Herbs During Pregnancy
More than 400 different herbs are commonly used to treat or prevent a variety
of conditions. They are sold in many forms, including teas, tablets, capsules
Herbal teas can be soothing, and pregnant women bothered by nausea and vomiting
may be tempted to use them. But they should not be taken without the advice
of a health care professional as most herbal supplements are not necessarily
safe to take during pregnancy as the safety and effectiveness of herbal supplements
have not been extensively studied, especially during pregnancy.
Some herbal preparations, including peppermint and red raspberry leaf, are
thought to cause uterine contractions and may increase the risk of miscarriage
or preterm labor. This is also is true of many herbal tablets, capsules and
extracts, including black or blue cohosh, ephedra, dong quai, feverfew, juniper,
pennyroyal, St. John's Wort, and rosemary.
However, a researcher at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada,
has developed a safety rating for herbs and minerals taken by pregnant and breastfeeding
Gideon Koren and his colleagues have compiled a comprehensive listing of
common herbs, vitamins and supplements and, drawing on a wide range of studies,
have aimed to grade the quality of evidence of their safety during pregnancy
Cranberries, echinacea, garlic and ginger, all have been given an A rating
for safety, meaning that the trials that have shown them to be safe were large
and well-conducted. On the other hand, says the Toronto team, there "is
strong scientific evidence" that parsley, consumed as an antioxidant, could
increase the risk of miscarriage.
The details of the report were recently presented at the annual meeting
of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians in Phoenix, Arizona.
Even though there is research showing the safety of certain herbs during
pregnancy, you should always check with your healthcare provider or midwife
before self supplementing or consuming herbal teas.
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