Avoid these herbs if you are pregnant
by Vic Shayne, PhD
Nutrition Research Center
Natural health care is a wonderful thing, and a lot of pregnant moms want to avoid drugs to protect their babies. But before you reach for herbs, thinking they are a safer choice, take a look at the list I compiled over the last several years. You’ll want to avoid these herbs during your term and during nursing.
HERBS TO AVOID DURING PREGNANCY
Many herbs contain steroids that can affect the baby’s development during pregnancy and/or nursing. Others may be of a mild toxic type, and others may be strong uterine stimulants. Please read this section carefully and take heed.
- Angelica – stimulates suppressed menstruation
- Black Cohosh – uterine stimulant – mostly used during labor
- Blue Cohosh – a stronger uterine stimulant
- Borage oil – a uterine stimulant – use only during the last few days of pregnancy
- Comfrey – can cause liver problems in mother and fetus – use only briefly, externally only, for treating sprains and strains -
- Dong Quai – may stimulate bleeding
- Elder – do not use during pregnancy or lactation
- Fenugreek – uterine relaxant
- Goldenseal – too powerful an antibiotic for the developing fetus, also should not be used if nursing
- Henbane – highly toxic
- Horsetail – too high in silica for the developing fetus
- Licorice Root – can create water retention and/or elevated blood pressure
- Motherwort – stimulates suppressed menstruation
- Mugwort – can be a uterine stimulant
- Nutmeg – can cause miscarriage in large doses
- Pennyroyal Leaf – stimulates uterine contractions (NOTE: Pennyroyal essential oil should not be used by pregnant women at any time!) – do not handle if pregnant or nursing
- Rue – strong expellant Saffron – can cause miscarriage and other problems Shepherd’s Purse – used only for hemmorhaging during/after childbirth Uva
- Ursi – removes too much blood sugar during pregnancy and nursing Yarrow – uterine stimulant
These are good to use to build your health and the health of your baby.
There ARE a few good whole food supplements to use during pregnancy that provide important vitamins, minerals, amino acids, bioflavonoids, carotenoids and chlorophyll. These include:
Green Nutrients: provides organically grown alkaline mineral-rich green vegetable foods.
Fish Oils: supports brain development and provides an excellent source of essential fatty acids
Whole Food: offers a well rounded multiple source of general nutrition
SOURCES: Copyright © 1996-2002 Rev. Dr. Lisa Waltz, ND, DD, CNC