Several online retailers currently carry the product, including Etsy. Women ground the small, round nests into a paste, which sellers claim will restore the uterine wall after childbirth, heal an episiotomy cut, and also clean the vagina.
The nests are formed when a wasp lays eggs in the leaf bud of a tree, where the larva develop inside the round, beige balls.
Dr Gunter warned against the practice in a recent blog post. She says Oak Galls can cause painful sex and increase the possibility of contracting HIV.
“This product follows the same dangerous pathway of other ‘traditional’ vaginal practices,” she said.
“Drying the vaginal mucosa increases the risk of abrasions during sex (not good) and destroys the protective mucous layer (not good).”
“It could also wreak havoc with the good bacteria. In addition to causing pain during sex, it can increase the risk of HIV transmission. This is dangerous practice with real potential to harm.”