Emmenagogue herbs are generally meant to be those which will bring on your period.
They work in a variety of ways, but the end result is menstruation.
Abortificant herbs are also referred to as emmenagogue but they are taken to cause abortion (miscarriage) as opposed to bringing on your period.
The two categories do overlap and it's not always easy to tell the difference between them. Many herbalists shy away from listing abortificants and in particular, giving advice as to their use.
However, if you're here on this page, it could be for many reasons - some ladies want to know what herbs to avoid during pregnancy - some want to know how to bring on a period which could be late for many reasons.
Nothing here is intended as 'advice' merely 'information'.
So - to business.
The action of an emmenagogue can be mild through strong depending on the herb (here for that list of emmenagogues)
You cannot rely on these emmenagogue herbs to produce a miscarriage if this is what you're looking for.
Likewise, if you are pregnant and want to avoid a miscarriage, then you should not worry if you eat some of these herbs.
The herbs in the 'mild' emmenagogue category are common herbs that you would find in normal cooking and should not damage or jeopardise a healthy embryo in culinary quantities.
The photo on this page is of Golden Feverfew, which falls into the mild category, along with ginger, parsley, sage, rosemary and yarrow.
So, don't worry if you've eaten some parsley sauce or sage and onion stuffing, it's not going to hurt you.
If you miscarry after eating a small quantity of any of these herbs, then your pregnancy was not viable in the first place - whatever has happened is not your fault.
Historically, women would use the stronger herbs to bring on menstruation if they did not want to be pregnant.
Currently, they are referred to as mild, medium and strong.
How effective are they?
Sometimes these herbs can be difficult to obtain, so here's a couple of links to some online suppliers to help you - US or UK (Europe)
Black Cohosh which is in the medium category. See here for the different categories