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More promising, far-from-available male birth control

Could a leafy jungle plant hold the key to the male birth control pill?

As if we needed another reason to save the rainforest: A leafy plant found deep in the jungles of Indonesia may hold the key to the elusive male birth control pill. The gandarusa plant has been used as a stress-reliever for centuries, and locals knew it had a reputation for reducing fertility. Now, researchers are making its active chemical into a pill they think could become over-the-counter birth control for men. It works by changing the chemistry of sperm so that they’re unable to pierce an egg’s outer wall and has no reported side effects. Plus, it’s reversible: in studies men saw fertility return just two months after stopping the pill. The drug may be available in Indonesia as early as next year, but it probably won’t hit your local drugstore any time soon—the FDA will require years of additional testing before that happens. [PBS]

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