When you’re pregnant, there are many medications that are off limits. The same is true for some herbs. That’s why mothers-to-be should start reading up on what herbs to avoid during pregnancy.
As harmless as herbs might seem, there is always the matter of quantity and form. You can have them sprinkled on food, in teas and infusions, or in the form of tablets. But, you should only do so after having consulted a doctor, a pharmacist, a herbalist or a midwife. If you get contradictory opinions from several people, you should probably play it safe and stay away from it.
We are raised to believe that there is a pill for everything. During pregnancy, when pills are off limits, we turn to plants for the natural benefits without the toxicity of chemicals. However, if we do expect them to work in relieving us from a headache we should also expect the effects which could be bad for the pregnancy.
For example, some herbs can have laxative effects, can cause uterine stimulation, can throw off your hormonal activity or can affect your nervous system or heart rate. That’s why you should know what herbs to avoid during pregnancy.
What Herbs to Avoid during Pregnancy
From feeling uncomfortable to causing real harm, herb consumption can have various effects. It can also depend on how far you are in your pregnancy and the form in which the herbs are taken. BabyCenter has a useful list of which herbs to avoid during labor because they can stimulate the womb or cause miscarriage, premature labor, and contractions. They include but are not limited to:
- Cotton root (gossypium herbaceum)
- False unicorn root (chamaelirium luteum)
- Lady’s mantle (alchemilla xanthoclora)
- Squaw vine (mitchella repens).
The list of what herbs to avoid during pregnancy is even longer because they can cause a variety of problems like cramps, discomfort, nausea, birth defects, and even miscarriage. Contractions, diarrhea, fetal distress, low blood sugar, premature labor, and skin irritation are also possible. There is a list of other side effects that you should ask your doctor about. You may be surprised at just what can happen from taking herbs.
While not everyone will have the same reaction from being exposed to a certain herb or plant, these are just some from the list to avoid during pregnancy. The list is much longer, but this will get you started:
- Aloe vera (aloe barbadensis)
- Angelica (angelica archangelica)
- Arbor vitae (thuja occidentalis)
- Autumn crocus (colchicum autumnale)
- Barberry (berberis vulgaris)
- Bitter orange (citrus aurantium)
- Bugleweed (lycopus americanus)
- Rosemary (rosmarinus officinalis)
- Saffron (crocus sativus)
- St John’s wort
Surely, there is no need to panic if you did not know what herbs to avoid during pregnancy until now. Even if you have already started drinking some teas and infusions or you simply kept on drinking your favorite teas, the important thing to remember is the quantity and concentration of the plant’s active ingredient.
A tea is light and should not cause a lot of harm in many of the cases. However, prolonged consumption could endanger your pregnancy. Always check with specialists before introducing any food or drink into your pregnancy diet.
An herbal remedy that worked for your friend might not work for you. Let the specialists decide what you should take to relieve any discomfort you’re feeling.
Meanwhile, a good piece of advice would be to research every herb recommended to you by anyone, since memorizing a list of what herbs to avoid during pregnancy would be too difficult. Good research and precaution when not all of the results are positive are the best solutions.
Finally, herbal supplements have concentrated dosages of active ingredients. However, their production is not regulated in any way. Some batches can be stronger whereas some may have little effect. Taking them is dangerous, especially since you never know just how concentrated they are and you have to trust what is written on the label.
Talk to your doctor, your midwife or a nutritionist/herbalist before drinking any tea or taking any supplements. You may think you are well-advised to avoid medication but you could potentially end up worse-off by not knowing what herbs to avoid during pregnancy.
Featured image: naturalhealers.com