NRDC Develops Coital Vaginal Contraceptives Based on Neem Oil

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The Hyderabad-based National Research Development Corporation (NRDC) has successfully developed two variants of coital vaginal contraceptives from neem oil; following the findings of effective contraception activity of the natural herb due to anti-flagellate action of the same. The variants of the herbal contraceptives developed by the Corporation are called pre-coital vaginal contraceptive and post-coital (postovulatory) oral. In addition to these oral contraceptives, an abortifacient agent has also been identified from neem by the scientists at NRDC.

According to NRDC sources, the neem oil's anti-flagellate action and the mild spermicidal activity of sodium nimbinate and sodium nimbidinate are the main factors behind the work on the spermicidal and anti-fertility activity of the herb. This oil, when extracted under pressure, was found to have in-vitro spermicidal activity against rat, monkey and even in human sperms. It showed pre-coital and a post- coital contraceptive preventing implantation and an abortifacient agent with all these effects being reversible as well.

On intra-vaginal application before coitus, the NRDC sources said, the neem oil was found to prevent pregnancy in rats, rabbits, monkey and human beings. When neem oil was applied intravaginally after coitus, it was found to prevent implantation and cause abortion in rats. All these effects were systemic and dose dependent, however its application did not in any way alter the hormonal profile, the sources confirmed.

Toxicity studies of neem oil has already been done on animals and found to be non-toxic in the doses administered. Application of neem oil once daily for 10 days in rabbits did not cause any vaginal irritation and so as the effect of its application of once daily in rats for eight weeks. "If this has been developed commercially, it can be the cheapest contraceptive substitute as the dosage of one ml can be effectively used every time and the cost is negligible," the sources added.

NRDC has already carried out extensive studies to isolate the active components responsible for spermicidal, anti-implantation and abortifacient activities of the oil in order to identify a standard product for further synthesis. However, the toxicity studies on rabbits and monkeys with fractionated compound of the oil are currently progressing.