Herbs can be a great additive to any lifestyle for a multitude of reasons, but caution must be taken during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
The Mayo Clinic and the March Of Dimes urge mothers-to-be to avoid all herbal tea and products, unless it is okayed by a medical professional, due to a lack of evidence. According to the American Pregnancy Organization, some herbs may cause miscarriage, premature birth, uterine contractions, or injury to the fetus.
Although many herbs can be very beneficial in many situations, pregnancy is not always one of them. The research is lacking in pregnancy and the risk may outweigh the benefit. Herbs are not regulated the same way prescription drugs are regulated. They may contain ingredients not on the label or ingredients in differing amounts than listed on the label. This makes claims on the label even more confusing as any research may not align with the amount on the label or in the product. Herbs may also respond differently when in combination with other herbs and substances.
Many herbs and seasonings can be used in cooking, such as rosemary or cinnamon, but when used in large amounts, may be harmful to the fetus. Always check with your health care professional when considering an herbal alternative or additive.
According to the American Pregnancy Association: Herbs to Avoid During Pregnancy
Roman Chamomile (when used orally in medicinal amounts)
Pennyroyal (orally or topically)
Possibly Unsafe when used orally: Aloe, Ginseng, Evening Primrose, Feverfew, Kava Kava, Senna
According to the American Pregnancy Association: Herbs Likely or Possibly Safe During Pregnancy
Red Raspberry Leaf
Slippery Elm Bark (orally in amounts used in foods)
Oats and Oat Straw
Garlic (orally in amounts commonly found in foods)
Capsicum (Cayenne, Hot Pepper)
According to the American Pregnancy Association There is Insufficient Evidence Regarding the Following Herbs and Supplements in Pregnancy:
Nettles (Stinging Nettles), has been listed as likely unsafe by Natural Medicines Database
Tracey Hull, RD, Zoi Health Coach
Information obtained from the American Pregnancy Association, March of Dimes, and the Mayo Clinic