There's a new craze going around where women are putting herb balls in their vaginas to "detox" their wombs from health issues and, basically, bad spirits.
Embrace Pangaea, the holistic company behind Herbal Womb Detox Pearls, claim their wholly natural products can help cure or reduce a whole range of ailments including, "bacteria vaginosis, yeast infections, endometriosis, infertility, vagina pain, excess bleeding, vaginal dryness, polycystic ovarian syndrome or fibroids".
It also says the herb ball satchels – which cost $22 each, and that contain motherwort, cnidium monnieri, angelica, borneol, rhizoma – assist to "cleanse the womb and return it to a balanced state".
"The womb is not only a vessel for bringing in souls to the physical plane, but also a vessel that can hold onto emotional, physical and spiritual trauma and pain," it says.
There's also a 'Vaginal Tightening Package' that starts at $110.
But a doctor has said that the bags of herb with an attached string that you are meant to insert into the vagina for one day are not only "pointless" but are "very dangerous" and could cause toxic shock syndrome (TSS).
Dr Jen Gunter took to her blog Wielding the Lasso of Truth to urge women to steer well clear of them.
"Your uterus isn't tired or depressed or dirty and your vagina has not misplaced its chakra," she started off.
"They want no real help from you unless there is something wrong and they will tell you there is something wrong by bleeding profusely or itching or cramping badly or producing an odour."
The Canadian obstetrician and gynaecologist describes the vagina as "a self-cleaning oven" and that putting plant products in them will irritate it.
"These herbs (or whatever, because you really just don't know – hey it could just be dirt from someone backyard) could be damaging to your lactobacilli (the good bacteria) or be directly irritating to the vagina mucosa (the lining) and both of these outcomes will increase your risk of infection," Dr. Gunter adds.
To prove their value, the site depicts a number of pictures of what they say are clients' results of the balls, but Dr. Gunter says the images actually prove the "pearls are damaging".
Her final message to women considering trying out the products: "Do not under any circumstances put a mesh baggie of herbs in your vagina."
Fairfax Media has asked Embrace Pangaea for comment.