Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Eve's Herbs: A History of Contraception and Abortion in the West,” as Want to Read:
Eve's Herbs: A History of Contraception and Abortion in the West,
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Eve's Herbs: A History of Contraception and Abortion in the West,

4.13  ·  Rating Details  ·  54 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews

In Contraception and Abortion from the Ancient World to the Renaissance, John Riddle showed, through extraordinary scholarly sleuthing, that women from ancient Egyptian times to the fifteenth century had relied on an extensive pharmacopoeia of herbal abortifacients and contraceptives to regulate fertility. In Eve's Herbs, Riddle explores a new question: If women once had

...more
Hardcover, 341 pages
Published June 30th 1997 by Harvard University Press (first published 1997)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Eve's Herbs, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Eve's Herbs

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 224)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Claire
Jan 14, 2013 Claire rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bit long-winded at times and it took me a few sessions over a long time period to finish, but interesting, with quite thorough research by the author. Scary how medieval women had more knowledge and choice than modern women in this way, or at least knew someone who did and could help them. In the 21st century, we've lost a lot of our reproductive rights and it's still being fought over by politicians, mostly male, and women who've fallen for the lies told about themselves. Every empowered woman ...more
Dafna
My overall impression was quite positive and I think I might say that I liked the book. However, I have some critical thoughts about it. The most important thing for me is that the way the data is organized is a but messy. I guess that instead of chronological order it would have been more useful to organize it topically: for instance, to trace first the folk tradition of using herbs and than to turn to herbals that were written by more authoritative people. Also, I sometimes lacked the author's ...more
Ann Evans
Feb 03, 2011 Ann Evans rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Meticulously researched book on the uses of contraceptives and abortifacients from ancient times to the present, in the Western world only. It is so full of surprises, and so full of implications for all women. I am wondering how I have ever gotten through life not being aware that women in ancient Rome were every bit as capable of controlling family size as we are today. It suggests that we have bought in to some silly presumptions, and given all power over to pharmaceutical companies when we c ...more
Sky
Nov 12, 2014 Sky rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a fascinating read!

I recommend it for anyone interested in old wise woman lore. The information is just as valuable today as it was hundreds of years ago.

Also, it gave an interesting chronology of pro-life vs pro-choice. To see how vastly the population's opinion of what constitutes life has changed over the years was enlightening.

This book is a great stepping stone to further research as well.
Erica
Aug 03, 2008 Erica rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty good... lists all the DOZENS of herbs with contraceptive properties, and definitely makes you wonder why hormonal birth control is such a clusterfuck. The book is more history than science, however, too many reviews of ancient judicial systems for me.
Bonnie
Aug 05, 2010 Bonnie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this as research for a writing project. It was much better than anticipated. I learned a great deal.
Rosanna Nafziger
Jan 02, 2016 Rosanna Nafziger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Riddle presents some convincing evidence for the widespread use of contraceptive and abortifacient herbs throughout history, relying on historical texts, census data, and animal studies of these herbs' effects. He argues that the historical fascination with emmenagogues was really a coded way to talk about abortifacients and contraceptives (since this secret women's knowledge was persecuted as witchcraft).
Lily
Jan 04, 2016 Lily is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: herbalism-birth
I'm not done yet...but as a feminist doula in training with a focus on reproductive justice work and herbalist with a bent on ethnobotany and folk medicine and reclaiming suppressed women's histories this book is a treat! I tried to start a reading group around it, and people showed interest, however it's hard to come by and unavailable as of yet in open source. I want to read all of his books on contraception in the ancient eastern world too, and give these books to everyone I know with a femal ...more
Jenna
Nov 30, 2008 Jenna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
long winded at times, but thorough. a great history on contraceptives and child-bearing, which i really appreciated.
Brittany
Brittany is currently reading it
Jul 23, 2016
Sharon
Sharon marked it as to-read
Jul 21, 2016
bill vickery
bill vickery rated it liked it
Jul 20, 2016
Salix
Salix is currently reading it
Jul 18, 2016
Jenn
Jenn marked it as to-read
Jul 16, 2016
Brooke
Brooke marked it as to-read
Jun 17, 2016
Cherie Ann
Cherie Ann marked it as to-read
Jun 16, 2016
Sadie-Megin Daniels
Sadie-Megin Daniels marked it as to-read
May 18, 2016
Lauren
Lauren marked it as to-read
May 09, 2016
Stephanie
Stephanie marked it as to-read
May 08, 2016
Deep Roots
Deep Roots marked it as to-read
May 05, 2016
Bella
Bella marked it as to-read
Apr 27, 2016
Katherine Tirado-Ryen
Katherine Tirado-Ryen is currently reading it
May 15, 2016
Nessa
Nessa marked it as to-read
Apr 17, 2016
Hanna
Hanna marked it as to-read
Apr 11, 2016
K.O.
K.O. marked it as to-read
Apr 05, 2016
Emily
Emily marked it as to-read
Apr 02, 2016
Tracy E.
Tracy E. marked it as to-read
Mar 21, 2016
Kerry
Kerry marked it as to-read
Mar 16, 2016
Erin Didge
Erin Didge rated it it was amazing
Mar 16, 2016
L.A. Berry
L.A. Berry marked it as to-read
Mar 10, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Contraception and Abortion in Nineteenth-Century America: A Critical Edition of the Symphonia Armonie Celestium Revelationum (Symphony of the Harmon
  • Hermaphrodites and the Medical Invention of Sex
  • Centuries of Childhood: A Social History of Family Life
  • A History Of Marriage
  • Birth, Marriage, and Death: Ritual, Religion, and the Life Cycle in Tudor and Stuart England
  • The Age of Reform, 1250-1550: An Intellectual and Religious History of Late Medieval and Reformation Europe
  • Marking the Hours: English People and Their Prayers, 1240-1570
  • The Kindness of Strangers: The Abandonment of Children in Western Europe from Late Antiquity to the Renaissance
  • Surpassing the Love of Men: Romantic Friendship and Love Between Women from the Renaissance to the Present
  • A History of Psychiatry: From the Era of the Asylum to the Age of Prozac
  • Hippocratic Writings
  • Wonders and the Order of Nature, 1150--1750
  • Witches and Neighbors: The Social and Cultural Context of European Witchcraft
  • Woman of Valor: Margaret Sanger and the Birth Control Movement in America
  • The Novel: An Alternative History: Beginnings to 1600
  • Immodest Acts: The Life of a Lesbian Nun in Renaissance Italy
  • Ecstasies: Deciphering the Witches' Sabbath
  • A Dangerous Woman: The Graphic Biography of Emma Goldman

Share This Book