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What Herbal Teas to Avoid During Pregnancy

Although blending herbals teas have been used for many centuries and is renown for its health benefits, there are a lack of extensive research into the safety of herbs during pregnancy. The composition and preparation of herbs in teas differ between two batches of the same product therefore making it difficult to assess their safety levels.

Herbs in teas are more potent and concentrated than in foods, so drinking excessive amounts could be harmful to you and your growing baby. Certain active ingredients could have bad side effects such as stimulation of the uterus, birth defects; low birth weight, early labour and even miscarriages!

Depending on what source of information you use, some will advise that a certain herb is safe to use during pregnancy whereas another can tell you the complete opposite!

It really is up to you to gain knowledge if you do choose to use herbal teas during your pregnancy and it is strongly recommended you seek advice from a trained and experienced herbalist or professional if you do.


Below is a general list of what herbal teas to AVOID during pregnancy….

* ANISE (Aniseed) – may cause skin irritations.

* BLACK COHOSH – can lead to premature labour; is a hormone and uterine (relating to the uterus or womb) stimulant; high doses can cause vomiting and nausea.

* BLUE COHOSH – can lead to premature labour; developmental  abnormalities; heart problems and strokes in your baby.

* BLOODROOT – side effects include causing nausea; skin irritations; lethargy; high doses can lead to a coma.

* COMFREY – can cause abnormalities in your baby; can be toxic to your liver and may be carcinogenic (causes cancer).

* DEVIL’S CLAW – side effects include inducing miscarriages; nausea; vomiting; headaches; diarrhea; abdominal pains; skin allergies and changes in the blood.

* DONG QUAI (mainly used in Traditional Chinese Medicine) – can cause miscarriages; pre-term labour; diarrhea; sensitivity to light; is a uterine stimulant; high doses can be carcinogenic.

* EPHEDRA (aka Ma Huang in Traditional Chinese Medicine) – has been banned in the USA since 2004 due to its adverse effects including skin allergies; irritability; nervousness; dizziness; trembling; headaches; insomnia; excessive perspiration, itchy scalp and skin; vomiting and hyperthermia. In severe cases side effects include irregular heartbeat; seizures; heart attack; strokes and death.

* FENUGREEK  – large doses can stimulate uterine contractions; miscarriages; premature labour and may be carcinogenic.

* GINSENG (ASIAN) – can cause developmental abnormalities in your baby.

* GINSENG (SIBERIAN) – may cause drowsiness; irritability; breast tenderness; high doses can lead to uterine bleeding and long term use can cause sciatica and muscle spasms.

       * GOLDENSEAL – too powerful an antibiotic for the developing foetus; also should not be used if nursing; abortive

* LIQUORICE ROOT – can stimulate the uterus; cause miscarriages; premature labour and increase blood pressure.

* PENNYROYAL – can be toxic to the liver and kidneys; may cause dizziness; delirium fits; raised blood pressure; blood clotting disorders; vomiting of blood; is a uterine stimulant; may lead to miscarriages and premature labour. Some experts strongly advise against  pregnant women taking this herb as it may cause a haemorrhage and lead to possible death.

* SAGE – can cause bleeding and triggering a miscarriage; may reduce milk production due to its effect on hormones.

* ST. JOHN’S WORT – large doses cause skin sensitivity; nausea; vomiting; constipation; can bring on anxiety attacks and disturbed sleep.

Pregnancy is not a good time to experiment with generally contra-indicated herbs! Natural is NOT synonymous with harmless or safe – many botanical medicines contain potent pharmacological substances that can trigger a miscarriage or cause harm to the foetus. Also, many physiological and metabolic changes during pregnancy may influence the action of herbs in the body.

So….”When in doubt….Go without.”


Have you tried using herbs whilst pregnant? Which ones did you use? Did it help? Were you aware of the side effects of certain herbs whilst pregnant? I’d love to hear of your stories and experiences. Thanks for popping by and peace be with.


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