Herbs for a Healthy Pregnancy

December 30, 2005 at 3:39 pm Leave a comment

I’m often asked what herbs are safe to use during pregnancy and what herbs should be avoided.  So I thought I would compile a list of herbs and by all means it is not a complete list. Please check with your health care provider to be sure before you take anything while pregnant.

Herbs you can use during pregnancy:

A great way to use these herbs is in an herbal tea during pregnancy. Very relaxing and mild.

  • Red raspberry: an excellent herb to use during pregnancy. It is an all around uterine tonic, helps prevent miscarriage, tightens tissue due to its astringent properties, helps to prevent infection due to it’s antiseptic properties, helps prevent excess bleeding during and after labor, and will help in the birth process by stimulating contractions, and assists with milk production as well. Red raspberry is rich in calcium, magnesium, and iron which helps to prevent anemia and cramping.
  • Nettles: this herb is rich in minerals and vitamin K which helps prevent excessive bleeding. It also can help prevent hemorrhoids and improves kidney function. Other benefits include lessening of leg cramps and childbirth pain.
  • Ginger root: this herb is high in necessary minerals and is excellent for morning sickness.
  • Peppermint: use this herb after the first trimester to help with digestion, nausea, and to help soothe the stomach. Is high in highly absorbable amounts of vitamin A, C, potassium, silica and iron.
  • Burdock root: high in minerals, balances hormones and helps prevent baby jaundice and water retention.
  • Bilberry: has astringent properties, rich in bioflavanoids that helps to fortify veins and capillaries. Good for kidney function and is a mild diuretic for swelling.
  • Yellow dock root: this herb improves the assimilation of iron and helps prevent infant jaundice.
  • Dong quai root: Use this herb in moderation. It is a blood nourisher, rather than a hormone stimulant.
  • Echinacea: this herb is used to stimulate the immune system to help prevent infections, colds and flu.
  • Chamomile: this herb helps with digestive and bowel problems and helps to relax for better sleep.
  • Vitex (Chaste tree) : this herb will balance hormones to improve fertility. Discontinue using when pregnancy is realized.
  • Wild Yam: this herb helps with general pregnancy pain, cramping or nausea. It also lessons the chance of miscarriage.
  • Alfalfa: this herb is rich in enzymes and minerals and full of vitamin K which helps to reduce postpartum hemorrhage.
  • False Unicorn, black and blue cohosh:  Use these only in the final weeks of pregnancy. These will help to ease and/or induce labor. The product 5-W from NSP is used specifically for the last 5 weeks of pregnancy and contains combination herbs including Black cohosh.
  • Dandelion: this herb is a gentle diuretic that helps reduce water retention in pregnancy.
  • 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.

    • Aloe vera: can be overly laxative. If you decide to use it dilute aloe vera juice with 4 parts water.
    • Angelica and rue: these herbs stimulate the hormone oxytocin that causes uterine contractions.
    • Barberry, buckthorn, mandrake, rhubarb root, cascara sagrada, and senna: these are all very strong laxatives and should not be used during pregnancy.
    • Buchu and juniper: these are diuretics that are too strong to use during pregnancy.
    • Black cohosh: may stimulate contractions. Blue cohosh also will affect uterine sloughing. Use these only in the last weeks of pregnancy. See entry in the safe herb list.
    • Coffee: too high in caffeine and heated hydro carbons which irritates the uterus. It has been shown that in some very sensitive people who take in excessive amounts of caffeine that it may cause miscarriage or premature birth.
    • Comfrey: can cause liver problems in mother and fetus – use only briefly, externally only, for treating sprains and strains.
    • Ephedra, Ma Huang: too strong an anti-histamine.
    • Henbane: highly toxic.
    • Horseradish: too strong for baby.
    • Horsetail: too high in silica for the developing fetus.
    • Goldenseal, lovage, mugwort and wormwood: all cause uterine contractions.
    • Male fern: to strong anti-parasitic.
    • Mistletoe, tansy and wild ginger: all cause uterine contractions.
    • Motherwort : stimulates suppressed menstruation.
    • Pennyroyal: stimulates uterine contractions (NOTE: Pennyroyal essential oil should not be used by pregnant women at any time!) – do not handle if pregnant or nursing.
    • Shepherd’s Purse: used only for hemorrhaging during/after childbirth.
    • Yarrow: is a very strong astringents and can cause uterine contractions.

    Entry filed under: Pregnancy.

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