The Herbal Womb Detox Pearls, sold by US company Embrace Pangaea, are herb balls inserted in the vagina to detox the womb but can put women at risk of toxic shock syndrome. Despite being promoted to boost health upon recommendation of inserting three balls inside for 72 hours for full effect, experts warn that these may do more harm than good.

Florida firm Embrace Pangaea claims that these balls can shrink ovarian cysts or treat endometriosis, thrush and fibroids. Apparently, these are designed to cleanse the womb and return it to a balanced state. L. Baird L. Baird L. Baird

However, US gynaecologist Jen Gunter criticised the company in a blog post about this trend. Gunter argued that the uterus is not “tired, depressed or dirty” and “the vagina has not misplaced its chakra” to need a detoxification with a bag of herbs.

The doctor points out that these parts do not need help unless there is something wrong. Consequently, if a woman has health problems, then the body will manifest this perhaps by bleeding profusely, itching, cramping or emitting a bad odor.

The company’s detox bags sell in one or two-month packages, costing between $107 and $694 (AU$154 to AU$1,000). Another package even claims to offer a “tightening effect” which shrinks the vaginal canal and increases sexual pleasure.

Leaving a product inside the reproductive system that is not meant for prolonged vaginal use is a risk for toxic shock syndrome. Plus, many plant products and extracts are irritating and none of the contents of the products have been tested, Gunter asserts.

Tamieka Atkinson, owner of Embrace Pangaea, maintains that the company did not make any claims of curing, diagnosing or treating disease. Atkinson told the Independent that Embrace Pangaea is a holistic company that provides herbal detoxes and information to educate clients about natural living.

“With all our clients, we do advise them that we are not medical professionals, and that they should seek assistance from their doctor,” Atkinson suggested. “As for our products doing more harm than good, there are various women that received positive benefits from using our product.”