Crocodile dung, weasel testicles, Lysol, ground beaver testicles with moonshine, onion juice, Coca-Cola, and lead-contaminated water all have one thing in common: they’ve been used by women as a way of preventing pregnancy.
More dangerous contraceptive practices have included drinking mercury by Chinese women thousands of years ago. This deadly potion was used by concubines in order to remain sterile but lead to kidney failure, brain damage and, of course, death.
Do these strange practices work? For the most part, no. After watching the video, read a more detailed timeline of the most crazy birth control methods used through the centuries:
Egyptians used crocodile dung, honey, and sodium carbonate. Crocodile dung is alkaline, but contraceptive historians Malcolm Potts and Martha Campbell say the method “perhaps reflects Freudian more than pharmacological concerns.”
Greek colonists in North Africa discovered Silphion, the first oral contraceptive. Silphion was an herb that grew only in the area now known as Libya. Despite efforts, it could not be cultivated but it was harvested to extinction by 100 A.D.
The oldest known condoms, dating back circa 1640, were found in Dudley Castle near Birmingham, England. They were made of fish and animal intestines.
Young Giacomo Girolamo Casanova begins his amorous career. He uses condoms made from lamb intestine to prevent pregnancy. He also used linen condoms tied at the ends with a ribbon.
The U.S. contraceptive industry flourishes with “male caps” covering only the tip of the penis.
Penniless New York City immigrant Julius Schmid takes sausage casings from butcher shops and makes them into skin condoms. By the 1930s, his condom empire is making millions. His Ramses and Sheik brands are still popular.
The most popular female contraceptive is Lysol disinfectant. It is sold as a feminine hygiene product with testimonials from prominent European “doctors.” Later investigation by the American Medical Association showed that these experts did not exist. Needless to say, Lysol does not work as a contraceptive.