Herbs During Pregnancy

April 21st, 2010 · 4 Comments · Herbs for

It's an important time to find out which herbs are safe to use during your pregnancy.

It’s an important time to find out which herbs are safe to use during your pregnancy.

Women have been using herbs during pregnancy since prehistoric times.  Many herbs are wonderful for relieving minor ailments during pregnancy and assisting in the birthing process such as Peach Leaf.  However, many herbs should never be used during pregnancy and pregnant women should always seek the advice of a professional for medical and nutritional advice.  Herbs (and high doses of vitamin C) that promote the onset of menstruation (emmenogogues) and those that can cause miscarriages (abortifacients) can be extremely dangerous to the baby and even to the mother.  Herbs containing high quantities of volatile oils or alkaloids can affect the mother’s central nervous system and interfere with the development of the baby.  Harsh bitters and laxatives strongly stimulate digestion as well as metabolism and can trigger uterine contractions.  Herbs with strong hormonal properties are also not advised.

Herbs and Your Pregnancy

Please remember that most of these are fine in small doses or when taken just as needed and not continuously.  There are varying degrees of caution for using these herbs, but is fairly complete in the need to pay attention to them.

  • Agave (Agave spp) – strong bitter, laxative
  • Alder buckthorn (Rhamnus frangula) – cathartic, laxative
  • Angelica (Angelica archangelica) – emmenagogue
  • Arbor vitae (Thuja occidentalis) – abortifacient
  • Autumn Crocus (Colchicum autumnate) – teratogenic damage
  • Barberry (Berberis vulgaris) – emmenagogue, uterine stimulant
  • Bearberry (Arcostaphylus uva-ursi) – emmenagogue
  • Beth Root/Birthroot (Trillium spp.) – uterine astringent
  • Black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa)- emmenagogue
  • Blessed thistle (Cnicus benedictus) – strong bitter
  • Blood root (Sanguinaria canadensis) – Emetic
  • Blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides) – emmenagogue
  • Broom (Sarothamnus scopanius) – abortifacient
  • Buckthorn (Rhamnus catharticus) – laxative
  • Butternut (Juglans cinerea) – laxative
  • Calendula (Calendula officinalis) – estrogenic effect
  • Cascara sagrada (Rhamnus purshiana) – laxative
  • Celandine (Chelidonium majus) – emmenagogue
  • Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara) – possible fetotoxic
  • Cottonroot bark (Gossypium herbaceum) – stimulates uterine contractions
  • Damiana (Turnera diffusa) – nervous system and hormonal activity
  • Dong quai (Angelica sinensis) –  hormonal activity
  • Drug aloe (Aloe vera) – cathartic
  • Ephedra (Ma-huang) (Ephedra sinica) – high alkaloid content, cardiac stimulant
  • Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) – emmenagogue
  • Ginseng (Panax ginseng) – affects nervous system
  • Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) – emmenagogue, uterine stimulant
  • Gotu kola (Centella asiatica) – affects nervous system
  • Hops (Humulus lupulus) – strong bitter
  • Juniper berries (Juniperus communis) – possibly fetotoxic, affects kidneys
  • Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) – can cause high blood pressure
  • Male Fern (Dryopteris felix-mas) – emetic and laxative effect
  • Mandrake (Mandragora vernalis) – slightly toxic
  • Mistletoe (Viscum album) – Hemostatic
  • Motherwort (Leonorus cordiaca)- emmenagogue
  • Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) – emmenagogue
  • Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans) (safe to use in cooking) – slightly toxic
  • Osha (Ligusticum porteri) – emmenagogue
  • Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) (safe to use in cooking) – emmenagogue when used vaginally
  • Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium) – emmenagogue
  • Peruvian Bark (Cinchona spp.) – strong bitter
  • Pleurisy root (Asclepias tuberosa) – cardiac stimulant
  • Poke Root (Phytolacca spp.) – emetic due to high sapon content
  • Rhubarb (Rheum palmatum) – laxative
  • Rue (Ruta graveolens) – emmenagogue
  • Sage (Salvia officinalis) (Safe to use in cooking) – emmenagogue, hormonal activity
  • Sarsaparilla (Smilax spp.) – hormonal activity
  • Scotch broom (Cytisus scoparius) – cardiac stimulant
  • Senna (Senna alexandrina) – laxative
  • Shepherd’s purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris) – hemostatic
  • Southernwood (Artemisa abrotanum) – emmenagogue
  • Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare) – emmenagogue
  • Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) – emmenagogue
  • Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)- emmenagogue

Also, for all you moms out there, check out EcoMom for eco-conscious products for you and your babies. For more information on herbs for young children and babies, see a recent blog post here.


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4 Comments so far ↓

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