The medicinal properties of herbs have been utilized since ancient times by healers, sages and midwives. It has only been since the introduction of modern medicine that herbs have taken a back seat in healing the family. Different herbs affect the body differently. Some herbs can heal and soothe during pregnancy, while others can cause miscarriages, premature birth and uterine contractions. Certain herbal teas that you can buy at a store may be safe to drink in limited amounts, while the same herbs in supplemental form may not be safe. It is always wise to consult with your health care provider or someone trained in using herbs before taking any natural medicine or herb during pregnancy.
Herbs that can help during Pregnancy
• Red Raspberry Leaf – Rich in iron, this herb helps to tone the uterus, decrease nausea, and ease labor pains. Later on it can help with milk production. You may notice that pregnancy teas include red raspberry leaf to help promote uterine health during pregnancy. There is some controversy about whether this should be used throughout pregnancy or just in the second and third trimester, so please consult your healthcare provider before using it in the first trimester.
• Peppermint Leaf – Helpful in relieving nausea/morning sickness and that ever embarrassing flatulence.
• Ginger root – Great for morning sickness as it helps relieve nausea and vomiting.
• Slippery Elm Bark – Used to help relieve nausea, heartburn, and vaginal irritations.
• Nettles (Stinging Nettles) – High in vitamins A, C, K, calcium, potassium, and iron. It is considered a pregnancy tonic, although should be taken in measured amounts.
Herbs to Avoid during Pregnancy
• Black Cohosh, Blue Cohosh, Angelica and Dong quai – Can stimulate uterine contractions. Sometimes midwives will use Black & Blue Cohash at the end of a pregnancy to stimulate labor.
• Mugwort and Pennyroyal – Provokes menstruation, which can lead to miscarriages.
• Goldenseal – A uterine stimulant and should be avoided as it can cross the placenta.
• Saw Palmetto and Chasteberry – Can disrupt hormonal activity and lead to miscarriage.
• Parsley and Basil should be taken only in small amounts and Oregano, Rosemary, and Basil essential oils should be avoided as these can also stimulate uterine contractions.
And finally although Noni is not a herb, it is a Maui fruit well praised for its healing properties, and should be avoided during pregnancy as it cleanses out your toxins, which may pass to the placenta.