Herbs For Pregnancy
As an herbalist now into the 3rd trimester of my 1st pregnancy, I feel compelled to write about the safe use of herbs for pregnant women.
It concerns me that women fall into poor health unnecessarily when most pregnancy-related health concerns can be avoided with a good diet, medicinal herbs, supplements, and getting adequate rest and exercise. There is much fear out there pertaining to the safety of taking herbs while pregnant, so I hope this article serves to put your mind at ease. May you step into your pregnancy with grace, wonder, and empowerment.
DANDELION ROOT- in small amounts taken throughout pregnancy can help prevent gestational diabetes and preeclampsia (toxemia). Dandelion also helps the liver to flush out waste by-products (remember, now you are excreting waste for two!) and helps to prevent constipation. Dandelion is a bitter herb, and so should be taken in small amounts. (Bitter herbs have been known to cause contractions). I have enjoyed combining dandelion root with equal parts of burdock and yellowdock in a tincture bottle. I take between 5-10 drops 3 times a day, typically after meals. I have noticed that it has helped my body deal with the hormonal overload, while also improving digestion and assimilation. It also can help to improve your complexion if you are experiencing hormonal acne.
ECHINACEA- I have met so many pregnant women who honestly believe that they can't take anything if they get a cold or a flu. Echinacea tincture has a good reputation for being safe to take during pregnancy. I took echinacea on a few occasions to help fend off a threatening cold. Take a dropperful of the tincture every few hours until symptoms subside. If you are already sick, you can take echinacea to shorten the duration of your cold or flu.
RED RASPBERRY LEAF-this herb has long been associated with tonifying the uterus. It is also packed with vitamins and minerals, and makes a wonderful nourishing infusion. I recommend taking a regular cup of red raspberry leaf tea. I typically drink one cup a day. (You may even find that your body craves it). Yogi Tea makes tea bags of red raspberry leaf, which makes it easy and convenient if you're on the go.
CHAMOMILE- This was just the right tea for my first trimester nausea. I found that ginger was too warming and irritating for my body, and it did not relieve any symptoms associated with morning sickness. In fact, pregnant mamas need to be careful with taking large amounts of ginger as it can be too stimulating to the uterus. Ginger in moderation should be ok.
PEACH LEAF- If chamomile isn't the herb for you, then try peach leaves. Peach leaves are a gentle stomach soother. Sweet and mild in flavor, pleasant to taste, and 100% safe if you can find leaves that have not been sprayed. A tea or a tincture of peach leaves will do.
HERBS TO AVOID DURING PREGNANCY
Here is a list of common herbs to avoid. Either the toxicity levels are too high, or they are too stimulating to the uterus.
Andrograhis, blue vervain, buckthorn, bloodroot, angelica, celandine, comfrey, devil's claw, goldenseal, jamaica dogwood, lomatium, mugwort, lobelia, pulsatilla, oregon grape, osha, pennyroyal, poke, senna, cascara sagrada, rhubarb, uva ursi, thuja, wild carrot, wild ginger, wormwood, yarrow.
SAFE HERBS FOR PREGNANCY
Here is a list of safe herbs to take during your pregnancy. As a rule, the more bitter herbs should be taken in tincture form in small doses. Mild and pleasant tasting herbs can be taken as a tea.
Burdock, blessed thistle, dandelion, nettles, red raspberry leaf, peach leaf, elderberry, echinacea, shepherd's purse, mullein, passionflower, skullcap, eleuthero, ashwagandha, red root, wild yam, fennel, hawthorn, lavender, lemon balm, calendula, milky oats, cleavers, chickweed, alfalfa, lemon verbena, reishi mushroom.
*black cohosh and blue cohosh should only be used during the last 2 weeks of your pregnancy.
*The information in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or cure any health condition.