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Herbs During Pregnancy

Most herbs can be taken throughout pregnancy with no ill effects. Many herbs are helpful during pregnancy, especially just before childbirth. Helpful herbs would include those to alleviate nausea, morning sickness, pain, and the like. However, there are some herbs that should be used cautiously during pregnancy, and other herbs that should be completely avoided during pregnancy. Be sure to read our Product Cautions page for additional information.

Click here for a list of cautions regarding herbal products.

Click here for information on herbs that are especially helpful during pregnancy.

Safe Herbs During Pregnancy

The following herbs can be used safely during pregnancy. Use these herbs in the gentlest way as hot relaxing teas, capsules or tinctures.

Bilberry: will fortify vein and capillary support, aids in kidney function and is a mild diuretic for bloating.

Blue Cohosh: stops and eliminates false labor pains; for final weeks of pregnancy, to ease and/or induce labor.

Burdock Root: helps prevent water retention and jaundice in the baby.

Chamomile: aids digestive and bowel problems and relaxes for good sleep.

Echinacea: aids the immune system to help prevent colds, flu and infections.

Ginger Root: excellent for morning sickness.

Lobelia (Indian Tobacco): helps to relax the mother during delivery and helps speed up the delivery of the placenta.

Nettles: will guard against excessive bleeding as it has vitamin K in it; it will improve kidney function and help prevent hemorrhoids.

Peppermint: after the first trimester, may be used to help digestion, soothe the stomach and overcome nausea. It is an over-all body strengthener and cleanser.

Red Raspberry: it is an all-around excellent herb to use for pregnancy. It is a uterine tonic, anti-abortive, and helps prevent infection. Aids in preventing cramps and anemia. Prevents excessive bleeding during and after labor and will facilitate the birth process by stimulating contractions.

Wild Yam: for pregnancy pain, nausea or cramping and will lessen miscarriage.

Yellow Dock: aids in iron assimilation and will help to prevent infant jaundice.

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Herbs to be Limited During Pregnancy

Many herbalists strongly recommend that some herbs NOT be taken during pregnancy. The herbs listed below should not be taken except by the recommendation of your herbalist and then only in combinations. Be sure to read the Product Cautions for additional information.

Black Cohosh: use only the final weeks of pregnancy; will ease and/or induce labor.

False Unicorn: use only the final weeks of pregnancy; will ease and/or induce labor.

Golden Seal: large amounts can cause uterine contractions.

Pennyroyal: this herb can cause abortion; may be used in final weeks.

NOTE: The following herbs are LAXATIVE in nature and should be used sparingly or in combinations.

Strong laxatives should be used with discretion as they cause stomach and intestinal cramping.

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Herbs to be Avoided During Pregnancy

The following herbs should not be used during pregnancy. Be sure to read the Product Cautions for additional information.

Angelica: can cause uterine contractions.

Cinchona: Cinchona and its alkaloids should be avoided in pregnancies because of their oxytocic effects.

Coffee: avoid caffeine, as it irritates the uterus; excessive amounts in some sensitive individuals can cause premature birth or miscarriage.

Eucalyptus oil: This oil should be avoided during pregnancy as it is difficult to eliminate through the kidneys.

Feverfew: Has been shown to stimulate menses in some women, and may therefore precipitate miscarriage.

Juniper: a too-strong vasodilating, diuretic effect.

Lovage: causes uterine contractions.

Ma Huang (Ephedra): This herb should be avoided during pregnancy as it has too strong of an antihistamine effect; also raises pulse rate and blood pressure.

Male Fern: too strong a vermifuge.

Mistletoe: can cause uterine contractions.

Mugwort: stimulates uterine contractions and can be toxic in large doses.

Pennyroyal: can cause abortion of the unborn child.

Poke root:This herb should be avoided during pregnancy as it is a powerful emetic.

Rue: can cause abortion.

Shepherds Purse: too astringent; may be used for after-birth bleeding.

Tansy: can cause uterine contractions.

Wild Ginger: an emmenagogue that causes uterine contractions.

Wormwood: stimulates uterine contractions and can be toxic in large doses.

Yarrow: a strong astringent and mild abortifacient (may cause abortion of the unborn child).

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Source: Ritchason, Jack. The Little Herb Encyclopedia. Pleasant Grove, Utah, Woodland Health Books, 1995, pages 369-371.


Originally posted on Friday, 08 November 2019

Page last updated on Wednesday, 10 February 2021 04:46 PM
(Updates are generally minor formatting or editorial changes.
Major content changes are identified as "Revisions”)


Bibliography: Source materials used to develop the Natural Health information on this site.

The Center for Messianic Learning (CML) has provided this material for your information. It is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your primary health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with your health care provider. The mention of any product, service, or therapy is not an endorsement by CML.

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