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Pregnancy & Herbs Part I

When you are pregnant you have to be very careful of the herbs that you use so that you do not hurt yourself or your baby.  Some herbs will cause you to go into labor and that is certainly not something you want to happen before your baby is ready to be born.  Herbs are filled with all sorts of chemical compounds and that is what makes them work, infact, many of the medicines used come from herbs.  Great care must be taken when using herbs during pregnancy or lactation.

Here is a non-extensive list of herbs that you should NOT take when pregnant:

  • Angelica – stimulates suppressed menstruation
  • Basil – used lightly in foods is safe, but large doses stimulates menstruation
  • Black Cohosh – uterine stimulant, should not be used during lactation or pregnancy
  • Bladderwrack – not to be used while pregnant
  • Blue Cohosh – (not related to Black Cohosh) very strong uterine stimulant, even used to prevent pregnancy – the same way the “morning after” pill is used, and this should only be used under practitioner’s supervision
  • Borage oil -a uterine stimulant – only to be used during the last few days of pregnancy
  • Comfrey – can cause liver damage to both mother and baby
  • Don Quai – can cause uterine bleeding
  • Elder – do not use during pregnancy or lactation
  • Fenugreek – uterine relaxant
  • Goldenseal – powerful antibiotic not to be used during pregnancy or lactation
  • Henbane – highly toxic during pregnancy
  • Horsetail/Shavegrass – high levels of silica – too much for baby to handle
  • Licorice Root – can create water retention and high blood pressure
  • Motherwort – stimulates supressed menstruation
  • Mugwort – can be a uterine stimulant
  • Nutmeg – can cause miscarriage in large doses
  • Partridge Berry – used during childbirth, should not be used during pregnancy
  • Pennyroyal Leaf or Oil – stimulates uterine contractions and should not even be handled by a pregnant or lactating woman
  • Rhodiola Root – not to be used while pregnant
  • Rosemary – small food amounts are safe, but should not be used medicinally while pregnant as it is used to stimulate menstrual flow
  • Rue – strong expellant
  • Shepherd’s Purse – used after pregnancy to stimulate uterine contractions
  • Uva Ursi – lowers blood sugar too much to use during pregnancy or lactation
  • Wild Cherry Bark – contains hydrogen cyanide and should not be used by small children, pregnant or lactating mothers
  • Yarrow – uterine stimulant

This list is not complete – please be sure to check and make note of all herbs before using them during pregnancy to be sure they are safe or not.  Some of the herbs may be used at the onset of labor to help with contractions, but this also must be done with extreme care and preferably under the care of a knowledgeable practioner or midwife.