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herbs to avoid during pregnancy

Updated on September 9, 2011


Herbs To Avoid During Pregnancy

Many herbs should never be used during pregnancy. Those containing high quantities of volatile oils (some of which could be toxic, such as pennyroyal), or alkaloids, such as barberry, can affect your central nervous system as well as interfere with the development of your baby’s

Harsh bitter, such as Mugwort, that strongly stimulate digestion and metabolism should be avoided, as should strong laxatives such as senna, buckthorn, cascara Sagrada, and rhubarb; bitters and laxatives can trigger uterine contractions. Herbs with strong hormonal properties are not advised, including sage and licorice.

Consult your health-care provider if you have doubts about the safety of any herb.

Alder buckthorn (Rhamnus frangula)—cathartic

 Angelica (Angelica archangelica)—emmenagogue

 Barberry (Berberis vulgaris)—uterine stimulant   Birthroot (Trillium spp.)—uterine astringent   Blessed Thistle (Cnicus benedictus)—strong bitter   Butternut (Juglans cinerea)—laxative   Cascara Sagrada (Rhamnus purshiana)—laxative   Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara)—possibly fetotoxic   Damiana (Turnera diffusa)—nervous system and hormonal activity   Drug Aloe (Aloe vera)—cathartic   Ephedra (Ma-huang) (Ephedra sinica)—high alkaloid content, cardiac stimulant   Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium)—emmenagogue   Goldenseal (Hydrastis Canadensis)—uterine stimulant   Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica)—affects nervous system   Juniper berries (Juniperus communis)—possibly fetotoxic, affects kidneys   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   Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium)—emmenagogue   Pleurisy root (Asclepias tuberosa)—cardiac stimulant   Rhubarb (Rheum palmatum)—laxative   Rue (Ruta graveolens)—emmenagogue   Sage (Salvia officinalis) (safe to use in cooking)—emmenagogue, hormonal activity   Sarsaparilla (Smilax regelii)—hormonal activity   Scotch broom (Cytisus scoparius)—cardiac stimulant   Senna (Senna alexandrina)—laxative   Shepard’s purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris)—hemostatic   Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare)—emmenagogue   Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium)—emmenagogue      Common Tea Herbs to Avoid During Pregnancy 

  Angelica (Angelica archangelica) - can bring on menses   Catnip (Nepeta cataria) - increases menstrual flow   Cinnamon (Cinnamomum spp.) - large doses can be a uterine stimulant   Dong quai (Angelica sinensis) - moves blood and can lead to miscarriage   Ephedra (Ephedra sinensis) - can increase heart rate and blood pressure   Fennel (Foenicculum officinale) - excess may be a uterine stimulant   Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) - may be a uterine stimulant   Ginseng (Panax ginseng) - may disrupt hormonal constituents   Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) - brings on menses   Juniper (Juniperus spp) - diuretic with vasodialating effect on uterus   Kava-kava (Piper methysticum) - large doses can cause a build up of toxins   Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) - can adversely affect hormone levels   Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) - stimulates oxytocin, brings on menses   Mugwort (Artemesia vulgaris) - may stimulate uterine contractions   Oregon Grape Root (Mahonia aquifolium) - too strong and bitter   Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) - large doses may cause stimulation of uterus   Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) - many alkaloids that may affect fetus   Sassafras (Sassafras officinale or spp.) - oils in plant may harm fetus   Sage (Salvia officinalis) - large doses may adversely affect hormones   Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) - excessive use may be uterine stimulant   Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) - can cause headache or palpitations   Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) - strong astringent, may be abortive


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      Latrelle Ross 8 years ago

      Great hub. This is so important to share, especially since so many people do their own "doctoring" when it comes to herbal medicine. Thanks :)

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