popular methods used to prevent pregnancies. They have found two substances capable of blocking the fertilization, with no side effects on ovules and spermatozoa. With further studies, they could become an alternative to hormonal contraception.
Sperm mobility is one of the key factors in conception. Sperm swims along the entire female reproductive tract and near the ovule make a click forward. Thanks to this shot they gain strength to penetrate the oval barrier and fertilize it. To sneak forward they use calcium chains that open under the stimulus of female hormones. Calcium flows into the tail and gives it strength to increase the rhythm.
The Tripterygium wilfordii or "thunder grass" is a plant used as a contraceptive in traditional Chinese medicine. It contains a substance called pristimerina, which cancels sperm mobility. The pristimerine binds to the ABHD2 protein and prevents the opening of the calcium chains. This prevents sperm from making the final shot and penetrating the oval barrier. Lupeol, an anticancer agent of mango, has similar properties.
According to the study, the two substances could replace hormonal contraceptives. You could turn it into pills or put in vaginal patches and rings, as you do today with some hormones. They would gain more safe and healthy contraceptives than the current ones. For this reason, researchers are looking for methods of economic extraction and are assessing the effects on man in the long run.